How to Kick a Resentment

As the conversation with Emma today dug deeper, I remembered a process someone explained to me a year ago around working through resentments. It goes something like this:

  1. Who am I resentful at and why?
  2. What does this affect in my life?
  3. Am I willing to try to show this person the same tolerance, pity, and patience that I’d give a sick friend?
  4. What’s my part in this situation? How did I add to it?
  5. Have I been telling myself that I’m right and they’re wrong? (Yes…)
  6. Am I using this sense of superiority to gain self-esteem or power? (*sigh* okay, yes….)
  7. Am I doing this because I’m afraid that the “regular” me is not enough? (i don’t want to admit this, but, yeah, sure, okay, that’s one way of looking at it…)
  8. They didn’t act right. What values could they have been acting with instead?
  9. How can I work on strengthening those values in my own life?
  10. I’m grateful that I have this obstacle to practice on.

Questions #8 and #9 go together and require a lot of thoughtfulness, honesty, and humility (which I can tap into if I paid attention during #4-#7). If I can find an overlap between What They Suck At and What I Probably Oughta Work On, I’ve hit on where I need to put my focus. Then something magical happens (or I need to lather, rinse, repeat), and the resentment starts to fade away.

Try it sometime. Let me know how it works for you.

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2 Responses to “How to Kick a Resentment”

  1. Emma McCreary Says:

    Wow, this works pretty well! I think it’s really helpful for me to write out each step, not try to answer it in my head. I like seeing it in B&W, and I spend more time on each answer.

    Doing this I realized that I resent people because they are not doing something that I don’t want to do either, but think I have to. For instance I want to appear indefatigable (because my regular mortal self is “not good enough”), and then I am angry at the other person and criticize them for not working hard enough.

    Oy. I can tell this is a big area for me to work on. Thanks for the tool!

  2. Beth Dunn Says:

    Yep – done that. Very helpful, and ALWAYS worth revisiting. I really like how you’ve laid it out here — it goes into some great, thoughtful, and sometimes annoying detail. Thanks.