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25 Ways to Let Go of Resentment, Stop Feeling Bitter & Start Living

When someone does something to hurt you, it’s not easy to let go of resentment. However, it really can be done if you try. So, here’s how you can do it.

How to Let Go of Resentment

Think about the following scenario. You have a best friend who is also your neighbor. She slept with your very first boyfriend while you were dating him. You weren’t angry that he cheated on you. You let those feelings go pretty quickly because you weren’t in love with him. But you were very angry with your friend, and as a result, you don’t know how to let go of resentment for her betrayal.

Let’s say it gets even worse and they ended up dating after you broke up with him. You might think that you have never felt betrayal like that before. You didn’t know what to do, but you did know that you despised her. You might not even be able to hear her name without cringing, let alone be within eyesight of her.

During their relationship, you would probably be incredibly angry. But instead, you might have played the “I don’t care” card and let the anger sit inside you… slowly building up…

[Read: How to deal with the pain and respond to them when someone hurts you]

How to let go of resentment and start living

If something like this has happened to you, then you need to learn how to let go of the resentment you have for another person. Not for their sake, but for yourself.

It is probably eating you up from the inside out. Everyone can probably see it. The person you resent probably isn’t even upset, it’s just you who’s hurting.

It might take you a long time to move on from the pain and resentment you feel. You are probably deeply hurt and have had problems trusting other people since then. But you know that if you let this continue and stay unchallenged, it will have drastic consequences for your own happiness and self-love.

If you need to learn how to let go of resentment and struggle to do it, it’s certainly understandable. It’s not easy at all, but do this for yourself, not for anyone else. It’s time you moved forward.

1. Determine where the anger is coming from 

What happened that made you feel resentment towards another person?

Before taking any further steps, identify exactly what they did that hurt you. If you find any other underlying emotions, look at the causes of those as well. Was it a single event or a gradual build-up of events? [Read: How to release anger and find the positives in life instead]

2. Separate the person from the situation

When someone we love hurts us, it’s hard to separate them from the situation. But, by removing them, you can look at what happened with different eyes.

It’ll help you answer the question of why they did what they did. Bringing you closure, but also allowing you to understand their behavior.

3. Take a time out

If you’re feeling overwhelmed by everything, take a time out. If you want to know how to let go of resentment, find a space where you can lay down and cool off. This doesn’t need to be on your mind all of the time.

Sometimes a healthy distraction can help you calm down and look at things from a different perspective. [Read: How to focus on yourself – 27 ways to create your own sunshine]

4. Avoid the person who caused you pain

Until you’re ready to forgive them, avoid seeing them right away. You need time to reflect and calm down.

If you see them too soon, it could end up in an explosive argument, and that’ll only fuel the anger and pain inside of you. You’ll know when you’re ready. 

5. Practice expressing your anger in a different way

If you want to learn how to let go of resentment and release it, don’t stick to one way of expressing yourself. Try various ways of self-expression.

Write your feelings down, work out, talk about it with a therapist or friend, try yoga. Do various activities to help you let go of your negative feelings.

6. Did you contribute to the situation? 

We’re not saying you did anything; we’re not trying to blame you. But self-awareness is crucial if you want to move forward and let go of resentment. Think about your role in this, and see if you played a part in why they may have acted in a specific way. [Read: 15 signs of a bad friend to always be on the lookout for]

7. Learn relaxation and self-calming strategies

When something causes you pain, you experience a wide range of emotions. Some days you’re calm, other days you’re angry and disappointed.

But by practicing relaxation and self-calming techniques, you can help calm yourself down. These techniques include yoga, meditation, deep breathing, and mindfulness. 

Of course, you won’t find a breakthrough in one day. BUT with time and patience, you will learn to ren in your feelings and turn them into something more calm and positive. [Read: How to find happiness within yourself and manifest a better tomorrow]

8. Talk to them *if you can* 

If you’re able to sit down and talk with them about what happened, you may be able to have some questions answered and find closure. But, only do this if you feel emotionally calm enough to do it.

You don’t need it to end up in a yelling match. If you’re not ready or you’re not able to physically see them, write your feelings and emotions down in a journal. [Read: How to stop fighting in a relationship and 16 steps to really talk]

9. Avoid directing your anger at others

When we’re angry, it’s easy to place our negative emotions and feelings on other people. Usually, we pick people who aren’t even involved in the situation itself.

We’re angry, and whoever we see first, boom, they’re the first ones we target. But you don’t need to transfer this energy to other people; that’s not fair to them.

10. Practice forgiveness

It is so difficult to forgive people when they do something really horrible to you. You probably don’t want to forgive them – you might even want them to suffer. But in the end, you are the only one who is suffering. They’ve probably moved on and are happy with their lives.

Look at why they did what they did, and find the reasoning behind their actions. You’re not going to forgive them overnight. It’ll take time, but it’s worth it. [Read: How to forgive someone and unburden your heart]

11. Treat the person you’re angry at with compassion

This is definitely going to be hard, but it’s crucial that you treat the person you’re angry at, with empathy and compassion. If not, you’ll never be able to move on and learn how to let go of resentment.

When you start to act with compassion and kindness, you’ll see them change their behavior with you as well. [Read: How to develop empathy and learn to see the world from someone else’s eyes]

12. Let go of any grudges

You may think holding onto grudges is a good idea, but it’s not. If anything, it does more harm to you than to them.

Sure, you make them feel shitty from time to time by passing a snide remark or giving them a death stare every once a week when you walk past them, but you’re the one harboring all these negative emotions inside of you every day. Don’t spend your energy waiting for the chance to make them suffer. Instead, redirect the energy and focus on healing.

You’re important, and as long as you focus on someone else getting hurt to find happiness, you will never be able to find it within yourself.

13. Exercise

Letting go of resentment isn’t about getting a six-pack. But exercise does help you reduce anger and stress. Whether it’s swimming, walking, or kickboxing, release your emotions and sweat out the toxins you’ve built in your body. You’ll automatically feel better… and sweaty.

14. Take the situation as a lesson you learned

You cannot control other people’s actions, but you can control what you take from a situation. Yes, you were hurt by someone, but that doesn’t mean your life is over.

Take the situation as a learning lesson and move forward. Don’t let it hold you back. [Read: How to be a happier person means making these joy-filled changes]

15. Always challenge resentment

When you’re feeling any type of resentment, you need to challenge it. Of course, in the beginning, give yourself some time to process what happened, but don’t let anger sit inside of you. It’ll eat you up and slowly destroy you.

16. Realize that you might be addicted to resentment 

This might sound a bit crazy, but sometimes people can get addicted to negative emotions.

So, even though you consciously want to let go of resentment, maybe subconsciously you are holding on to it because you are so used to feeling it. It might feel strange to let go of it and move on. But you need to. [Read: Attention seeking behavior – Why some people go looking for drama in their lives]

17. Acknowledge that you can’t change the past

Sure, this seems obvious. But many people kind of think that things can be changed, even though they know they can’t. So, you need to stop wishing things were different. They’re not and they never will be.

No one can undo what has been done. So, at this point, you need to accept it and move on with your life. [Read: How to stop ruminating – 18 ways to leave your past and be present]

18. Understand that you can’t control other people’s actions

Let’s face it – most people don’t behave the way we want them to. Instead, they do what they want. And sometimes those actions are very hurtful to us.

But you have to give people the free will to be themselves, even when you don’t like it. They can’t control you, and you can’t control them. That’s just the reality of life.

19. Resentment only gives you the illusion of strength

There is probably some part of you that thinks that holding on to resentment will somehow make the other person suffer.

It might even make you feel stronger when you hold on to how much you don’t like them anymore. But that’s nothing but an illusion. Carrying around resentment only hurts you – not the other person.

20. Set boundaries

Sometimes, when we get hurt, it’s because we didn’t have strong enough personal boundaries. Maybe we should have stood up for ourselves more. So, in order to prevent it from happening again, think about your boundaries and how you can make them more clear to other people. [Read: Healthy relationship boundaries – How to talk about them and set them]

21. Recognize your growth

As we said earlier, the situation that caused you to carry around resentment can be seen as a learning opportunity. It’s never fun to go through, but sometimes we can come out as a better person on the other side.

How did this allow you to grow and become a better person? You should always use your life experiences for self-improvement when you can.

22. Forgive yourself

If you are beating yourself up for carrying around resentment and not being able to let it go, then just forgive yourself for it. Or if your lack of boundaries led to you being hurt, be kind to yourself. As the late Maya Angelou said, “When you know better, you do better.”

23. See yourself as a survivor, not a victim

It’s so easy to feel like a victim when someone did something wrong to you. Because, in a sense, you were a victim.

But try to flip it around in your head and act like a survivor. You lived through it, right?

Take your power back from the other person and see yourself as victorious. Most feelings start with thoughts in your mind that can be changed. [Read: Manipulative people – How to spot them and stop them from playing the victim]

24. Practice gratitude

When you are feeling negative emotions such as resentment, it’s important to try to feel opposite, more positive emotions.

The best way to do that is to focus on what you are grateful for in life, not what you are resentful about. What do you feel blessed for having in your life? Write them done and focus on those things, not your resentment.

25. Stop having expectations

Sometimes we get hurt and angry at another person because we had expectations of them that they did not fulfill.

Think about whether or not those expectations were realistic or not. Maybe they were, but maybe they weren’t. So, in the future, you want to try to not have expectations of other people. That way, you will be less likely to be resentful of them.

[Read: How to stop hating the person who hurt you – The step-by-step guide]

If it’s not making you feel good, then you need to let it go. Hopefully, these tips will help you learn how to let go of resentment and live your best life.

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Preeti Tewari Serai
Preeti Serai
Preeti, the founder of LovePanky, is an eternal optimist and believer in the beauty of love and life. With an exhaustive experience in love, relationships, and ...