Holding on to resentment is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die."
This quote, or variations of it, has been attributed to many different people including Pema Chodron, Nelson Mandela and Anne Lamotte. I don't know where it originated from, but whew is is ever powerful!
Holding on to anger and resentment can lead to a whole host of mental and physical health problems, including high blood pressure, relationship troubles, problems at work, anxiety and depression to name just a few.
So why it is so damn hard to let go?
There are a few possibilities for why we hold on to the things that hurt us. A big one is the need for validation. When we don't feel seen or validated we may double down on our position again and again. That increases our suffering and then we again get even louder in an attempt to get someone to listen. Paradoxically, the louder we get the more people tune us out.
Instead of getting angrier and more resentful, what about just metaphorically unclenching the hands that are holding on so tight and just release whatever the event/thought/feeling is?
A sense of moral superiority or righteous anger can also be a hinderance. Sometimes we just KNOW that WE ARE RIGHT and we need the other person to see it our way. I get it, I really do. But does forcing the point make you any happier or improve your relationships? Not usually.
Next time, instead of eagerly drinking the cup of poison (resentment), put it down and walk away. Try it and see what happens. You may be surprised!