According to dictionary.com, resentment is “the feeling of displeasure or indignation at some act, remark, person, etc., regarded as causing injury or insult.”
The crazy thing is that even if your feelings of resentment are merited, the only person resentment hurts is you. Resentment is a kind of emotional suffering. Who wants that?
Here are 5 important tips to help you avoid one of the most toxic elements in any relationship: resentment:
1. Don’t assume, ASK!
Look, sometimes life gets in the way of us feeling cared for and loved. The stress and demand of daily life can consume those who are closest to us, distracting their focus and draining their energy. Sometimes, they appear disinterested or aloof, but they’re really not.
It’s easy to make assumptions when that happens. Maybe something IS wrong. But most of the time, everything is probably okay.
But we ignore what’s bothering us because we don’t like conflict and don’t want to cause trouble if there really isn’t any.
Ignoring issues, whether real or imagined, doesn’t make them go away, it makes them grow until they get blown out of proportion.
We don’t bring up certain issues because we’re afraid to confront our loved ones and shy away from conflicts. But by doing this, you’re pushing away your partner without actually realizing it. And all this does is give life to your feelings of resentment – all because you made assumptions instead of asking.
Don’t make assumptions. Ask. It’s almost always better to discuss what’s on your mind and heart (in non-accusatory ways) than to ignore and assume.
2. Create solutions, not problems
Feelings of resentment often lead to blame and defensiveness. All this does is make things worse. Instead, strive to show empathy and understanding. Your partner will see that you understand – or are at least trying to. Your gentle spirit will lead to collaboration and solutions.
3. Give each other some space
As your relationship grows and matures, it’s healthy to find something you both enjoy doing on your own. Neither partner should consume or engulf the other. Each of you has a life to live.
Giving each other the gift of space is a way to maintain your sense of self, while giving you something to chat about, so it’s a win-win.
Taking some “me” time and distancing yourself could be something you do once a week, or once a month; the point is to make yourself a priority during that time, so you came back into the relationship with fresh eyes and a new sense of longing.
4. Don’t let the small things fester
Wouldn’t it be so much easier if your partner just apologized when appropriate? Life would be so simple and lovely, and a romance movie. But it’s not always like that because you’re two imperfect people. It’s normal to have arguments, big and small.
Everyone feels angry and hurt from time to time. Just don’t dwell on those feelings. Step back and identify why you feel angry or hurt. What’s causing it? Once you’ve identified the source, you can deal with the issue, assuming it needs to be dealt with at all.
You and your partner should be pillars of strength for each other. Remember, you’re on the same team.
5. Communicate to understand
Talking and listening requires a bit of vulnerability, which can be difficult at times, especially if you harbor feelings of mistrust or resentment. But there’s no way around it, opening up is crucial in a healthy relationship.
The goal is to understand where your partner is coming from.
Talk honestly with your partner and ask to be really listened to, and really listen to them. Listening and understanding busts through any barriers either one of you put up as a defense mechanism.
Listen without judgment when it’s your turn to be attentive to your partner. Practicing these confidence-boosting techniques will bring you and your loved one closer together.
Relationships need thoughtfulness and nurturing. But how many times do we say or do something without thinking it through?
But the truth is it does matter, and over time, some of these things linger and fester into something ugly that brings out the bad in everything and ultimately suffocates any good relationship.
Resolving issues before they get out of hand is the key to avoiding resentment and enjoying a happy, healthy relationship.
Photo by Khamkéo Vilaysing on Unsplash