It’s hard to let anger and bitterness go. It isn’t easy getting over someone who has hurt you. Feelings of resentment and distrust linger and burden the heart, filling one’s life with negativity. And forgiving them seems almost impossible. 

study published by Springer Link revealed that “Bearing grudges is associated with a history of pain disorders, cardiovascular disease, and stomach ulcers.” 

Holding grudges and resentment is associated with a higher risk of heart attack, disease, high blood pressure, arthritis, back pain, headaches, and chronic pain. Additionally, harboring resentment may cause mental health issues such as anxiety and depression.

Choosing not to move past the hurt caused by others is doing yourself a disservice because it harms your health and well-being. 

Why Do We Struggle to Let Go?

2021 analysis by researchers explored why we hold onto resentment. Surprisingly, low self-esteem plays a factor, causing us to seek validation because we want others to agree with our actions or beliefs. Otherwise, we tend to feel morally inferior; we become defensive and have difficulty accepting and forgiving others. 

In some cases, people simply have an inability to let go and forgive. Hurt and bad feelings can seem almost overpowering. 

Strategies for Moving Forward

Awareness Through Meditation

Meditation brings awareness and reduces stress by calming negative thoughts and restoring a positive outlook. 

Prayer and meditation relax one’s heart and soul. As we rely on God’s power and promises, we experience deeper peace and self-acceptance. 

Freedom Through Forgiveness

Forgiveness is freedom. 

Forgiving someone who has wronged you releases you from their “death” grip. 

Acknowledge that the situation happened. Evaluate how your feelings about the situation might be affecting your physical and mental health and behavior. 

Accepting your feelings and the fact that the situation occurred weakens their hold on you. Accepting doesn’t mean that you welcome what happened or agree with it. Remind yourself that you are in control, not the person who caused the event. 

You have the power to forgive and move on with your life. You have the power to give yourself emotional freedom by releasing resentment, hatred, and bitterness.

Be Compassionate

You never know what a person is going through that might be causing them to lash out and hurt you. Perhaps they’re facing the loss of a loved one or a broken relationship, or maybe they’re struggling with feelings of low self-esteem. 

Evaluate your past interactions with them. If they’re usually kind and non-confrontational, then perhaps they’re going through something nobody knows about.

Being understanding and compassionate can facilitate forgiveness. 

Create Emotional Space

Research by psychologists Ozlem Ayduk and Ethan Kross found that creating emotional space (self-distancing) helps greatly with overcoming the negative feelings caused by grudges and resentment. 

Self-distancing involves thinking about the situation from a third-person perspective rather than an active participant perspective. 

Here’s how it works: Envision that you’re watching actors in a movie replay the situation that occurred; this helps you to see the “big picture’, increasing your ability to cope with the past and have a broader perspective on the event.

Final Words

It’s okay to feel sad, angry, or upset. Those kinds of emotions are trying to tell you something. But holding onto anger and resentment hurts your health and well-being. 

It’s hardly ever easy to forgive and move on, but it is in your best interest. So, use these strategies to help you cope, forgive, and unburden your heart when someone hurts you and unlock your best life! 

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Join our mailing list to get life tips delivered directly to your inbox!

You have Successfully Subscribed!

Pin It on Pinterest