Life is short. We all know this. Especially so when it comes to resentment. Resentment is a thief of happiness just like comparison is the thief of joy according to Theodore Roosevelt. Time spent feeling angry or resentful about things that happened or didn’t happen is time wasted.
The goal is to feel fulfilled and happy. Here are four powerful tips to reduce resentment and live a happier life.
1. Think loving thoughts for the person you resent
What’s the opposite of anger, hate or fear? It is love. By sending loving thoughts towards someone you begin to dissipate your own anger. So wish those who have done you wrong well in order to free yourself from negative emotions.
Set aside time during the day to think loving thoughts about someone you resent, wishing them good fortune and blessings. You can even say it out loud, “God / Buddha / Creator / Universe / Mother earth / etc.: please give love, health and peace to <insert name> today and always.”
Doing this may feel strange at first and it could take weeks, months or even years for it to feel comfortable. Eventually you’ll notice where there were once bad feelings, now there is peace and love.
2. Check your motives and expectations
The best way to eliminate resentment is not to set yourself up for it. For example, consider when someone asks you to do something for them. You probably form expectations about what they’ll do for you in return. Essentially you are holding them to an obligation that they never agreed to or aren’t even aware of.
It is always best to give without expectation. Hold the awareness that not everyone gives of their time, care and attention in the same way that you do. When you give without expectation you will eliminate possible future resentment.
3. Practice gratitude
A heart that is full of gratitude has little room for anger or resentment. Create a gratitude list or check in with friends regularly each offering up a gratitude.
When you notice yourself feeling stressed, resentful or angry, find something or someone to be grateful for. Some days you may have to dig deeper than others and that’s okay.
It is difficult to resent what you don’t have when you’re focusing your energy and attention on what you do have.
4. Be open to different outcomes
The key to finding happiness is realising that you already possess everything you need to be happy. Once you realise happiness is an inside job, you’re less likely to place demands on other people and situations.
Reducing resentment takes practice and mindfulness. It also requires open communication with others. We all have the ability to manage expectations, change our state of mind and ultimately be happy regardless of how we expect things to unfold.