Recovering from resentments


“Let today be the day you stop being haunted by the ghost of yesterday. Holding a grudge & harboring anger/resentment is poison to the soul. Get even with people…but not those who have hurt us, forget them, instead get even with those who have helped us.” 
― Steve Maraboli

That good old Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous calls resentments ‘the number-one offender’. Resentment is the greatest enemy chemically dependent people face and the biggest contributor to relapse. In fact, resentments pose a considerable problem for many people, not just those who are chemically dependent. If you examine almost any problem that comes between people, you will probably find a resentment lurking near the heart of the matter. Resentment is a common human problem – and often a severe one. Mark L Lockwood simply describes resentment as “a circle of doing your anger over and over again to the point where you start kicking your own butt in confusion. Like a dog chasing it’s own tale. It always takes you down, keeps you stuck and distracts you from moving forward…it is not known in therapy as the biggest single cause of relapse for nothing!” Recovering from resentments means getting over it, and stopping being pissed off at someone else all the time. You don’t need a life coach to tell you that!

The word resent means to “re-sense” or “re-feel.” It is one thing to feel a feeling, such as anger. It is another thing to replay a scene or a conversation in your mind, dredging up the hurt and the anger again and again.

Recovering from resentments

Certainly anger has its place in the emotional makeup of a healthy human being. Anger can be an honest and appropriate response in certain situations for sure. But there is nothing good to be said for “old anger,” or resentment. Resentment has no positive side; it is simply a destructive emotion.

Have you ever thought of resentment in terms of a drug? Dwelling on your resentment can simulate a “high” of sorts. You might recall what someone said or did to you in the past, and it was not fair! It gets the obsessive mind of ours ticking, and it can be as intoxicating as real revenge may appear. The recollection of that scene can offer a certain rush. Recalling past injustices can make you “feel good”. Recovering from resentments means at a very basic level that we have to wake up and see what the hell is really going on in our heads.

Carrying a resentment is also a way in which people can justify their actions. It is a way people vindicate themselves in their own minds and boost their self-esteem. Resentful people like to think of themselves as “in the right.” By training their attention on the wrong someone has done, they can get the voice in the back of their minds to whisper; I would never do anything like that. By holding someone else beneath the weight of their judgement, they place themselves on a self-made pedestal. By focusing their attention on someone else’s faults (real or imagined), they keep the focus off their own shortcomings and don’t even begin recovering from resentments. Learning how to heal from addictions means you need to be aware of what you do.

Recovering from resentments

When we are resentful we are reluctant to let go of hurt or anger. Resentment is our unwillingness to accept someone who has harmed us or some system or institution that has treated us unjustly. Our fight against acceptance is at the core of our resentments. Our refusal to accept people for who they are, just as they are, our refusal to leave the past alone – these things keep our resentments alive, and continually threaten our serenity, peace and progress. It just ain’t worth it. Recovering from resentments is.


Once upon a time, two Japanese monks were walking along a road together. The rain the evening before had left large puddles in their path, so they made their way with care. When they came upon an intersection covered by an especially large puddle of mud, they noticed a young woman who had stopped at the edge of the puddle. She was dressed in a white silk kimono, and her dilemma was obvious: there was no way she could cross the intersection without spoiling her gown.

The first of the two monks asked the woman if she would like some help. She answered yes. The monk then scooped her up in his arms, walked straight through the mud, and put her down on the other side. The woman thanked him and continued on her way.

The monks resumed their journey, but a rift had developed between them. The second monk refused to speak to the first. They walked together in an uneasy silence until that evening when they reached their destination, the lodging temple. It was there that the second monk turned to the first, pointed his finger, and demanded, “Why did you do it?”

The first monk was taken by surprise. “Do what?” he asked.

“Don’t play dumb with me!” snapped the second monk. “You know what I’m talking about. You know very well we monks are not supposed to have anything to do with women, especially shapely young women such as the one you carried across the puddle back at the intersection. Tell me, why did you do it? Why did you pick her up?”

The first monk paused for a moment, shrugged, and then replied, “I put her down a long time ago. Maybe you’re the one still carrying her.”

The story raises what may seem an obvious question: What (or whom) are you still carrying after all these miles? It is the question of resentment.

“At the heart of all anger, all grudges, and all resentment, you’ll always find a fear that hopes to stay anonymous.

For more help with how to heal from addictions or recovering from resentments, letting go of obsessive thoughts and flights of ideas that serve no one, start A Course in Recovery today with us. It is therapy that will help you each week to just focus on what you should focus on. Each person needs to spend time hearing, reading, listening and talking to people about their goals, aspirations and life journeys. This is what we do here. We keep people connected to the work, to the goals and the journey. Weekly therapy podcasts, emails and of course the book are all yours when you sign up.  Call +27824424779


Published by Mark L Lockwood

Mark L Lockwood (BA)(Hons)(psy) teaches spiritual transformation and is the founder of Contemplative Intelligence. Author of The Power of Contemplative Intelligence, Autotherapy and Recovery Magic. Our work is about the science of finding your spiritual self.


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