This article is part of a series called PARADIGMS OF POWER. These paradigms, or perspectives, are tools to be used as mental weapons in the battle against darkness. We have the power and privilege to Neutralize Negative Emotion, Expand our Faith, and actually Become “One” with Christ. These tools can help us accomplish that objective.
Do you consider yourself to be an angry person? Most people would say “No!” But, if asked if you harbor resentment in any way, what would you say? Resentment is the “burning ember” of anger. It may even lay dormant, but the slightest “wind” can ignite the flame.
The emotions of resentment can range from mere annoyance to rage, and everything in-between. Who could you be without those feelings that distance you from others and from the Spirit? What are you willing to do to maintain spiritual balance?
In order to rid yourself of resentment, your feelings need to be addressed. You are responsible for your OWN emotion. Someone may have created the scenario that unleashed your whirlwind of negativity, but you are the caretaker of YOU-no one else is.
There are 2 types of resentment. One is resenting a PERSON for something they have done; the second is feeling resentment towards a given SITUATION.
How To Neutralize Resentment Against a Person
- When you feel negative feeling towards a person, there is an amazing way to neutralize that emotion. It is this: Begin to SINCERELY PRAY FOR THAT PERSON. (I don’t mean pray to help them “get a clue,” or to pray for divine meddling insuring that you will get your way.) Pray for their best good!
Most of the time, this selfless act is the antidote to the venom that is exploding within you. Suddenly your negative feeling can evaporate as you earnestly pray for the person who has offended you.
When we have enmity towards another person for any reason, we distance ourselves from God. The spirit wanes and we’re no longer sustained. When we pray FOR them, it creates a change in US. We begin to feel a humility as we pray, and we start to see them with compassion. This state of humility often allows us to take the beam out of our eye so that we can more clearly and kindly see the “mote” in theirs.
If you feel you can’t pray for this person for any reason, ask yourself WHY? “They hurt me too much!” “They didn’t help ME when I needed them!” “They don’t deserve my prayers!” etc. If this is the case, notice your FEELINGS. This is a moment where you have to face yourself straight on. If you are experiencing any negative emotion, it lets you know that something is amiss in YOU! You are responsible for your own emotion! If you see something ugly inside yourself, you need to recognize it and clear it out.
- 2. “SEE” this person that you have been resenting, (in your mind’s eye) doing the thing you resent, but “view” the scene without judgment or emotion. Sometimes “seeing” this behavior from a nonjudgmental perspective allows you to feel sympathy for them and their inability to overcome temptation, or their lack of spiritual maturity. What motivates them to do such annoying or destructive things? How do they feel about themselves? Can you feel their pain? This is the way the Lord views us.
Praying for those we resent puts us petitioning for the perspective God has. That is ALWAYS one of compassion and love.
- BE THANKFUL for this person! What have you learned because of him/her? Maybe you have learned what NOT to do, or how NOT to behave. That is a great lesson in and of itself. Maybe you begin to notice that your worst self comes out when you are around them. If you are humble, you will see that these experiences can be an opportunity for you to become a better person by learning to call on the Lord for strength instead of giving in to negativity. Some of our greatest teachers are the destructive or abrasive people who come into our lives.
- Someone cuts you off on the freeway, and barrels down the road without any consideration for anyone. How did that make you feel? If you are resenting the strangers decisions, pray for him. Pray that he will be protected, and that he will come to his senses before it is too late. “See” him for what he is, an immature child that “knows not what he does.” After “seeing” him with compassion, you will often notice that the resentment dissipates. Be thankful for the opportunity to pray for him, because maybe you are the only one who will.
- People who you thought were your friends at work wrongly judge and condemn you. They will not try to understand your point of view. You feel unappreciated and alone! Pray for those people. It will make you feel better. What are you finding out about yourself through this process? It takes a spiritually mature person to want what is best for those who have turned against them. If you can do this, you are in the ranks with the Savior himself.
- Your spouse/child has an addiction that is threatening to destroy your marriage/relationship. Instead of resenting them – pray for them. Without judgment or condemnation, “see” them in their ‘unconscious’ state doing the destructive behavior. “Observe” how disconnected they are from God. “See “how they are influenced by dark forces. “See” them as a slave to this addiction, and the powerlessness and loneliness they must feel. It is heartbreaking, but compassion is born, instead of resentment fueled. Thank the Lord for them and what they are teaching you about your deepest self, and the capacities you never knew you had. From this vantage point you are in a much better position to interact with and intercede for them.
How To Neutralize Resentment In A Situation
One of the best ways to eliminate bitterness in a given situation is this: THANK GOD FOR IT! State out loud, “I am thankful for ____.” As you make that statement, what emotion did you feel? When we thank the Lord for something we don’t want or like, we often open ourselves up to self awareness. We observe that certain situations push our buttons and bring out the absolute worst in us.
When we choose to be bitter, we lash out and become a conduit of negativity. THIS is where we need help from God! When we THANK Him for the experience, even though it may have been very negative, He can change us from the inside-out, and often our negative feelings dissipate.
- At our family ranch in Northern Mexico where I spend a lot of time, there are often spiders inside the Ranch house. (daddy long legs mostly) It had really bothered me. It caused me to resent going down there, because I didn’t want to face the spiders. One day, I decided to be thankful for them. I looked up at the skylight covered with webs and reluctantly stated, “I’m thankful for spiders.” Suddenly, I had the thought, “Well, they have a right to live just as much as I do!” With this new awareness, the resentment left. Of course, I still didn’t want to share living space with them, and they had to be relocated, but the bitter feelings about them left.
- At that same time I also deeply resented that it was cold in the Ranch house with only a wood stove for heat, and no hot water heater (at that time) for dishes and showers. I forced myself to say, “I’m thankful for the Ranch House that isn’t comfortable for me to live in.” As I said that, I could tell that I DIDN’T MEAN IT! Great emotion welled up in me that contradicted any attempt at gratitude that I was trying to feel. It unexpectedly dawned on me, that this was a great opportunity. I came face to face with MY emotion. I saw how ugly it was. I didn’t like ME feeling this way. It was MY responsibility to neutralize it. I prayed for help. The Lord supported me to see myself clearly, and to show me that I needed to change the way I reacted to this stimuli. The inner animosity subsided as I saw myself in this new and sustained light. I realized that it is not so important what happens to me, but how I respond to it that matters.
There are many situations that will create tremendous resentment in your life: Financial struggles, health issues, relationship issues, spiritual or emotion challenges. What emotions do they bring out in you? The sooner you are aware of your emotions, the sooner you can face them.
How To Release The Emotions Of Resentment
If you have additional negative feelings that don’t seem to leave using these principles, here is a simple, straightforward 2- part suggestion. (This can be a powerful tool when you give it your complete attention.)
- FEEL the negative emotions fully, then “place” them in your mind’s eye on the “alter” and then give them to God.
- Say, “I CHOOSE TO LET GO of these feelings. Ask God to take them from you. “Watch” them be absorbed in God’s light.
WHO CAN YOU BE WITHOUT RESENTMENT? Who can you be without bitterness of spirit?
In order to have unfettered claim to the highest levels of the spirit, we have to learn how to clear ALL negativity from our souls. By pleading for and thanking God for people, things and events we don’t like, we can learn to shine a light on the darkness within ourselves and clear it out. When we turn to the Lord for help, he can turn the weakness that we have discovered into strength. The more embers of resentment we can clear out, the freer we are to expand into light and “one-ness.”
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Other articles in this series: