Letting go of Resentment

June 21st, 2009 Posted in Uncategorized

Today’s post is going to be a little blunt. This blog is about being real so here we go.

We are living in a time of terrible emotional shallowness.

There is a lack of depth and passion in young people, and it shows up in their relationships. It’s not good news for romantic love, and that means it’s not good for people. They don’t understand what they’re depriving themselves of. There has to be some way back to intimacy.

Being in a relationship is kind of scary sometimes isn’t it? I will admit that.

We must put down our shields and just tell the truth. Tell the truth.

Willingness to let others see your vulnerability-that, too, is self-assertiveness. You refuse to fake who you are for the sake of an “image.”

Anyone who really loves you wants you to be authentic. And anyone who doesn’t want you to be authentic doesn’t really love you.

Romantic love can be terrifying. We experience another human being as enormously important to us. So there is surrender—not a surrender to the other person so much as to our feeling for the other person. What is the obstacle? The possibility of loss. Need creates a vulnerability that can be frightening and enraging. Romantic love is not for children. Ten-year-olds can’t have romantic love and neither can a 35-year-old whose view of his self-interest is fit for a 10-year-old.

Men and women need each other. That should make them friends. Instead, too often it makes them enemies because of the fear and anticipation of being hurt.

That leads to the major roadblock to love and it impedes love more than anything.


Resentment is pure fucking poison.

It is guaranteed to destroy love completely and forever.

When we resent somebody it turns to bitterness and when it turns to bitterness it turns to arsenic.

Energy for which you do not find an appropriate outlet and form of expression, can turn into a rage that poisons your soul.

Often, you are most intolerant in your lover of those qualities you have disowned in yourself. So paying attention to what angers you or makes you impatient can be a doorway leading to deepened self-awareness.

I recently have had 2 people I care about deeply let resentment get in the way of our relationship.
They have even told me to my face that they have resentment towards me.

The first positive thing to come out of this for me so far is I wrote a new song. It is aptly titled “Let it Go” It will be the final track on my new release “A Mind on Fire”

A good friend of mine that is a psychiatrist related to me that in marriage counseling by the time a couple that has this challenge gets to you. Both have built up so much resentment and bitterness across the years that it is impossible to do anything.

I once heard a wife, in a moment of great anger, say to her husband, “Right now I feel that I hate you.” I was filled with admiration for the precision of her language and the consciousness she retained even under stress. What a difference between saying “Right now I feel that I hate you” and simply saying “I hate you.” She did not deny her emotion-she honored her anger-but she did not forget that she loved this man or that their relationship was more than this one moment.

Robert C. Solomon, a professor of continental philosophy at the University of Texas at Austin, places resentment on the same line-continuum with contempt and anger. According to him, the differences between the three emotions are as follows: resentment is directed towards higher-status individuals, anger is directed towards equal-status individuals and contempt is directed towards lower-status individuals.

So at least if someone resents you, there is some joy in the feeling that they know you are high-status. I am joking but it is often when we are joking that we are the most serious.
However any joy is short lived if it is based in resentment. Believe me I know firsthand.

Resentment can be triggered by an emotionally disturbing experience that is being felt again or relived in the mind. When the person feeling resentment is directing the emotion at himself it appears as remorse.

Because of the consequences they carry, resentful feelings are dangerous to live with and need to be dealt with. Resentment is an obstacle to the restoration of equal moral relations among persons, and must be handled and expunged via introspection and forgiveness.

Psychologist James J. Messina recommends five steps to facing and resolving resentful feelings.
(1) Identify the source of the resentful feelings and what it is the person did to evoke these feelings. (2) Develop a new way of looking at past, present and future life, including how resentment has affected life and how letting go of resentment can improve the future.
(3) Write a letter to the source of the resentment, listing offenses and explaining the circumstances, then forgive and let go of the offenses (but do not send the letter).
(4) Visualize a future without the negative impact of resentment, and
(5) If resentful feelings still linger, return to Step 1 and begin again.

That is a nice academic approach, I personally feel we learn best through stories.

Here is a beautiful story I once heard about letting go of resentment.

There were 2 monks who were members of a monastery where they had taken a vow of silence.
They were to talk to no one at anytime under any circumstances as silence reflected their commitment to their faith and service to their creator. They lived a simple life growing their own vegetables and brewing Ale. One day the 2 monks were walking along the embankment of the river that they gathered their water from. A mother came running up to the elder of the 2 monks and was crying that her son had slipped on a rock and broke his leg and she needed help.

The elder monk broke his silence and asked where the boy was. The mother pointed to the river where the boy lay agonizing on the bank writhing in pain. The monk asked the boys name and went to him. Reassured the boy that he would be OK. Made a splint with stick and tied his rope from his robe around the leg to secure the splint. He then asked the mother from where they had come and carried the boy to the village.

The younger monk in shock that the elder monk broke his vow of silence said nothing the entire time. After the boy and the mother were returned to the village the monks continued the path down the river toward the monastery. The whole time it was all the younger monk could do to keep from breaking his silence. He had to ask the elder monk how he could break their sacred vow.

So he just blurted it out, “I know the circumstances called for action but how could you break our vow? We are not even supposed to have any contact with others and you carried that boy all the way to the village!”

The elder monk slowed his pace put his arm around his younger friend and said “I set that boy down in the village 3 miles ago, you are still carrying him”

Let it go,

Much Love,


  1. 5 Responses to “Letting go of Resentment”

  2. By salam matsuda on Jun 25, 2009

    Hey Mr. Keyes, that was the first blog I’ve read in a long time on your website, and it was great. I know from experience, resentment destroys happiness, but this blog added on to the lesson I learned from that experience. Thanks for the words of wisdom, they’re always helpful!

  3. By Fred on May 12, 2012

    Spot on. I have resentment that’s killing every aspect of my entire life. Still working on forgiveness and letting go.
    Very nice post.

  4. By garrettheaney on Nov 24, 2012

    you should attribute rather than blatantly plagerize an entire excerpt from wikipedia. you may be a good dude, but don’t pass of others’ words as your own as you did here, it’s bad taste:

    “Robert C. Solomon, a professor of continental philosophy at the University of Texas at Austin, places resentment on the same line-continuum with contempt and anger. According to him, the differences between the three emotions are as follows: resentment is directed towards higher-status individuals, anger is directed towards equal-status individuals and contempt is directed towards lower-status individuals.”

  5. By Eric on Nov 30, 2012

    Hi Garrett,

    Thanks for reading my blog and taking the time to e-mail.

    I am a little confused as to your e-mail about me using some
    one else words as my own. Not only did I directly attribute the
    work to it’s author Robert Solomon (who I am a huge fan of) so
    I don’t see how that is plagiarism. I was not even aware he has
    a Wikipedia page as my quote from him is directly from his book.

    Anyway no big deal, just wanted to let you see it from my point of
    view what I wrote is directly attributed to him and I did not even
    paraphrase, I like to give credit where it is due.

    All the best,

  6. By john on Sep 20, 2013

    very nice,big fan of robert solomon too, actually he and nietzsche along with existenlism has had a deep impact on my view of life, and i had a question that i thought about for a while and wanted to see your opinion,

    what do you think about actions such as infidelity in a relationship? does it mean strength to be able to cheat without remorse? does guilt and fear of cheating mean weakness? and thus will generate resentment towards ppl who are brave enought to followe their desires?

    or does been faithful means strenght in recognizing you dont want to betray someones trust or to hurt them in any way?

    all the best, you can also email me to foxeyedman2@gmail.com

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