Growing up with adversity in your childhood home, you’re keenly aware of the pain and sadness that it most likely brought you. Often, these negative feelings lead to RESENTMENT for others because you had a difficult life and you assume they must have had it easier. Believing the LIE that you are a resentful person is an easy trap to fall into. But the fact is that because of what you’ve experienced and you know what real pain, real suffering truly feels like, you are better equipped than most to empathize and have COMPASSION for others. Discover this unique personal power of COMPASSION, kindness, and empathy you gained from growing up with childhood adversity can feel like a physical weight has been lifted off of you.
Turning RESENTMENT into COMPASSION isn’t just a balm for your emotional health; it’s something that could save your life.
A growing body of research indicates that “persistent bitterness may result in global feelings of anger and hostility that, when strong enough, could affect a person’s physical health,” says psychologist Carsten Wrosch.
There’s a correlation between replaying hurtful memories and the human stress response, according to a 2001 study of brain function and anger. Subjects who were encouraged simply to think compassionate thoughts experienced lower heart rates and decreased blood pressure. COMPASSION fostered better anger-management skills, lower risk of alcohol or substance abuse, fewer depression and anxiety symptoms, reduction in chronic physical pain, healthier friendships, and greater spiritual well-being.
RESENTMENT weakens the immune system
Beyond the obvious fact that RESENTMENT interferes with the experience of pleasure, the body’s automatic stress response to RESENTMENT weakens the immune system. It can also cause muscle tension, body pain, ulcers, rapid breathing, headaches, stomach problems, exhaustion, and accelerated heart rate, as well as high blood pressure, which can ultimately lead to heart disease.
Research shows that chronically hostile or resentful adults with no history of heart trouble are 19 percent more likely than their peers to develop heart disease. They also run triple the risk of having a heart attack or dying over the next five to ten years.
Why? Because inside, they are seething, distracted by grudges, plotting revenge. They want to even the score and punish those who hurt them, so instead of letting go of the past, they stay attached to it, obsessing about the offense and “righting the wrong.”
“RESENTMENT is like drinking poison and hoping it will kill your enemies.”
That’s the burden of RESENTMENT: It’s an emotion that holds you in its grip and paralyzes you. In the words of the late Nelson Mandela, a man who lived in unjust captivity for much of his life, “RESENTMENT is like drinking poison and hoping it will kill your enemies.”
You are a uniquely COMPASSIONATE person who can understand what true pain feels like
Now that you know that ridding yourself of RESENTMENT will directly lead to living a longer, happier and healthier life, it can be easier to take those first steps toward embracing the TRUTH – that you are a uniquely COMPASSIONATE person who can understand what true pain feels like and help yourself and others heal from its negative effects.
Please share in the comments below how the research discussed here impacts your own interpretation of RESENTMENT. Does it inspire you toward COMPASSION for a healthier life?
A detailed overview of the RESENTFUL lie can be found in CHAPTER 2 (“Resentful to Compassionate”) of INVINCIBLE: The 10 Lies You Learn Growing Up With Domestic Violence, and the Truths to Set You Free.