Growth | Written by: Dan Ginn

How to Let Go of Anger And Resentment

Anger is a natural emotion that you will feel a lot throughout your life. It’s there to protect you, to let you know that something is wrong.

But if anger goes uncontrolled, it manifests itself into resentment, a feeling of bitterness that takes control of your mind. This anger and resentment can last for days, months and even years.

It’s in its longevity that it becomes toxic, overbearing and prevents you from being happy. When you find that they’re both taking control of you, it’s time for you to take back control and work towards letting go. Here’s how…

Identify Your Source of Anger

Long term anger can come from a multitude of sources. Over time, you may find that the deep source of your anger has been buried below more superficial concerns, like the guy who cuts you off on the highway or the woman who speaks to you in a tone not quite to your satisfaction.

Searching within yourself to find the true cause of your anger is the first step to letting go. It could be your parents, friends and other family members, or perhaps someone from a previous relationship.

No matter the cause it’s important to identify it as soon as possible in order for you to be able to deal with it.

Separate The Relationship And The Human

It’s normal for you to put extremely high expectations on the people that are closest to you. Sometimes, those expectations can be unrealistic and you need to be able to see the person (or people) you’re angry with are human – meaning they’re going to make mistakes.

Use your own life experience as a case study. Think of all the times you’ve made mistakes that hurt and upset someone.

Being able to see the flawed human and empathize with their journey will leave you being more open to forgiveness – which is far more beneficial to you than it is to them.

Write a Letter And Rip It Up

You may not be in a position to tell someone how angry you are with them. Sometimes it can do more harm than good to go into a verbal battlefield with a person you’re holding resentment for. That doesn’t mean, however, that you have to bottle up your thoughts and feelings.

A common practice for freeing you of your negative emotions is to write a letter to that someone you’re angry with. Get it all down, hold no punches, say exactly what you want to say and express exactly how you’re feeling. Once it’s out in the open the next step is to let go.

You let go by going somewhere peaceful, a place you feel content. Take the letter and begin to rip it up. While you’re ripping it up, verbalize the statement “I choose to let go”. And as the letter is destroyed so are those overpowering feelings of anger and resentment.

See a Therapist

Seeking professional help and guidance is a great way for you to unravel years of thoughts and emotions. Being in an environment that comes without judgment allows you to verbally express your life experience.

Everything you’ve bottled up or expressed in an unhealthy manner can come out in a safe, trusting space.

It’s in the therapy room that you can come up with positive strategies that will help you to move forward. Letting it all out allows you to let it all go—freeing up space within your mind for more positive emotions.

Accept That You Can’t Change What Happened

“How could they do that to me?”. A common question you may ask when remembering the pain that someone caused you. The harsh reality is the damage has been done, and no amount of questioning can change that.

You have a choice; do you let their actions dictate the rest of your life? Or do you choose to move on? If you’re holding onto anger towards someone from 20 years ago, for example, it’s no longer about them, it’s about you.

Taking ownership of how you’re feeling, no matter how hard that may seem, will allow you to understand it is, in fact, you who has full control over how you let their actions and your feelings impact you.

They cannot undo what they did. It happened and it hurts. But you have all the tools and techniques to not allow it to control your life.

Speak to The Source of Your Anger

Now, you should only do this if you are confident you can do it in a calm and controlled manner. As previously stated, it’s no good for you if you have an angry outburst – you’ll only feel bad and it will impact your self-esteem.

However, if you feel you can express your feelings in a healthy way, then this could be very useful for your development.

If you can look them in the eye, tell them why you’re angry at them, whilst also making it clear that you choose to forgive, you will reclaim your power.

For years, there has been a power struggle, and you’ve allowed them to get the better of it. Showing them through forgiveness that they no longer have control over you lifts the burden of weight from you.

And hopefully, you can find a way for you to both find peace and move forward – maybe in a way that gives birth to a new type of relationship, one that is more positive and less toxic.

Know That It Takes Time

Anger and resentment won’t leave you overnight. You have to really work on the situation by working on yourself. But through patience and continued work, you can overcome the feelings that are holding you do down.

Anger can be a terrible prison to live in. Put your escape plan together and it’s almost certain you can be the person you deserve to be—happy, hopeful and free.

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