How can one overcome resentment at life?
Hi and thanks for a good question.
I used to have many resentments about life. Meditation has helped me to overcome them, and I will try to explain how anyone suffering from resentments can approach and deal with this problem.
Life isn’t supposed to suit us
To begin with, I think that it can be useful to point out something obvious: Life will not turn out the way we hope it will.
When we were young, we often had naive ideas about life and what it should bring us in terms of success, love, family, money, happiness, etc. It is likely that we thought that life somehow would “make” us feel happy and accomplished through these things.
This is not how life works. Life will keep challenging us until we are 98 years old and draw our last breath. Life will NEVER turn out the way we ‘want’ it to be. Momentarily, it may perhaps look like that, but life never stands still. It will always move, always change. There is nothing we can do to conserve life according to our wishes.
And there is nothing wrong with this. Life is SUPPOSED to be like this, it’s part of the game, and we have to accept it. So the question is not whether we’ve been let down, hurt, made mistakes, missed out on love and opportunities, etc. That’s natural and happens to everyone. Instead, the question is whether we want to hold on to our resentments or let them go.
In order to be motivated to do something about our situation, it might be helpful to make up our mind something like this:
- Isn’t it quite pathetic to be bitter and angry and blaming things of the past? Why should we allow our failures from the past darken the present? No one wants to be a grumpy old fart. It’s silly alright!
- I’m solely responsible for my own pain. Even though others might have hurt me, it is me who is carrying the pain. The pain is my fault alone, and only I can do something about it.
Now, we got ourselves a really good mindset: We want to get rid of the resentments and we are ready to take full responsibility for our suffering. From this point on, it’s just about letting it go. Meditation is a great way to do this.
Use meditation to let go of the mind
Meditation basically means to empty the mind. In order to do that, you need to acknowledge all your resentments and bitter feelings. Don’t avoid them, don’t push them away, don’t rationalize them. Dare to see them however ugly they may be. After that, you let them go. Do this continuously, all the time, non-stop. Try not to get stuck in the thoughts or emotions too much. Just let them come up in your mind, acknowledge them, and let them go. In the beginning it’s good to sit down while doing this, but after some time you can do this wherever you are.
It will take time, perhaps a year or more, to get fully rid of all the resentments. However, it’s a grateful process and you have something to work on that gradually brings you to a better place in life.
For the best result, I recommend that you find a meditation center and someone who can guide you professionally. That’s how I started. I had a lot of resentments and regrets about my life. Each day after work, I went to the meditation center and let go of my mind. I received a lot of support, guidance, and helpful tips from the meditation instructors, which made it easier for me to see and let go of my mind.
These days I can happily say that I don’t have resentments about life anymore. I’m free, I’m not angry, and I’m not jealous of anyone. I just live my life. Of course, I also encounter difficulties, but I’m never bitter.