Resentment is a sneaky little devil, sidling and slithering into our consciousness slowly and subtly, until, somehow, we find ourselves bitter, impatient, ready to snap, blaming others or sullen.

Has this ever happened to you?

The consequences of resentment can be tricky as well.

When we feel stuck in certain situations, that we are constantly making huge sacrifices or doing things for others at our own expense, we are more likely to fall into unhealthy behaviours to make ourselves feel better at the end of the day.

“Well, I deserve this glass of wine after the day I’ve had.”

“The only thing that will make me feel better right now is a big ol’ slice of cake.”

“F everybody. I’m tired of being good, so now that I’ve shirked my responsibilities for the night, I’m gonna let loose and be really Bad…” 

These are short term, bandaid pseudo-solutions that usually offer only very temporary relief.

Instead, here are five fool-proof strategies to recover from resentment AND create lasting behaviour change so that you can prevent these kind of reactions from happening in the first place.

Practice gratitude (part 1): Even if it seems like you are stuck in the shittiest situation ever, there is always a silver lining. Figure out what that is.

Example: I’ve been working a lot of extra hours these past couple of weeks. I have a freelance contract that I am working on helping plan an event that is scheduled for the third week of February. The extra hours have led to more juggling of time, pumping of breastmilk, more hours away from my baby, less time at home. I started to feel resentful towards the commitment I had made, the fact that I had to be away from my baby more than I wanted to be.

I started resenting the WORK. Bleh. It’s true.

The great thing about being a coach is that it gives me the opportunity to catch these negativity cycle quickly.

I am definitely committed to “walking my talk” so I caught myself and starting focusing on gratitude:

  • My co-workers on this project are super supportive and caring and have allowed me a lot of flexibility with my schedule and the occasional missed meeting.

  • I’ve worked on this project several years in a row and it doesn’t require a lot of extra brain power ie I can still do it and do it well while sleep deprived

  • The extra income that comes at time that we really need it

  • It’s temporary (isn’t everything though); a short term contract that will be finished soon

Practice gratitude (part 2): Or, if you can’t find the slightest thing about your current situation to be grateful for, find something else in the present moment to focus on and be grateful for. There is ALWAYS something positive, it is never ALL BAD.

Example: The warm comfort of your cup of tea in the morning. The feeling of the breeze on your skin. The fact that you woke up this morning! The bed that you sleep in. The healing powers of rain. The beauty of the ocean or sunset.

When I started feeling too busy and rushed and ungrounded in my day… I decided to drive home the scenic way. It only added a few more minutes, but gave me a view of the ocean instead of the highway. Instantly calming. 

Enlist friends/support: If you really, really are struggling with finding something to be grateful for – ask a friend to help you out.

Example: Just this week I was feeling super burnt out. As mentioned above, working so many hours was taking its toll. Our house, which is still a work in progress, was feeling like a chore. Everywhere I looked there was something that needed to be cleaned, fixed, built… I started resenting the HO– — USE, can you believe it?

I invited a couple of friends who in town to visit. They hadn’t yet seen the house.

I almost canceled last minute (due to overwhelm and that creepy resentment… “now I have to clean because we have company”!?!? )

I’m so happy that I didn’t cancel because my friend helped me shift my mindset. With fresh eyes, she saw the beauty, creativity, and potential of the place.

It felt good to be honest and tell her that I was feeling burnt-out by the upkeep. What felt even better though was to see it through her lives and remind myself that I am really blessed to have my own home. 

Reclaim your power: I find that as women we often either give away our power or feel powerless in certain situations. It is as if life is happening to us, rather than us being the ones to call the shots.

And soon enough, we begin to feel resentful that we are given so much of ourselves away without getting what we need, or that others have certain expectations of us that we stop feeling like we can fulfill.

This is a common one for my clients, is it for you too?

Example: Can you say yes to others LESS, and say YES TO YOURSELF MORE? What boundaries can you create to protect your precious time? Can you do one less thing a week? What’s one fun thing you can do for yourself, right now?

Have more FUN: This one is pretty straightforward.

Example: After a long week of feeling a lot of external pressures and demands on my time, I decided to end the week on an upswing and take a dance class this morning. I found care for my baby for an hour and picked a new studio by the beach. That one hour was pure bliss and now, back at my computer, I am is such a good mood and resentment-free because I chose to do something for me first today.

How do you deal with resentment? I’d love to hear if you have any other strategies that work for you.

As a final thought, this came across my newsfeed yesterday and I thought it was perfect:

“Blessed are they who see beautiful things in humble places where other people see nothing.” – Camille Pissarro