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When Resentments From The Past Flare Up

Recently I found myself driving in an area of town I hadn’t visited in quite a while.

Without warning, a flood of lousy memories blindsided my thought process.

I was reminded of some really bad treatment I had endured from someone in my life. 

I was transported back to 20 years ago and felt as if the altercation had just happened moments ago.

All of this happened 40 minutes before I was about to start a directing job and meet my clients for the day. Not the best timing.

Resentments can flare up and surprise you when you least expect it.

What do you do to course-correct these feelings of resentment?

You can take some practical steps.

Identify what’s causing these feelings to flare up.

There’s likely more to what’s going on. 

Take a moment to do a self-evaluation and see what’s behind this.

Is there a current unrelated stress causing these feelings to rise up? 

We tend to remember hurts from the past in order to avoid hurts in the future.

But what we think may happen isn’t set in stone.

Is this an unresolved or unforgiven hurt that you have fully processed? 

You may have shoved the effects of the event deep down just thinking it would go away. 

At some point, we’ve got to go through the pain from the past and make peace with it. More on that in a second.

How are you physically? 

Maybe you're not eating well, exercising, or getting proper sleep. 

When you are physically out of whack, your mind can easily bring up other things from the past to add to the chaos. It’s not convenient, but it can be a default reaction from your brain.

Is there someone from my past I need to offer amends to?

Take a proper inventory of yourself.

Sure you might be mad at someone else’s bad actions toward you. 

But there’s also a good chance someone is mad at you for something you’ve never apologized for. 

This isn’t about dragging yourself through the mud, but maybe you need an example of offering grace. 

God forgives us continuously. Maybe these resentful feelings are offering you the opportunity to ask someone else for forgiveness.

Forgiving, letting go, and moving on.

You may not get an apology from the person who hurt you. You may not get this resolved. 

You have to find solace in that.

It's easier said than done, but it is necessary to grow. This takes lots and lots and lots of practice. It’s not done perfectly.

A great tool that is used in the Catholic Church is the Sacrament of Reconciliation.

You can sacramentally talk out your issues with Jesus via a priest. 

If you are not Catholic, seek out your minister, spiritual director, or sponsor. Talking this out with a person in spiritual authority can bring extraordinary healing.


God wants you to bring all of Your troubles to Him. You can be as open, honest, and as messy as you need to be. He can take it. Don’t hold back your frustrations. You may find that the Holy Spirit will give you the answers as you practice talking it out with Him.

If you’re having difficulty finding the words, other form prayers can help you through the process like the Litany of Humility, and the Litany of Patience.

The pain can and will lessen.

Resentments are not here to help you. They can be an opportunity to slow down and apply lessons that you have learned along the way.

I can’t promise you that resentments will disappear from your life. I can tell you that with practice, patience, and prayer you can navigate through the uncomfortable feelings quicker and with grace and strength.

By the way, Doug Riggle and I went deeper into this topic in the latest episode of the I'd Rather Be A Buffalo Podcast. Doug unpacks some of the challenges he had releasing resentment towards God after the suicide of his son. I talk about letting go of resentment after a successful pitch to a major media company leads to a disappointing end. Check it out here.

Onward and upward,

Kevin Gregg

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