When someone has done you wrong, holding a grudge seems natural. You deserve to feel this way and the other person deserves to be resented.
But as it turns out, when you hold onto resentment and emotional pain, you could be doing yourself a lot of harm. At the same time, that other person may not even care that you resent them. So if you need another reason to let it go, we have 5 for you.
1. It Harms Your Immune System
When you feel resentment, you spend more time in a fight or flight response and less in a relax and recover state. When your fight or flight response is activated, your body sends resources to your muscles, so you can run or fight for your life.
It takes it away from your immune system, digestive system, and higher-level brain activity. As your body sees it, you don’t need these things if you’re in mortal danger.
You’re now more likely to get sick, get more severe symptoms, and take longer to recover.
2. It Can Lead to Mental Health Problems
It’s perfectly normal to have some resentment when someone did something terrible to you. But holding onto it makes resentment a habit, an obsession, if not a full-blown addiction.
Your go-to becomes feeling resentful. It becomes harder and harder to get out of that rut. And you begin to see the world through the eyes of a resentful person.
As the grudge progresses, real mental health problems often occur:
- Obsessive-compulsive disorders
- Emotional detachment
- Inability to love or be loved
- Substance abuse to kill all this pain
3. It Can Cause Physical Health Challenges
It’s no wonder that, over time, this can lead to real physical health conditions. Health conditions that experts believe may be closely linked to holding on to the resentment include:
- High blood pressure
- Digestive issues
- Skin disorders
- Chronic headaches
4. It Can Shorten Your Life
This could be a direct result of the mental health and physical health challenges brought on by resentment. But people who don’t learn to let it go may live a shorter life — not to mention a less fulfilling one.
No one’s saying you don’t have a right to your feelings. But you’re doing yourself real and lasting harm when you don’t learn strategies to overcome resentment and move on.
Oh, and that person you resent. You’re probably not hurting them at all — unless you resent yourself.
5. It May Keep You from Better Things
Let’s say you feel resentful after a tragic breakup. Because of those feelings, you sit at home and don’t get back out there. Something better could be out there for you, but you’ll never know because you’re so focused on the past.
But don’t beat yourself up. Doing so will keep you in this despair. What’s done is done. And the best thing you can do now is to start moving on to something better. So consider these reasons, reach out for professional help if you need it, and get back to living your best life.