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Resentment vs. Anger

By Carla Valencia

According to the dictionary resentment means: "A feeling of indignant displeasure or persistent ill will at something regarded as a wrong, insult, or injury." The key word in this definition is persistent; when you feel resentment you keep having fantasies about revenge.

Anger means: "A strong feeling of displeasure and usually of antagonism." So what is the difference between resentment and anger?

  • If you feel resentment you also feel anger. Anger is like a sudden emotion. Is a reaction. If somebody does something bad to you, you react with anger. So if the key word in resentment is persistent, you become resentful when you let that anger persist. This would mean that you are choosing to have this resentment.

  • When you feel anger, because this is a feeling that arises as a self-defense mechanism, you cannot decide not to be angry. You can decide how to manage the situation but you still feel the anger. On the other hand, you decide to be resentful because you keep dwelling in your anger. Being resentful is choosing to keep the anger.

Whenever you choose to keep your anger and become resentful you lose your joy, you close down. You are not going to feel good about yourself, therefore you are contributing to increase your low self esteem.

I have also noticed that when I get trapped in this circle I put myself again in a victim position, because I am keeping my anger to justify that I am right. The other person is the problem, not me.

Do you still like to be the victim? To be a victim is one of the characteristics of low self esteem. If you keep putting yourself in victim situations by not letting go of the anger and resentment, you will not be able to have a healthy self-esteem.

I have found that the best question to ask at this moment is: "Do I want to be right or happy?" Keeping my resentment will not change what happened, and will not change the other person. It will only increase my self-pity.

It is worth thinking about. If somehow you are able to let go of the anger, you will free yourself from resentment and you will be able to build a healthy self esteem.

"Resentment is like taking a poison and waiting for the other person to die." --Malachy McCourt

"Get mad, then get over it." --Colin Powell

Copyright © 2006 Carla Valencia. All rights reserved.
Since she was young, Carla spent a lot of time researching and interviewing close friends and family about self-esteem issues. She has been examining alternative ways of dealing with life on many different levels, studying metaphysics, Buddhism, and participating in several workshops to work inside herself. She's been using several techniques since the last 10 years like Ho'oponopono, EFT, Rebirthing, Shadow Work and Meditation. Carla published her first book when she was 23, "Let's love ourselves as we are." She is the author of the e-book "The Boost: Your Self-Esteem Workbook." Learn more about her work at SelfEsteemAwareness.com.
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