Starting to Recognise and Understand Resentment

At different times in our life, we can feel and experience resentment. Today on the journal, I wanted to share a little more about starting to recognise and understand resentment.


What is Resentment?

In order to get clarity on resentment, I did some research. These are some of the definitions of resentment that we found –

  • Feather and Sherman (2002) indicated that resentment is a combination of feelings and thoughts a person  experiences when they do not get what they feel they deserve, or when someone sees another person receives an outcome they think that person does not deserve.
  • In Atlas of the Heart, Brown (2021) indicates –

“Resentment is the feeling of frustration, judgement, anger, “better than”, and/or hiding envy related to perceived unfairness or injustice. It’s an emotion that we often experience when we fail to set boundaries or ask for what we need, or when expectation let us down because they were based on things we can’t control, like what other people think, what they feel, or how they’re going to react.”

  • “a feeling of indignant displeasure or persistent ill will at something regarded as a wrong, insult, or injury” ~ Merriam Webster


Quotes on Resentment –

Following are a few of my favourite quotes on resentment/s –

  • “Resentment is like drinking poison and waiting for the other person to die.” ~ Saint Augustine
  • “A coach is someone who can give correction without causing resentment.” ~ John Wooden
  • “Expectations are resentments under construction.” ~ Anne Lamott
  • “Resentments, carried too far, expose us to a fate analogous to that of the fishhawk, when he strikes his talons too deep into a fish beyond his capacity to lift, and is carried under and drowned by it.” ~ Christian Nestell Bovee
  • “Expect much from yourself and little from others and you will avoid incurring resentments.” ~ Confucius


Recognising Resentment –

Like most things in life, awareness is the first step in recognising resentment. I wrote a post on self-awareness, so won’t go in to the details about that here, however a quick overview of self-awareness is –

“the quality of being conscious of one’s own feelings, character, etc” ~ Collins Dictionary

So once we start to recognise resentment (or any other emotions or feelings for that matter), we can then start to choose our response to it instead of acting or reacting from autopilot. And when we respond consciously, we start to realise we are accountable and responsible for our behaviours and actions.


Over to You…

I hope this post has given you some insight in to resentment and may help you to start to recognise and understand it. If you have any questions or comments, please write them below. If you are ready to reclaim your courage and take the next step towards freedom and opening your heart, why not join our Toolkit?


References –

Brown, B. (2021). Atlas of the Heart: Mapping Meaningful Connection and the Language of Human Experience. New York, USA: Random House.

​Feather, N. T., & Sherman, R. (2002). Envy, resentment, schadenfreude, and sympathy: Reactions to deserved and undeserved achievement and subsequent failure. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 28(7), 953-961.

Worthington, E. L., & Wade, N. G. (1999). The psychology of unforgiveness and forgiveness and implications for clinical practice. Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology, 18(4), 385-418.

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