Dealing With Resentment

Physicians naturally encounter many different types of personalities in their work, not just among patients, but among other physicians, hospital administrators, and others. From time to time, you may encounter a person who is somewhat irascible, maybe even combative or surly. They may say or do things that will arouse your ire.

Sometimes it’s difficult to shed the emotion, the feeling of animosity that someone may excite, and it coalesces into resentment. It is something that can linger for a long period of time if we let it. If the object of your resentment is someone you see on a daily basis, each time the memory of the perceived slight or conflict is brought back to mind.

But resentment is an emotion with a particularly corrosive effect. It keeps us stuck in the past, in a permanent bad frame of mind, along with a stressful feeling. We need to throw it off if we are going to perform our best.

How do we do it?

Hanging on to resentment may feel good at first, but in the long run, it only gives more pain. The key to ridding yourself of it, according to psychological counselors, is actually to learn to forgive.

The first step in letting go of your resentment is letting out your feelings. Say how you feel and who the target of your resentment is. Verbalize your anger.

Once you have expressed your emotions, you want to start to think about getting past them. You can begin by thinking about why the person acted the way they did. Was it out of stress or fear, or was it really just spite, or putting someone else down to make themselves feel better? Think about forgiveness. If that’s still too much, give yourself some more time. As you wait, think about your feelings and whether they are changing, and what you have learned about your antagonist.

This is definitely a situation where a little empathy is called for. Trying to decipher the motivation for the behavior, to better understand why the person is doing it, may help a good deal in dealing with your own negative emotions. Again, the key is to rise above the emotional into the rational sphere.

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