I started a new practice of writing down my fears and resentments every day, then asking God to release me from them. After that, I rest in a time of meditation.
Anna Runkle at The Crappy Childhood Fairy, teaches this practice which helped heal her childhood PTSD, after years of unhelpful therapy.
It feels counterintuitive to draw attention to fears and resentments. Aren’t we supposed to think positively and let things go? In fact, acknowledging our darker sides can be liberating and helps us move beyond them.
The most interesting part of the practice is that resentments have to be followed up with the fear behind them. That means any resentments we harbor are actually based in fear.
This came as news to me and has helped me understand myself better. The knowledge that my resentments are based in fear has helped me release them because I know they don’t serve me.
I used to hold onto them because they gave me some benefit or excuse for why my life wasn’t working the way I wanted.
When I resented someone it was usually over something they had that I didn’t, like a loving family. And how they failed to see the ways a healthy upbringing primed them for success.
Behind that resentment lay a fear that without a loving family you can’t enjoy success. Rather than confess that fear, I turned it into a grudge instead.
It feels safer to look outward rather than within. And provides an excellent excuse for an unlived life. But it does nothing for personal and spiritual growth.
Freedom from resentments
That’s why the first thing you learn in a 12-step recovery program is to stop blaming others and look at yourself. Step 4 requires taking a “searching and fearless moral inventory” that consists of, you guessed it, our resentments.
There is something healing about admitting and releasing our resentments by writing them down. Getting them on paper takes away their power, the opposite of what you would expect.
By releasing them this way, you free yourself from the guilt of holding on to them. Because in addition to the resentment itself, we carry guilt and shame for not getting over it.
Maybe you’re wondering why you can’t let things go and forgiveness eludes you. Advice to empathize with the object of your resentment feels phony, and positive thinking only works for a little while (if at all).
Try the daily practice of writing down your fears and resentments and watch them dissipate in a way that’s gentle to you and your soul. Do it for a week or so before you decide if it’s right for you. To take Anna’s free course on the daily practice, click here.