Question – My co-worker undermined me and I am so angry it is affecting my work and my health.  What can I do to get let go of this anger and resentment?

 Anger is a common emotional reaction when we have been harmed or disrespected by someone.  Unfortunately, anger and resentment often harm the person experiencing the emotions, not the person who committed the offense.  In fact, there is an analogy that resentment is akin to hauling around a burning coal with the intention of one day throwing it back at the one who hurt you.  The burden of blame and anger creates pain, heartache, and possible health problems for the people who hold on to it, as the hot coal burns their hands and their hearts.

Letting go of anger and resentment paves the way for positive emotions, such as joy, excitement, and gratitude.  This requires a conscious choice to release the value attached to the negative emotions associated with the offender, and it requires detachment from past actions.  The first step is to recognize and name your emotions and consciously decide that you want to let them go.  The second step requires empathetically viewing the world through the offender’s lens and attempting to identify with that person’s emotions and motives. You can do this by separating the person from the problem, focusing on the interconnectedness of the relationship, and looking for common strengths and interests. This leads to the final step, forgiving the offender.

While some people think forgiveness is impossible when they have been dreadfully hurt, the person who benefits and changes by forgiving is the forgiver because they let go of the hot coals of anger and resentment.  The paradox is the forgiver begins to heal.