The Healing Power of Letting Go and Moving On

Upset stomach? It may not be what you’re eating but what’s eating you.

A while ago I was conducting a series of interviews in an organization. I wanted to understand the organization and the people in it before I delivered my program.

What caught my attention was the number of managers, supervisors, and employees who referred to a particular executive and all the harm he had caused. The more negative comments I heard, the more convinced I was that it would indeed be difficult to work with that executive in that culture.

Of course, I wanted to meet that executive and get his perspective. Then I learned that that executive had died three years before, but the people were talking as though he was still there, ruining their lives. The executive had gone, but the people wouldn’t let go.

That organization and those people had problems because they were filled with resentment. And resentment is one of the most demoralizing emotions known to mankind. It will kill relationships, stop teamwork, level motivation, and ruin health.

So what do you do if you or your team is afflicted with resentment? REMIND YOURSELF THAT RESENTMENT IS UNREASONABLE. In other words, resentment never solved a problem or built a relationship. It does no good whatsoever. It’s like driving your car while looking in the rearview mirror. If you spend too much time looking in the past, you’ll crack up in the present.

Then, find someone to talk to. Kept inside, resentment will feed on everything that is good inside you. So get it out; talk it out, because THERE IS NO CLOSURE WITHOUT DISCLOSURE. Find someone who will listen, who will understand your feelings, and who will challenge you to move on.

What you don’t need is someone’s sympathy. You don’t need someone telling you how unfair life has been. That will do nothing but keep you stuck in your resentment.

Finally, after you’ve had your discussions and disclosures, REFOCUS YOUR ATTENTION. Your resentment may have become pervasive and habitual, so it will try to resurface time and again. Whenever it does, force yourself to think of something else more positive. And with enough practice, your resentment will be a thing of the past.


Action:  Take three minutes to take an honest look at yourself. See if you have any resentments troubling you. If so, select one, and every time that resentment comes to mind, find another reason why you should let it go.