Learning how to let go of hate can allow you to enjoy life more again. We all hold a grudge from time to time. Holding on to anger, resentment, and negativity from the past can keep you from having inner-peace.
No matter what family member hurt you, friend betrayed you, ex cheated on you, or any person did to you, it's best to let go of the grudge. Even in severe cases where a criminal harms you and you truly were wronged, staying mad at them doesn't do any good for you.
An article published by the American Psychological Association found that anger can increase inflammation associated with chronic illnesses. There's no way around the fact that your physical and emotional well-being can be affected by hatred.
The author of the study found that the key to dealing with negative emotions is learning how to cope with them. Here are some therapeutic steps you can try to help you feel less hate.
1. Acknowledge and feel the hurt
In a Psychology Today article on working through anger and resentment, the first step Psychotherapist Dan Mager mentions is allowing ourselves to feel the hurt behind the anger. Maybe you're hurt that someone you thought you could trust betrayed it.
Acknowledge that feeling and let yourself feel sad about that. I've mentioned in a previous article that research has shown crying is good for us.
2. Decide to let it go
You have to be committed to wanting to move past the negative feelings you're experiencing. As Grohol stated in his article, one must stop reliving the pain and stop going over the story.
Of course this can seem like a tall task at times, but you can still try. Actively search for other things to focus on. Find yourself a passion or hobby to put you in the present, and keep your mind from ruminating.
As Dr. Fred Luskin states in a Stanford Magazine article on forgiving someone who hurt you, forgiving doesn't mean you condone what someone did to you. It just means you choose to accept what was done to you and make peace with it.
Accept that someone may have lied to you about something very serious. Accept someone may have acted in a way that didn't take your well-being into consideration. Make peace with these things so you can move forward in life.
4. Check your story
In another Psychology Today article on letting go of resentment and anger, Dr. Rick Hanson recommends that we check our story. He expresses that we should make sure we're not exaggerating how bad the incident we experienced was or how unforgivable it is.
Rather than assume intent, give that person the benefit of the doubt. Maybe they had a bad day, or as often is the case, perhaps that person's issues in life led them to be the way they were that eventually hurt you.
Looking back at everyone who's hurt me, I recognize they were all flawed human beings. And the reason they were flawed is because someone probably hurt them first. As a result, they eventually repeated the same hurt towards someone else.
Remember that no one's perfect, including ourselves. One useful perspective to have is that you can hope the person becomes better and doesn't repeat the same hurt to someone else. I heard this perspective from a Chris Rock interview where he discusses how he feels about his bullies today.
5. Engage in self-relaxation
Thriving Center of Psychology advises practicing self-relaxation in order to help let your anger go. One way you can do that is through focusing on your breath. They also recommend unplugging from the phone, internet, and television. Give yourself quiet time to relax and recharge.
Why is it hard to let hate go?
Hatred is a strong emotion to have. In a way, it's almost like a power we're wielding against the person who hurt us.
But as expressed earlier, our hate is harmless to those we direct it at, and only harmful to us. We ignore the deeper pain and hurt that needs to be dealt with to heal from our past.
Not wanting to face the hard truth of our emotional wounds isn't uncommon. With the support of family, friends, and professionals, it is possible to face the hurt you're feeling and heal from them.
How do you overcome anger and hate?
- Changing your environment
- Working it out through physical activity
- Practicing relaxation exercises
- Challenging your thinking
- Engaging in creative arts.
Try one or all of these avenues and see if it makes you feel better. When I've been filled with negative emotions, creative arts and relaxation exercises have usually been my go-to for relieving those feelings.
How do I let hurt and anger go?
In another Healthline article, Dr. Dillon Browne recommends a number of tips for letting go of our past hurts in life. Among the 12 tips offered include:
- Accepting not getting an apology
- Seeking professional help
- Being gentle with ourselves
We have to take steps in order to get past the pain that we feel from our hate. The more steps you try taking, the more you'll potentially be able to heal.
Feel free to share in the comments any hate you're holding on to that you want to let go. I hope through acknowledging that feeling and acknowledging that you want to let go of it, it'll help move you on the path of forgiveness and healing.