The mind often replays old arguments, bringing the same feelings of anger and resentment back. Instead, we should try to recall the feelings from before these disagreements.
There was, I believed, no original thought left to have about my various confrontations, but still they turned over and over in my mind, certain phrases bubbling back up, certain moments replaying in a loop. I formulated snappy and witty rebuttals, unanswerable comebacks; I scripted and rehearsed future encounters. And this ceaseless, futile mental activity disgusted me even as I felt myself unable to stop indulging in it.
Will Wiles. The Way Inn. 2014. Fourth estate. London.
Naturally when something reminds you of pain from your past, painful thoughts and feelings are likely to show up. You can’t stop that from happening. That’s the way your brain is hardwired. But if you clutch those thoughts and feelings and refuse to let go, you turn them into a mass of seething resentment. This does not allow healing; instead it opens your wounds and pours in salt. The word “resentment” comes from the French resentir, which means “to feel again.”
When you hold on to resentment, you will relive the pain, again and again and again. In Buddhism, there’s a saying: resentment is like holding a red hot coal in order to throw it at someone else. When you hold on to hurts from the past, you cultivate feelings of anger, resentment, and revenge. These feelings hurt you, not the person who wronged you. It’s like cutting yourself with a knife and hoping that the other person bleeds.
Russ Harris. Act With Love.