The Destructive Forces of Resentment

I love this saying by Buddha and will often use it in session:

“Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are

the one who gets burned.” – Buddha

This type of anger is not what we would consider immediate anger – those rising up feelings that occur when someone says something to upset you for example. This type of anger is one that falls in the category of hostility or resentment. It is pent up anger, pushed down anger, anger that has been avoided, anger that we hold on to. Sometimes it is towards a person who has hurt us, other times it is anger that comes from a circumstance in our life that has not been resolved.

In any case, it is a destructive anger. And the only person we are really hurting is ourselves.  I also liken the hot coal to a stone in our heart; hostility and bitterness will create stones in our hearts, and therefore we carry the heavy load.

We are in a much better position to begin to explore our hurt, for that is really what resentment is about – we have skipped over the hurt to anger and it keeps us in a place where we avoid the pain, thereby avoiding forgiveness. I would say that perhaps it is time to let go of that hot coal and begin the tender care of our wounds. 🙂

Photo credit:


Leave a comment