What’s the opposite of resentment? Speaking up. Taking up space.
If someone says something to you that you’re not okay with, it’s okay to speak up. A simple “well, that’s not very kind” is enough to get your message across.
What happens when you stay quiet? You become resentful. You get mad at them and you get mad at yourself. This ends up being unfair to not only yourself, but to the other person.
The beauty of using your words is 1) it lets someone know they crossed a boundary 2) it gives someone an opportunity to correct something that might not have been interpreted the way they meant for it to.
Staying quiet leaves so much gap in communication that two people can literally walk away from a conversation feeling the opposite way.
What I’ve learned is people will only treat you the way you let them. Yes, there are mean people out there, but notice once you point out their meanness, they chill out a bit. I have been on both sides of this. I remember gently letting someone know their behavior wasn’t okay with me and they smartened up right away. Some people might not smarten up and try to gas-light you, well, then you know what kind of person they are and you can make a decision about whether you want them in your space.
On the other hand, I was once the mean person. I had a friend who annoyed me and would trigger me. I didn’t have the courage to speak up, so instead of letting her know how she was making me feel, I would shoot micro-aggressions her way. Well, she called me out and I’m glad she did. We were able to have a healthy conversations and both shift our behaviors.
There is power in your words. You have the right to speak up. You were given a voice. It might be hard initially to say something because you’re so out of practice, but once you keep practicing, it’ll become easier and easier.
How to practice: You can practice on strangers! I remember I was on a run and felt too shy to tell a group of people blocking the sidewalk that I was behind them. I remember pushing myself to say “on your right!” and seeing evidence of how good my communication felt because I got the result I wanted. This could also come in the form of asking a store employee where something is or asking for directions. Practice in whatever way you can.
I’ll leave you with this: if someone has the audacity to make you feel uncomfortable, you have a right to make them feel uncomfortable right back with your voice. So speak up. It can be in a kind and gentle way (this usually gets the message across better). Plus, it’s kind of fun watching someone get called out and having to explain their meanness. They won’t do it to you again.