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How Our Unconscious Bias Can Influence Resentment

"Lose/Win people bury a lot of feelings. And unexpressed feelings come forth later in uglier ways. Psychosomatic illnesses often are the reincarnation of cumulative resentment, deep disappointment and disillusionment repressed by the Lose/Win mentality. Disproportionate rage or anger, overreaction to minor provocation, and cynicism are other embodiments of suppressed emotion. People who are constantly repressing, not transcending feelings toward a higher meaning find that it affects the quality of their relationships with others". Stephan Covey

When it comes to our emotions, we often make decisions without even realizing it. Unconscious bias can have a powerful influence on how we feel and think, and this can be especially true when it comes to resentment. In this blog post, we will explore how our unconscious bias can shape our emotions and lead us to resentment and how we can become more aware of our thought patterns to better understand and control our emotions. We'll discuss the origins of unconscious bias and how it can lead to feelings of resentment and anger.

What is unconscious bias?

Unconscious bias refers to the externalized programmed associations and stereotypes our brains make without conscious awareness. Societal norms, personal experiences, and cultural conditioning influence these unconscious biases. They can impact our judgments, decisions, emotional state, attitudes, performance, relationships, professional opportunities, mental wellness, and behaviours. Unconscious bias can lead us to favour certain groups over others without us even realizing it. Understanding and addressing our unconscious biases is important to prevent them from shaping our emotions and causing resentment toward others. Unconscious bias is not limited to negative stereotypes or discriminatory attitudes; it can also include positive biases or preferences towards certain groups. These biases are deeply ingrained in our subconscious and can affect our perceptions and interactions with others on a daily basis.

Dr. Elizabeth Levy, a Princeton sociologist, research has shown that unconscious biases can be influenced by a variety of factors, including media representation, social conditioning, and personal experiences. For example, if we have grown up in an environment where certain groups are consistently portrayed as untrustworthy or dangerous, we may develop unconscious biases that affect our feelings and attitudes towards those groups.

These unconscious operating biases can have significant consequences in our personal and professional lives. They can lead to resentment, animosity, and prejudice, harming our relationships with others and hindering collaboration and teamwork. In the workplace, unconscious bias can impact hiring decisions, promotion opportunities, and work assignments, creating an unfair playing field for certain individuals or groups and workplace conflict.

It is important to recognize and address our unconscious biases and blind spots to create a more inclusive and equitable society. This starts with self-awareness and introspection. By reflecting on our beliefs, attitudes, and behaviours, we can uncover our unconscious biases and work towards dismantling them. In the next section of this blog post, we will delve into the psychology of resentment and explore how unconscious bias can contribute to feelings of resentment towards others. Here we go!

The psychology of resentment

According to Dr. Enright, "Resentment shows that you are a person of moral character who knows right from wrong and, therefore, knows when wrong is done against you." Resentment is a complex emotion that stems from a deep sense of injustice or unfairness. It can be fueled by feelings of powerlessness, betrayal, or a perceived lack of control. The psychology behind resentment involves a mix of cognitive processes, such as attribution, rumination, negative thinking patterns and faulty core beliefs. It can also be influenced by underlying deep unconscious beliefs and expectations about oneself, others, and the world. Understanding the psychology of resentment is crucial in order to identify and address the underlying factors that contribute to this emotion and find healthier ways to navigate and resolve conflicts.

The connection between unconscious bias and resentment

Unconscious bias and resentment are deeply intertwined. Our unconscious biases can shape the way we perceive and interact with others, leading to unfair judgments and treatment. This can create feelings of resentment, as individuals who are marginalized or treated unfairly may harbour anger towards those who hold biases. Furthermore, our unconscious biases can contribute to a lack of empathy and understanding, making it difficult to resolve conflicts and build healthy relationships. By recognizing and addressing our unconscious biases, we can work towards creating a more inclusive and empathetic society, reducing the prevalence of resentment.

Examples of unconscious bias leading to resentment

In everyday life, unconscious bias can manifest in various ways and contribute to feelings of resentment. For example, in the workplace, a supervisor might unconsciously favour certain employees based on their gender or race, leading to resentment among those who feel overlooked or marginalized. In personal relationships, unconscious bias can lead to unfair treatment or assumptions based on stereotypes, causing resentment to build over time. These examples illustrate how our biases, even if unintentional, can significantly impact others and contribute to the development of resentment.

The impact of resentment on personal and professional relationships

Resentment can have a profound impact on personal and professional relationships. It can create a toxic environment where trust and communication break down. In personal relationships, resentment can lead to distance and animosity, making building or maintaining a healthy connection difficult. Professionally, resentment can lead to a lack of collaboration and teamwork, hindering productivity and progress. Resentment can also lead to passive-aggressive behaviour, which further exacerbates the strain on relationships. Recognizing the impact of resentment is crucial in order to take steps toward addressing and resolving it for the sake of our relationships and overall well-being.

Ways to address unconscious bias and resentment in ourselves and others

It is essential to start by cultivating reflective self-awareness to address unconscious bias and resentment. Reflect on your own beliefs, attitudes, and behaviours, and be open to challenging and questioning them. Educate yourself about different cultures, perspectives, and experiences to broaden your understanding and reduce bias. Actively listen to others, seek out diverse voices and opinions, and practice empathy and understanding. Engage in open and honest conversations about bias and resentment with yourself and others. Remember that change takes time and effort, but we can create a more inclusive and harmonious world by actively working to address unconscious bias.

Strategies to Help You Manage Resentment

Developing strategies to manage resentment is crucial for our emotional well-being and the health of our relationships. Here are some helpful strategies to consider:

1. Develop self-compassion: Resentment can stem from feelings of anger and hurt. It's important to be kind to yourself and acknowledge that feeling these emotions is okay. Practice self-compassion by treating yourself with understanding and forgiveness.

2. View the situation with empathy: Try to see things from the perspective of the person or people you feel resentment towards. Empathy can help foster understanding and open up the possibility for forgiveness and healing.

3. Be grateful: Practicing gratitude can help shift your focus from resentment to appreciation. Take time each day to reflect on the things you are grateful for, whether big or small. This can help cultivate a positive mindset and reduce the power of resentment.

4. Forgive yourself and others: Forgiveness is a powerful tool for letting go of resentment. It doesn't mean forgetting or condoning what happened but rather releasing the emotional burden and choosing to move forward. Remember, forgiveness is a process and may take time.

5. Reflect and identify the source of the resentment: Understanding the underlying reasons for your resentment can be helpful in finding resolution. Reflect on the root causes of your feelings and consider seeking support from a therapist or counsellor to help navigate these emotions. Remember, the self can not fully see the self, and for this reason, we need someone outside of us to help us reflect on these deeper unconscious biases and areas of unresolved stuck points that lead us to be trapped in the emotional state of resentment.

Managing resentment requires self-reflection, compassion, and a willingness to let go. By implementing these strategies, you can take steps towards healing, forgiveness, and creating healthier relationships. Change takes time and effort, so be patient with yourself as you work through this process.

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