Untangling you: How can I be grateful when I feel so resentful?

This book explores the interplay between gratitude and resentment to help us untangle difficult relationships and to live a more fulfilling and creative life.

‘A must-read for anybody who has dealt with conflict in their life, whether personal or professional. The reader will discover the often-misunderstood power of gratitude and the role it can play in allowing us to lead a heathy and happier life.’
Sarah Bolt
Anti-Discrimination Commissioner, Equal Opportunity Tasmania.

Book Summary

We’ve all experienced resentment. We’ve all said “How could they?” out loud or to ourselves, sometimes over and over again.

Does the shock and hurt you have experienced from being belittled or let down dominate your thinking and keep you awake at night? No matter how much you try to let it go, to be kind, to be the ‘bigger person’, do you feel defeated because the pain is too great, or because it feels as if you are letting the other person off the hook? Trying to practise gratitude in this situation can feel unreasonable or impossible.

So, how can you possibly feel grateful when you feel the exact opposite: resentful?

Untangling you: How can I be grateful when I feel so resentful? provides practical strategies for gradually untangling difficult relationships and moving from resentment towards gratitude. Through the examples of ‘everyday resentments’ – embittered parents or in-laws; disappointment arising from not being selected; ageism in the workplace; sibling rivalry; self-resentment; entrenched resentment from others; crippling fear at even the thought of speaking directly about your resentment; and cross-cultural complexities – you will gain some insights, tools and strategies to enable you to address the resentments you are holding onto.

If you want to improve your wellbeing, grow your resilience, enhance your relationships, lead a more creative life, have a greater sense of meaning and connectedness, take action now. Untangling you will help you on this journey, whether you are a leader, coach, parent, teacher, people manager, mentor, health professional, or just someone who wants to grow their character and self-efficacy.

Why I wrote Untangling you

Why did I write Untangling you: How can I be grateful when I feel so resentful? In nearly all of the discussions I have had about gratitude over the past few decades, around the globe, with thousands of people from diverse walks of life, a theme has consistently revealed itself: “how can I be grateful when I feel so resentful?” I wrote this book to try to answer this question. So much has been written about the benefits of gratitude but not much about how to access gratitude when it is difficult to do so. The gratitude practices I offer in this book aim to guide the reader when they are facing difficult relationships and gratitude seems the least likely response.

Book Endorsements

‘In this book, Kerry Howells tackles a perplexing issue that humans must face in social life, but which scholars and philosophers have understood poorly – how to disarm complicated feelings of resentment and replace them with gratitude. She deftly empowers readers not just with the skills to reframe difficult feelings of inferiority, of being unappreciated, being excluded or treated unfairly, but also with the skills of inviting gratitude, healing and growth back into their lives so that we can live a truly joyful and optimal life.’
– Giacomo Bono
Associate Professor and gratitude researcher, California State University, and co-author of Making Grateful Kids: The Science of Building Character.
‘In normal human experience, resentment is the polar opposite of gratitude. Kerry Howells shows us that we are able, paradoxically, to locate and understand in the light of gratitude our own obstinate self-imprisonment in resentment. This is a wise and practical book, the fruit of decades of thoughtful research and experience. There are not many people who could rightly decide to do without it.’
– Margaret Visser
Author of The Gift of Thanks: The Roots and Rituals of Gratitude and The Rituals of Dinner.
‘It was such a pleasure to read this book. It is an innovative work which takes gratitude into a different sphere of depth and breadth, especially in terms of how it is intertwined with resentment. This has many therapeutic implications. Howells’ book is nuanced, uplifting and a much-needed resource in current challenging times.’
– Tayyab Rashid
PhD, clinical psychologist, University of Toronto Scarborough, and co-author of Strengths-Based Resilience: A Positive Psychology Program and Positive Psychotherapy: Clinician Manual.

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Book Club

Want to go deeper with this book by joining a book club with Kerry?

Who is book club for?

Book club is an opportunity to read and reflect both individually and as a group. It’s for anyone who wants to dive deeply into the meaning of gratitude and its relevance for their personal and professional life. This includes leaders, educators, health workers and other professionals, parents, researchers, academics and gratitude enthusiasts.

Why participate in book club?

To grow your capacity for:

  • Enhanced ability to lead/educate/parent/learn with gratitude
  • Deeper connection with others who are searching for new ways of being and doing
  • Greater self-awareness and skill around the way you express and receive gratitude and the potential of this to create flourishing relationships
  • Deeper understanding of the many dimensions of gratitude and how they grow resilience and wellbeing
  • Implementing gratitude practices that are accessible, authentic and meaningful
  • Addressing resentment in ways that enable gratitude to be more easily and sincerely expressed
  • Character growth through practising gratitude when going through adversity

“Book club has exposed me to different approaches to the practice of gratitude at both a personal and communal level. I also found it to be a supportive environment to share my experiences, concerns, failures and triumphs.”

Sally
University tutor, Faculty of Engineering

“If we were to meet gratitude face to face she would say ‘take action that serves others’, ‘give back’, ‘give up’, ‘say sorry’, ‘let go’, ‘clear the air’ and connect.”