Resentment

I’ve recently come to realise exactly how tricky an emotion resentment is. It starts small. An irritation at a real or inferred promise not kept. A perceived unfairness where someone gets something that you do not. Over time it gathers more ‘stuff’to itself, a slight here, a small or large problem there. It grows, below the radar, below conscious thought, adding each perceived wrong the world throws at us to itself. These are more than likely completely unrelated to the original irritation, but they all contribute to that growing a ball of disgruntled resentment at the world in general and perhaps certain people in particular.Until one day, we actually hear ourselves whining and wonder how we turned into someone who whines. We notice ourselves repeating those whines a few times and wonder when we turned into a stuck record. The chances are that we are complaining about something that should be complained about, troubles at home or at work that have upset us, health problems in ourselves or others that just seem too heavy to carry sometimes. There is nothing wrong with feeling irritation, anger, sadness, particularly where someone has stepped on you, or a boundary that you have set, conciously or unconsiously, has been breached. There is nothing wrong with expressing those feelings – in fact if you are lucky enough to have trusted friends, a good winge can be invaluable to get things off your chest and into the open where they are more easily dealt with. But this time something is off. The feelings are more intense than perhaps the occasion merits. We know that the object of our ire really deserves better. And we realise that maybe instead of whining, we should be doing something to fix or leave the problem, or if that is impossible, to learn how to live with it. But somehow, we feel stuck.That is what resentment does to us. It gets us stuck. We spend so much energy resenting things in the past, often without even realising it. Even if we know that we have no business doing so. Even if it feels wrong. Even though in our heads we know that there are millions of people in worse positions than we are. And the more resentment we collect the more stuck we feel. Options seem to dwindle, which just fuels more growth of resentment.There is only one way to get unstuck – by facing up to our resentment and letting it go. It can be very uncomfortable peering at all those things that we secretly resent – many of them seem so petty and trivial by themselves. And many of our resentments are, let’s be honest, pretty trivial. But when we let them sit there, gathering themselves together, the sum of them can sometimes become overwhelming, turning contentment and optimism to bitterness and stagnation. Blocking us from seeing all the good things that are out there waiting for us – good people, amazing opportunities.I challenge you to write a list. Of every single thing that you can think of that has annoyed, irritated, pissed you off that is still, if you think about it, making you clench or frown. Write them all down, even the embarrassing ones that you really cannot understand why you got so worked up about them, and the dark, secret ones about people that you love with all your heart. Just write until you cannot think of any more. Then read through them. And choose to let them all go. Burn the list or play poo-sticks with it in a river if it helps you let go. But make that choice.It won’t make current challenges in your life disappear. But you will feel so much lighter once you let go of all those past resentments. So much more able to deal with the here and now. To see the help and the options and solutions in front of you. And to reach out for them.Start fresh. If someone steps on your toes, call them out on it if you need to, but do not carry the pain and anger with you past that moment. Deal with it and let it go. Perhaps if we all learn to talk to each other about our problems we can all find solutions. And leave that prickly, bitter ball of resentment behind.20190318_191157_00013722530734771817796.png

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