Searching for Happiness- The Poison of Resentment

“Resentment is like drinking poison and waiting for the other person to die. ” 

― Carrie Fisher

How does resentment manifest in your life and how does feeding the mouth of this greedy emotion help fuel your own inner emotional demise?

Resentment is a key player on the enemies team. Trust me, I know! So what and who is this adversary?

By definition, resentment is bitter indignation at having been treated unfairly.

For years the feelings of resentment can lay veiled in our emotions completely unnoticed. Disguising itself with a camouflage of more attractive emotions like agitation, anger, and jealousy, to name a few. Then as a final act of all-consuming power, our resentments lash out as righteousness and anger. Like a snake with a swift attack. Leaving us and our target completely blind to the real culprit buried deep within.resentment

Resentment is usually bred from the parent’s insecurity and fear. The sad truth is that many of us are so consumed with the overwhelming feelings of jealousy, anger, fear and our insecurities that we never really know the true cause. Time with this monster twists and warps our perceptions.

However, the manifestations can be easy enough to recognize if you know what to look for. A clue can be found in one’s justification of their negative feelings of anger, jealousy or resentment. You feel you have “the right” to be angry or “so many reasons” to be upset with such person or situation. All telltale signs that it’s really resentment that has you by the short and curlies.

For example, if your friend forgets your birthday or your husband forgets to do the dishes, you might feel like you are right and they are wrong. You may begin to gather all kinds of evidence to prove to yourself that you have the right to be angry, you build on a pile of negative evidence to feed the mouth of resentment lurking hidden beneath your surface.

You may think, “I am such a good friend I would never forget her birthday, in fact, last year I surprised her with a party, I deserve a better friend than this.” You think, “I cleaned the floors, I cleaned the bathroom, I cooked, I do the dishes every day, why doesn’t he do his fair share? I deserve better than this.”

Perhaps you start to feel bogged down by others ill treatment of you. But in reality, it is the proof of your superior nature that is bogging you down. Your resentments.

Poison begins to sink in.

The thing about resentment is, it infects us all, so many of us suffer from it that it’s hard to find someone who is clear on these matters. We pass our infection to one another like a common cold.

It devours you from the inside out. No amount of yelling, crying, gossiping or ranting to others will help release it, because inside you is where it lives and inside you is where it gains it’s fuel, not from anyone else.

We program each other to feel justified in feelings of resentment.  Mother to daughter, friend to friend, the media, you name it. Although if we consider those people, situations or feelings we resent eventually, we will see that it is us not them, it, this or that.

Always.

So your friend forgets your birthday, so your husband forgets to do the dishes. What does that really mean? What should you really do with the fuel from those situations? Hang onto it and add it to the ever-growing pile of poison inside yourself? Hang onto it until your ready to pull it out in the next argument as ammo to “win” a losing battle? Gossip and spread negativity with friends, infecting them with resentment in turn?

The sad thing is so many of us are living in such a tangled web in our minds that we are unable to see that the problem begins with us. Sorry friends but almost every problem in your life begins with you and the way YOU interpret your reality. If it doesn’t begin with you then it can certainly end with you.

The sooner we can take accountability for our own feelings and their causes then the sooner we can stop resenting other humans. Leaving lots of room for a life filled with happiness and compassion.

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Tip 1: Communication

Many of us hang onto feelings of resentment because we don’t want to “stir the pot” in the moment. You “let it go”without actually letting anything go, leaving yourself bogged down with feelings of jealousy and anger towards the subject at hand.

Try learning to communicate in a neutral none confrontational way. If you can communicate things that bother you in a none defensive way towards yourself and others then you can skip feeding the mouth of resentment and help starve that nasty bugger out.

Being mindful of how we open up to others is a great step in releasing negative emotions in a healthy way. When you practice open communication you are not only releasing the tension that an uncomfortable situation brings but you are also teaching those you interact with how they should interact with you.

Tip 2: Stop playing the blame game

Seriously let that shit go. There is actually no secret code of human conditioning that everyone needs to abide by that you need to take upon yourself to govern. It is not your job to teach people how they “should be” in your opinion.

If you do the dishes for your household regularly then that is the way that YOU conduct yourself, if you surprise a friend with a party on their birthday that is how YOU conduct yourself, if you do overtime at work, that is how YOU conduct yourself.

Treat others how you would like to be treated. Not treat others the way you expect them to treat you.

When a situation is bubbling with potential resentment, focus inward on how you can change how you feel about your situation. Don’t blame others because the situation arose in the first place. Where is your accountability in that?

Search for a new liberating way to move forward that releases you and others from blame. Seriously, that is such a medieval mentality. Let’s be proactive with our emotions and stop playing the victim. No boo-wooing here!

Tip 3: Change your expectations

Many of us carry ridiculously distorted expectations. We focus on what a proper, friend should look like, spouse, employer, or family so much so that we stop focusing on what we are putting into those relationships. We make ourselves miserable by reminding ourselves of all the false injustices that have fallen upon us, injustices that sometimes only exist in our minds.

Many of us are stuck in this endless game and we don’t even see it as a problem, or we see it as the wrong problem. Families and friends loose contact and relationships die from unhealthy expectations and ill-constructed communication.

Many of the negative feelings that have kept me from happiness in my life have been on account of holding onto unrealistic expectations towards myself and others. A change in expectations and perspective can be so liberating.


So what are you waiting for? Make a change!

It won’t happen overnight but after some practice, you can live a life free from resentment and the nasty emotions it conceals itself as. Let go, forgive and open your life up to positivity, truth, and happiness.

Stop feeding the monster of resentment, the change can only come from you. Focus on the power you have to positively impact your own life and others and let go of the ammo and all those useless resentments.

This is just another lesson I am learning on the search for happiness. I hope this discovery uplifts your life like it has mine.

Cheers!

 

 

 

56 COMMENTS

  1. live_a_life_less_ordinary | 20th Dec 16

    Wow… 🙁

  2. Sage Sheppard | 20th Dec 16

    Excellent post. Point #2 is going to hurt a lot of feelings…whew! But I love those reflections that are so deep that you can’t help but catch your breath as you try to deal with the stinging slap across your face. Yes!! I think I could have worded that better, but that’s what came to mind first.

    • StephJ | 20th Dec 16

      Yea I hear you! It is true, unfortunately learning this lesson in my own life felt like much more than a slap in the face. The effects are longer lasting, resentments are hard to let go of and a part of a very difficult habit to break. thank you for reading 🙂

    • kmeverett81 | 21st Dec 16

      Great post!!! I’m totally guilty of point #2 😳

  3. You Can Always Start Now | 20th Dec 16

    Great post and much needed. It is a poison and just eats and eats at you. Going to share. Hope you have a fabulous holiday!

    • StephJ | 20th Dec 16

      Thank you happy holidays to you also!

  4. Sweetsnsnarks by LeAnn | 20th Dec 16

    Such a well-written post about something that can sneak up on everyone without ever realizing it. While I’m still continuing to learn how to let emotions go, I know how helpful it can be to one’s well being to shed expectations and let go. Thank you for sharing!

    • StephJ | 20th Dec 16

      Thank you! It has been a valuable lesson I have learned. Putting the lessons in the practice is the difficult art.

  5. Jon | 20th Dec 16

    Amazing post! I heard a similar quote from Niptuck that goes “You know the difference between jealousy and envy, Christian? Jealousy is when you realize someone has something you want, you just have to work hard to get it. Envy is when you realize someone has something you can never have, no matter how hard you try.”
    Merril Bobolit, Nip/Tuck, Episode 2.13

    • StephJ | 20th Dec 16

      woah! That is a very true quote for sure! Thanks for reading.

      • Jon | 20th Dec 16

        No problem! If you have the chance, I definitely recommend watching Niptuck. Its from the creators of American Horror Story (Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk) and it’s SO amazing!

  6. Kate | 20th Dec 16

    I am so guilty of #2. I always justified my resentments with the golden rule (Do unto others…) but you’re right, there is a difference between “like to be treated” and “expect”. Another great post, Steph!

    • StephJ | 21st Dec 16

      Thank you! I think we all fall into that trap unfortunately. The first step is recognizing. Thanks again for reading 🙂

  7. usathroughoureyes | 21st Dec 16

    Great post and the tips are spot on.

  8. livelifewellblog5 | 21st Dec 16

    I love this post. By day, I work as a marriage and family therapist, and I’ve seen first hand what resentment can do to individuals and their relationships. These tips are awesome.

    LiveLifeWell,
    Allison

    • StephJ | 22nd Dec 16

      Thank you for reading!

  9. Kim Kruse | 22nd Dec 16

    Such a meaningful post! Communication is so essential!!

  10. Abby | 22nd Dec 16

    Oh, how much did I need this post! it was so inspiring and motivating to look at things on the bright side. I’ve been dealing with resentment for the past 2 years, you know when someone wronged you, you try to hold on to that and have something against that person. But it isn’t healthy and it’s doing you no good. Thank you for sharing your insight – your 3 tips would really help especially 1 and 2. I need to stop blaming all the time!

    • StephJ | 22nd Dec 16

      It is a hard thing to practice, but catching yourself when you do it and not giving in to the attraction of negativity is a skill that can be developed just like anything else! Your headed in the right direction 🙂

  11. Searching for Happiness- The Poison of Resentment – Running to Zen | 26th Dec 16

    […] Searching for Happiness- The Poison of Resentment […]

  12. aliceinwonderlandss | 28th Dec 16

    This is a great post! Those tips are amazing!

  13. shopgirlanonymous | 28th Dec 16

    Funny you use the birthday example. My best friend growing up, we are now in our thirties, will always without a doubt forget my birthday. It’s just who she is. When we were in college I made a mean comment to her about it, I was hurt and I wanted her to hurt too. I’m a birthday person, everyones’ birthday person. I memorize all birthdays, I’m like a walk catalog, so the fact that she forgot mine was unfathomable.

    She is not a birthday person and this was something I came to realize after that fateful 20th. I felt so terrible about the way I treated her, so childish and selfish. This past September I turned 31, and like every birthday for the past 11 years I anticipate her missing it, despite the fact that my birthday has fallen on the same day since we first met in 1998. 😉 So I jazz her some, but it’s become something I love about her, something unique about her.

    • StephJ | 28th Dec 16

      That is so wonderful hat you are able to appreciate and love your friend unconditionally in that way. If more people could be loving and accepting like that there would be a lot less resentment int he world.

  14. Jirah Merizz | 28th Dec 16

    Woooah this is such a great post and your tips are absolutely on point! Communication is the key! Loved this ❤

    • StephJ | 28th Dec 16

      Thank you! i am glad you enjoyed 🙂

  15. chiarascorners | 29th Dec 16

    Wow your such a great writer!! I love this post, it is very helpful and eye opening, resentment is something very dangerous that we need to all stop doing. I cant wait to read more of your future blog lovely! following you immediately! xx
    https://chiarascornersite.wordpress.com/

    • StephJ | 29th Dec 16

      Thank you so much for your kind words 😊

  16. Idle Muser | 29th Dec 16

    Insightful is the word which can describe this whole post. We all face this but never get to know how to get rid of it. Instances of birthday and unwashed dishes, both are very basic and not out-of-the-blue incidents. They happen to everybody, every now and then. An addition to it was your suggestion on how-to tackle them.
    The tips you mentioned are surely something to contemplate over.
    Thanks for sharing this. 🙂

    • StephJ | 29th Dec 16

      Thank you for reading.

  17. lolostrong | 29th Dec 16

    Brilliant. Very real life advice.

  18. Bernadine | 31st Dec 16

    😊 lovely advice. Happy New Year! P.S. I’m hosting a blog party right now because I enjoyed yours so much. Hope you can make it: https://bernbakes.wordpress.com/2016/12/31/now-live-new-years-blog-party-%F0%9F%8E%89/ 🙂🙂

  19. 7 Self Love Tips for 2017 – ScaleitSimple | 9th Jan 17

    […] Yes, I am starting with this hefty one. I recently wrote a post about (The Poison of Resentment) and this idea has been sticking with me quite a bit lately. That is why I choose forgiveness as […]

  20. cookandenjoyrecipes | 11th Jan 17

    Love it. BTW: I would like to announce that I nominated you for an award!
    Congratulations!
    Here is the post with your listed as a nominee for the Blogger Recognition Award: https://cookandenjoyrecipes.wordpress.com/2017/01/11/blogger-recognition-award-3/

    • StephJ | 12th Jan 17

      Thank you very much, that is very kind 🙂

      • cookandenjoyrecipes | 12th Jan 17

        Hope you will be able to participate and pay this win win forward and share with others. Take care and happy blogging

  21. Elizabeth | 14th Jan 17

    This was an excellent post! I’m impressed that you have learned this so early in life. It will make you and those around you so much happier!

    • StephJ | 16th Jan 17

      Thank you very much 🙂

  22. thomas6741 | 19th Jan 17

    Oh how timely! As I was reading this post, I could feel “something” wash over me.
    I don’t like confrontation, so I’ve been taking the Poison for a while now. Blaming, instead of communicating. Hope this well-written piece will help me find my words! Thank you.

    • StephJ | 19th Jan 17

      Thank you very much for your comment! Good luck 🙂

  23. beforethewin | 30th Jan 17

    The more I read of your blog the more I LOVE IT!

    • StephJ | 30th Jan 17

      Thank you so much. That is so sweet!

  24. Jo (Fallen Angel) | 12th Mar 17

    Loved reading this. I could really use these tips in relation to my employer. I need to reset my expectations. My resentment and frustration won’t change the situation so I need to change how I feel/react.

  25. Monster Mermaid | 12th Mar 17

    Unbelievably relevant right in this moment!Thank you 🙂

  26. Gabe Burkhardt | 12th Mar 17

    I suspect the third tip, change your expectations, is the one most likely to eliminate resentment. But its also the one I struggle with most.
    Well thought out post. Thanks for sharing!

  27. angelanoelauthor | 12th Mar 17

    Thank you for the reminders on the pitfalls of resentment. Even though I like to think of myself as self-aware, I feel resentment bubbling. I KNOW in my head that it’s me, not them, but that doesn’t stop me from the war in my brain that sounds like, “But, really he is the WORST, and I am doing my best.” Sometimes I just have to let this run its course, other times I can pivot and laugh at myself. Laughter is my favorite poison antidote. Thanks for the post!

  28. Searching for Happiness – Part 3: Healthy Relationships | 7th Jun 17

    […] Let it go: Holding onto pointless crap only further depletes you. I write more about that in Searching for Happiness- The Poison of Resentment. […]

  29. Ritu | 2nd Sep 17

    Great post! Resentment eats away at you if you let it…

  30. Shallow Reflections | 2nd Sep 17

    I’ve heard it said that expectations are planned resentments and have found this to be true in my life. I like expecting the best but there are times when my expectations are unrealistic and put pressure on people. And they don’t even know it! Great reminder.

    • stephaniewp | 4th Sep 17

      I can agree with all of that also. My own expectations of other actions, reactions, and feelings of others have often caused me disappointment in my life.

  31. Phil Taylor | 2nd Sep 17

    Absolutely excellent post! I’ve always loved that Carrie Fisher quote. This post should be part of some manual for life.

    • stephaniewp | 4th Sep 17

      Thanks! I think it is a chapter from my own personal manual of life.

  32. fancypaperblog | 2nd Sep 17

    I have saved the Carrier Fisher quote from reading this post before- such a clever statement. Resentment gives you nothing good.

  33. Lisa Orchard | 2nd Sep 17

    Great tips! Thanks for sharing with all of us!

  34. Forrest Harter | 2nd Sep 17

    … and call poison control… via prayer…

  35. Daphne DuMariner. | 2nd Sep 17

    Lately I’ve realised I judge myself for the negative feelings I have. “I shouldn’t feel this” “I shouldn’t feel that” and in judging I shut down those feelings. I push them aside only for them to burst out at a later date, hurting others in the process.
    So now, I try to actively sit with how I feel. Sometimes I am resentful. But I feel it. I accept. And I don’t judge myself. I don’t analyse. I let my thoughts flow, and in this state the feelings wash over me and away.
    I’m a pretty broken individual, so I’m trying everyday to let go.

    • stephaniewp | 4th Sep 17

      I think the biggest help for me in dealing with the same kind of feelings has been learning to be gentle with myself. As strange as it may sound beings your own best friend has helped with this more than anything. I hope you can practice gentleness with yourself also. It helps a lot!

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