“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 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.
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.
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.