Finger-pointing no more — and setting ourselves free from resentment once and for all
Admit it. There’s probably some morsel of resentment that you’re holding onto that you can’t seem to let go of. You might even keep it tucked away, but stubbornly maintain a firm grasp upon it — all the while telling yourself you deserve to. It usually comes in the form of something another has done to us. Well, there goes our power. Just think of how easily we give our autonomy to another. That’s the back-handed gift of resentment.
When I share the story of my personal journey through a very dark period in my life, it includes many things: deceit, betrayal, deep fear, confusion, shame, gut-wrenching heartbreak, loss (yeah, I pretty much covered a lot of ground)…oh, and it includes the person who I blame that all on and was basically responsible for it all (well, at least that was how I saw it for many years).
Clearly, that reads a bit absurd, right? But in reality it’s how many of us think. It’s how we process pain. It’s how we carry grudges, resentments and justifications for our feelings, our situations and circumstances.
However, I learned the hard, long, uphill way that, as Wayne Dyer says, there simply are no justified resentments — none, nada, never.
Party pooper, what fun is that — trust me, I know how much fun some good ol’ resentment can feel. It feeds our smug, inner self-righteousness a grand buffet.
These are not just fluffy self-empowerment words, these are truths. Just ask yourself, has any resentment you’ve ever held onto empowered or helped you in any way? I seriously doubt it.
So, why do we do it?
Well for me, honestly, I didn’t know better. I didn’t have the tools I have today and was simply responding to my knee-jerk, flight or fight responses. Emotions were in the cockpit. And while I always preach how we have to feel feelings…we also need to have a few tricks up our sleeve to lean on to support those feelings.
Some of us gather strategies and learn the hard way, and maybe for some its more intuitive. That said, we are where we are at any given time…and I believe those experiences have much to gift us. I don’t like learning the hard way anymore than the next person, but it’s simply the way things go down, particularly when we refuse to see the writing on the wall. That blind spot creates repeat patterns and behaviors.
Look, I get it — action/reaction. Something happens to us, we respond to those events and let our emotions take flight. We certainly need to feel our feelings and find a way to heal our wounding — but one thing I have learned for sure is that giving the wound any justification only helps perpetuate more of the same.
The only way to break patterns is to see them. Aaaaah, you again.
It usually appears in the form of triggers. What’s yours? For me, it’s money. If I feel any anxiety in that department I can tumult into my default…tracing it alllll the way back and blaming it upon a previous situation.
Remember, YOU are the common denominator in your life. The people, events and circumstances have been brought forth because…well, you needed them. I hope you can see that. I don’t subscribe to knowing why all ‘bad’ things happen, but I do know each one has lead me to a deeper, richer more content, authentic self (eventually).
When I first began the great healing journey of my own life, I thought it was about making peace with everyone I was in conflict with or anyone I felt resentment towards. But this wasn’t an external journey — it was an internal one. I couldn’t let go of my resentment until I let go of making it about anyone else but me.
We can’t control the behavior of others. But we can stop resenting them. We can stop giving them our power. We can also allow ourselves to walk away from having any relationship with them.
Resentment tricks us into believing that it is salve for our wounds, a quick hit of relief. And yet, in fact, it glues us to our pain. Resentment tells us that the story is about others, and can make us feel like the ‘good cop’ or holier than thou — but that’s only part of the story. Stories are meant to be rewritten and resentment is something that can be edited from the equation.
Sometimes we don’t even realize we are doing it. And like a slow leak, it eventually drains us. We can resent others for what they’ve done to us or even from afar for what they have or have achieved that we haven’t.
Start by asking yourself a few simple questions:
- Does your source of pain connect to another person?
- Do you tell yourself you are justified in feeling betrayed, angry, upset as a result of another’s actions?
- Are you in charge of your own emotions?
Find a way out of that version of the story; try a bit of rewriting:
- I choose to reclaim my power
- I am obligated to myself; to the caring, nurturing and honoring of self
- I am safe to feel the fullness of my experiences in the context of knowing that I am now in charge
- My emotions are not dependent upon another
- History doesn’t repeat itself unless I allow it to
Your resentment-free self is joyous, whimsical and delighted. It is your natural state of being. We just have to clear the gunk out of the way and find our way home. The more we practice that, the quicker we rebound when we stumble — and we will. But hey, that’s life and it’s a ride.
I’m working to restrict the resentment and excavate any lingering bits that have taken up residency within my being. It is my desire to fill those spaces with energy that serves my best self. They don’t call it a work in progress for nothing.
Gift yourself some excavation. Rid yourself of toxic energy, thoughts and untruths. At the end of the day, it’s not that complicated. You know what feels right, what doesn’t feel right. Move in the direction of what’s right for your best self YOU. A pivot is just one decision away — a decision to do things differently (and resentment-free). You want in?
As always, I LOVE hearing from you. How do you navigate the tricky waters of resentment? Where are your hiccups and how do you reroute? Share in the comments, it takes a resentment free village!