The dictionary defines resentment as ‘the feeling of displeasure or indignation at someone or something regarded as causing injury or insult’. Feeling hurt, which is an internal sentiment, is what starts the cycle. Left unattended, the hurt is then expressed as anger, which is an outward response from hurt. If feelings of hurt and anger are left unaddressed, they infect the whole mind and body, causing more cycles of hurt and anger to flare up at the slightest perceived provocation. This systemic infection of unhealed hurt and anger is what spans out into what we call resentment.
Before we can be the heroes that reach out to our partners who are hurting, we must first start by healing our own resentment. Why you ask? Because the blind cannot lead the blind. If we’re full of anger-filled responses, we’ll only perpetuate it in our partners. Meeting anger with anger will only cause it to spin out and become even more imbedded. Remember anger is the secondary emotion. The primary emotion we feel is hurt, and at the cause of all hurt is fear or perceived threat. Start to unpack this fear and see what it’s about, follow it to its logical conclusion and challenge its validity, trusting your ability to be able to handle whatever comes your way.
The way we rid ourselves of resentment is by holding on to the core belief that we all do the best we can where we are; every last one of us. If we can make that our core belief, that however faulty our premise, however deep our pain, however raw our hurt, we are doing the best we can; if we believed this wholly, we would offer forgiveness fully and avoid resentment. We must understand that those that hurt us, their actions come from their own hurt places, their own broken places so let’s choose to release them and their actions so we’re not held hostage by resentment. More so because even we ourselves sometimes are not at a better place than they are.
Next, we must accept that the past is. The past is the past. Don’t believe in fatalism (accepting that all things and events are inevitable). It’s our human tendency to want to re-working our responsibility until we convince ourselves that things happened differently than they did. We tell the stories from our own advantage. But what’s happened has happened and we can’t re-work that history, we must accept it for what it is, and the part we played in it. It takes two to unravel things, whether by action or reaction. We must acknowledge our part, our role in the conflict, and take responsibility. So see your role in the unraveling and take ownership of that.
Doing this will help us accept that the other person is more innocent than we give them credit for. If we can depart from the core belief that we all do the best we can where we are, we will be building on the right foundation. We react like we do for ourselves, not to hurt the other person but just for ourselves; right or wrong these are our own defenses and our peculiar way of being in the world. This should help us understand that others respond from their own hurt and their own pain just like we do. So see the other person as innocent.
If we choose to see the other person as more innocent than we give them credit for, we will then learn to take nothing personally and allow it to be the other person’s issue and that it comes from their defenses. They are simply doing it for themselves and not to us or against us. We must guard against giving in to the illusion of power that comes with resentment us we’re only hurting ourselves and the ones we love.
We must choose to forgive and choose to let go as there is no payoff to be gained from naming, blaming and shaming. All it does is rob us of the connection which is the lifeblood of any healthy relationship. It also helps to understand that anger and resentment is habitual and addictive; if it’s allowed to run unchecked, it can and will ruin any good thing. The good news is that just like it is a learned behavior it can also be unlearned by changing our habitual reactions.
Remember that when we don’t resolve hurt or address anger it results in resentment which is the systemic expression of that residual anger building up until the whole system is completely infected. Start the healing with you. Tomorrow we’ll look at helping our partners release their resentment once we’ve taken care of ours. Cheers, Grey xoxo