"the feeling of displeasure or indignation at some act, remark, person, etc., regarded as causing injury or insult."
Resentment is so common amongst we humans that it mostly goes under the radar of consciousness. It seems like such a natural thing. Simply a part of life you might say.
But take another look. It really is madness.
Here is a common story. A man I know began a serious relationship with a woman a few years after his divorce. They eventually married, the second for both of them. This can be hard on children from the first marriage. After seven years into the second and wonderful marriage, it came to light that one of the daughters of the first marriage had been holding deep resentment of the new wife for a full seven years.
Again, in the complex world of relationships you may say, "Oh well, that’s to be expected". Perhaps. But does it have to be inevitable?
If you reread the first part of the definition of resentment, "the feeling of displeasure or indignation…" and begin to break down the dynamics of resentment, an important truth can come to light. While the displeasure is aimed outward at the person "…regarded as causing injury or insult", who is actually experiencing the displeasure or indignation? In the case of the daughter in the story, she carried the negative feelings within her for seven full years. Seven years of toxic thoughts and feelings. Yikes!
Let’s bring that rascal the egoic mind back in. The ego delights in judging others to be wrong. In the story above, the daughter’s ego aimed its judgement at the new wife. The daughter never even expressed her resentment (judgement) to her Dad or his wife. The thoughts and feelings of displeasure all occurred within her own living environment.
So who suffered? The daughter did! The unnerving part is that our own egos don’t seem to care that the pain caused is actually inflicted on its own hosting human. And we humans are so used to this egoic dynamic that we don’t even realize that our own egos are doing this to ourselves (in the guise of aiming the resentment outward).
So at the very least, WIIFM (What’s In It For Me?) to use our EQ to become self-aware of the resentment and self-manage those resentful thoughts and feelings? Well, feeling better in the absence of resentment is a clearly positive outcome.
An additional relationship benefit of course is that if we have also been overtly expressing the resentment toward the person we accuse of the offending act, the cessation of that negativity will bring them more peace too. Win-Win.
What will aid in the clearing out of resentment from your system? Neutrally witnessing the negative thoughts and feelings through self-awareness is the key. Then unpack the contributing elements. Get a full understanding of what factually occurred and what you wanted to happen instead. Try putting yourself in the other person’s shoes. See if you might understand their intentions, their motivations; what was in it for them (WIIFT?) to do what they did? Try on some empathy for their situation. Even better, have a courageously truthful conversation with the other party. Communicate sensitively, coming from your higher wisdom and not from your judgmental, critical ego. See what clarity emerges between you two.
Note: Unfortunately, children (as used in the example) don’t have the developed skills described in the unpacking suggestions above. Thankfully, even as adults who began building resentment as children, we can access modalities such as Life Coaching, Counseling, Therapy, Hypnotherapy etc. to help us clear out the toxicity even decades after first forming the resentment.
Summary: Feeling the displeasure of resentment erodes our resilience. Feeling "better" in its absence boosts our resilience. A delightful no brainer.
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