I heard a quote once (not sure where it originated) that I thought sums up what resentment is, rather well. “It’s like swallowing poison expecting the other person to die.”
Ignoring resentment, pretending you don’t feel it, or trying to forget those feelings exist, doesn’t work at solving the situation. “Face, feel, deal, heal.” A process that may get worse before it gets better, requiring a great deal of willingness and an open mind. Easier said than done. It’s not an instant fix and you are embarking on a long and most likely painful journey.
It will require making lists of people you feel resentment for whether it be a place, people, situations. Even if there doesn’t seem to be a logical reason for your resentment – you don’t like their hair – it just has to be an honest assessment. Then examine the situation to find out what part of your life it touches on. A childhood incident in which you felt the same emotion and if so, is there a pattern? More importantly what was your response? Did you tell your boss that you required more time for the assignment because the time limit set was unreasonable? Or did you go along with it and work your butt off to meet the deadline while cursing the entire time, finding no joy or happiness in accomplishing the goal, thereby diminishing your achievement success and happiness?!
Left unresolved, resentment (although difficult but not impossible to overcome) can build into so much more – resentment fear and anger. Perceived slights leading to envy and jealousy that bloom into actions that can destroy everyone involved and or taint every encounter the rest of your life.
Throughout our lifetime we’ve all encountered situations or witnessed incidents that could have led to resentment. Often children build up resentment toward siblings over perceived offenses. One received something the other wanted or was blamed for something they didn’t do, ignoring the moments in time when they got away with things that were blamed on the other. It happens.
As a child in a classroom when it became very apparent that “so and so” was the teacher’s “pet” and received good grades without working for it, instead receiving a pat on the head because they were a family friend’s child or were scheduled to become a star on the baseball football or some other team.
When another pushes ahead and receives the reward (they won’t feel good about themselves or the results obtained) eventually it catches up and their feelings of worthlessness and uselessness can overwhelm them because deep in their heart of hearts, they know! They know they weren’t truly deserving of the accolades or whatever else was bestowed upon them.
If left to fester, resentment can lead to bitterness and a lifetime of perceived rebuffs that colour your world in negativity. Something to think about as you journey on down life’s path, a path too short and often bittersweet as is, without heaping on resentments.