So you’ve had a fight with your other half, been turned down for a promotion at work, felt like you’ve been given the shaft by a friend…and now you’re feeling icky. This yuck feeling quickly morphs into frustration, anger, and worst of all – resentment. Although frustration and anger can be difficult ones to work through, that monster of resentment can often be the one that sticks to us like that wad of gum that someone has carelessly left for our shoes on the sidewalk. Try as we might, that unwelcomed guest just won’t leave, causing those feelings of resentment to chain us down holding us a prisoner in our emotional house.
What is this thing, though, that takes such a strong hold on us? Resentment is often the grandkid of fear, hurt, disappointment, shame, and invalidation. These primary negative feelings lead to anger and frustration which, if left unattended, will give rise to that beast of resentment. It can slowly fill your whole being causing you to become combative, irritable, avoidant, and calloused. The laughter and joy that was once experienced is replaced by pessimism and an expectation of additional yuck.
Resentment is just like other defenses (avoidance, denial, “lashing out”, etc.) in that it’s our brain’s way of protecting ourselves from experiencing the hurt, pain, disappointment, and sadness. It’s become an additional picket in the fence that blocks our authentic self from being able to see that big ball of yuck in our brain that we just don’t know what to do with. Unfortunately, the harder we work to try and not acknowledge that yuck, the more power we give to those negative emotions and memories. I want you to hear me say, though, that your power can be reclaimed and that lost joy and laughter can be brought back to life.
As comfortable and easy as it may feel to avoid that negative “ick”, we’ve got to address this monster if we ever hope to release it. Reach in and grab ahold of those claws that have embedded themselves into you. Have that conversation with yourself and figure out where this resentment is stemming from. Were you wronged by someone? Did you wrong someone else? Truly ask yourself where these negative feelings came from then take action on them. In previous blogs, I’ve written about effective communication and saying “I’m sorry”. Have a genuine conversation with that person who’s done you wrong; share your true feelings and release that tension that’s been building up inside. “I felt dismissed and saddened when you didn’t acknowledge that I was having a rough day” can be a really hard thing to say. By allowing these words to be verbalized, we’re stripping ourselves of our battle armor and permitting our authentic selves to be seen. Through this authenticity, though, we’re able to begin the healing process and relieve ourselves of that negativity that has been slowly eating us up inside.
I would never, and will never tell another individual to ‘get over it’. Rather, we need to practice the skill of releasing the pain, hurt, and yuck. Working through this stuff is rough and requires intense patience and self-love but the payoff far is well worth it. By setting that monster of resentment free, we’re able to reclaim our power and refill that space with the joy and laughter that we’ve missed. Life and relationships are meant to be loved and enjoyed; you have the power within you to make a change and to embrace that love and happiness.