“Resentment is like drinking poison and waiting for the other person to die.” ~ Carrie Fisher
“The worst resentment that anybody can have is one you feel justified to keep.” ~ Louis Gossett, Jr.
“When you blame, you open up a world of excuses, because as long as you’re looking outside, you miss the opportunity to look inside, and you continue to suffer.” ~ Donna Quesada
How much of your life’s garden is taken up by the thorny presence of resentment? Are you so overgrown that it’s painful for anyone to get close to you? Is it painful for you to even be with yourself?
Resentments are often expressed as gripes. You know those little snide remarks, the eye roll, the gossip, and the unexplained outburst at what seems like a small offence.
Gripes are a passive-aggressive way of communication. It’s a behind the back, negative pattern that leaks out sideways. What is the reason we sow these seeds? We martyr ourselves at the altar of victimhood. We get so wrapped up in being a victim we convince ourselves that our resentments justify our bad behavior.
How do you get released from this cycle and start sowing seeds of love and connection? By cultivatating clear, loving communication.
- Intentionally Catalogue Your Gripes
Becoming aware of your gripes allows you to effectively release them. So get a pen and paper and write them all down. All of them. Start writing and don’t stop until you are completely out of complaints.
Start in an easy place like your boss or your spouse and get all the way down to that teacher in college who gave you a bad grade that messed up your GPA. Record every annoying habit and every slight. Get it all out.
- Intentionally Connect With Your Underlying Feelings
Look over your list and one by one identify the feeling that sprouted that gripe. Usually it’s a version of fear, anger, or sadness. Uncovering your underlining feelings does two important things; it shows you that your gripes have 100% to do with you, it’s not the action but your perception of the action that spawned the resentment, and it helps clear those underlying feeling by acknowledging them.
- Intentionally Communicate
Once you are clear you can communicate in a way that connects and creates change. For example, if your husband has put on a few pounds recently and he plops down next to you on the couch to watch some TV and he has a bowl of Haagen Daz ice cream and you turn to him and say, “Really!?”, that is communicating from a place of resentment and judgment. Now I ask you, is there any good that will come of this exchange? Doesn’t it just create more hurt and resentment and probably make the initial situation worse?
Now if instead you were clear about your feelings and you responded with, “Honey, it makes me sad that you are not taking good care of your health”, how much different would that conversation be? How would that type of conversation shift the outcome?
When you clean up your inner landscape, clear out your judgments, and get to a place of openness then you can create the possibility for change. Without that you will continue to spin in place, letting resentment create more and more of what you don’t want.
And as always, if you want an extra pair of clippers to help you prune away all these thorns, I’m here to help.
Abundant Blessings from your Master Gardener,
Top Photo Credit: Thorns by Daniel R. Blume