Resentment is like carrying a huge rock around your neck, it hurts, it weighs you down, it’s futile. And it’s a very bitter pill to swallow when at first you realise that you have been carrying this rock around with you a very long time and it is the reason why life has never been what you think it ought to have been. That it is why many things that have happened in your life have happened, because the decisions you have made in life have always accommodated this damned heavy rock.
I woke this morning at 1 a.m. and this thought came to me. I recently saw the Dalai Lama (as written in a previous blog) and his talk was very heavy on the forgiveness aspect as well as love and compassion. And I came out of it feeling like I needed to forgive all the people that had hurt me in my life and all would be well. And that worked for a little while. But the component I did not think about because for a long time I did not recognise it, was that in order to forgive you need to let go of what is even more toxic and lasts much longer than anger; resentment.
It’s a poison, it’s insidious and it can make your life a misery and until you realise you have it and are living your life with it you are locked in a perpetual hell. It effects your ability to perform, your relationships, it skews your views on life and you will never truly be able to live a free life.
Psychology today describes it “Resentment refers to the mental process of repetitively replaying a feeling, and the events leading up to it, that goads or angers us. We don’t replay a cool litany of facts in resentment; we re-experience and relive them in ways that affect us emotionally, physiologically, and spiritually in very destructive ways…Although resentments may be provoked by recent, specific angry conflicts between two people, they usually encapsulate an enmity that goes much further back.”
I refer to my broken childhood regularly and this I have brought with me into an adulthood that never really quite hit the mark of my own expectation and is why I am constantly dissatisfied with my life. Resentment lifelong can be a contributor to depression because psychologically you have carried the poison around for so long it pervades your mind and way of thinking. Deep seated resentment makes you ill.
This is not something that is easy to admit, and I have to say when I first realised it in me there was a lot of denial and explaining away to myself why this may be.
No my childhood was not good, in fact it was very bad in many ways as previously spoken about. Many other shitty things have happened throughout my life including my eldest son being born with a life altering neurodegenerative disease (I have always resented the fact that it happened to him and us as a family) and most recently these issues with Joe. He may be a number of things including a narcissist but my failure to see things any other way but through a poisonous response such as resentment has been the biggest factor in why I am still mired months after I should be starting to regain some normalcy in my life.
Until you recognise it you cannot truly forgive, and forgiveness is freedom. I remember His Holiness the Dalai Lama was asked about forgiveness and his answer was basically; Forgiveness does not mean accepting the wrong doing of the other person. Retaining feelings of anger, hatred and stress do more harm to yourself than the act of forgiving.The real meaning of forgiveness is to mentally not develop feelings of anger and hatred due to the wrong action of others.
The very act of forgiving does not mean we have to agree with their behaviour in any way. In a simplified form and as I have said on many occasions there is a need to acknowledge and then let go. Only then can you diffuse the power of hurt and pain. But you also have to be honest with yourself.