Let Go of Resentment
Maureen worked in an office with twenty other people, processing checks. She didn't particularly like her job, but she didn't particularly dislike it either. Getting ahead in her career wasn't important to her until the day that her friend and co-worker Betty was promoted to be the boss of the unit. Betty had not being doing the job as long as Maureen had, but Betty was always cheerful, hardworking and ambitious, where Maureen had been low-key and easy going.
Until Betty got the promotion, Maureen had been reasonable content at her work, even if she had not been outstandingly happy. But once Betty was made supervisor, Maureen began to fill up with resentment until she hated her job and hated Betty. Eventually she developed an ulcer because she was filled with anger all the time.
Maureen began to see Betty as the source of all her problems, and she failed to remember that she had not particularly wanted the promotion anyway. She just thought that it should be hers. Instead of examining herself to see what she really wanted out of life, and trying to figure out how she could get it, Maureen became focussed on her resentments.
Bill W, who was one of the original founders of the organization Alcoholics Anonymous, spent a lot of time focussing on the role that resentment played in people's lives.
Bill W wrote that perhaps an average person could afford to be resentful without causing too many problems, but he noticed that for a person who was an alcoholic and who wanted to learn how to create peace of mind, harboring resentment was a poison that could destroy lives and even drive recovering alcoholics back to drinking.
I'm sure that Bill W realized that a lot of average people have problems handling resentment as well, especially when they allow it to fester and grow.
One of the main problems with resentment is that in the short term, resentment can feel good. The anger you feel when you are resentful can energize you and seem to give you at least temporarily, a sense of purpose and drive.
The problems that resentment can cause usually show up later, when resentment becomes more than a short term emotional reaction to a real or imagined injustice. After a while, some people nurture their sense of resentment until it takes on a life of its own and seems to become a central focus in a person's life.
One of the major problems with resentment is that because it is directed outside of yourself, nursing resentment will keep you focussed on believing that your feelings of anger are entirely caused by some outward circumstance or outside person.
You stop taking responsibility for your own actions and feelings.
You stop looking for what you can do to improve your situation and you stop looking for the possibilities that remain open around you, because you decide that your negative feelings are someone else's fault. You stop trying to find real solutions to your problem.
You stop noticing and being grateful for what is actually good in your life.
If you decide that resentment is playing too big a role in your life, it's not always easy to change this habit. Most of the time you can't just decide to stop being resentful.
The first step is awareness. You need to notice and admit when you are feeling resentful, especially when you let it go on and on. You need to ask yourself if you are truly ready to be less resentful, and to look for ways that you can achieve real solutions in your life.
We can all find other people and other circumstances that we can blame for where we are in our lives, but once we make a habit of it, we stay stuck where we are. We need to move beyond blame and work on solutions.
Royane Real is the author of several self help books available at her website. Sign up for the free newsletter filled with self improvement ideas at www.royanereal.com">http://www.royanereal.com