Thursday, March 10, 2011


Resentment is like punching yourself in the stomach when you are really angry with someone else. In other words, useless. It's better to take the time to figure out what is driving the resentment, for there is always something bigger going on, and get to the root of why the other person's behaviour drives you up the wall. I'm finally understanding that I can't fix what other people do. I can only manage my reaction to it.

If I want to be kind and loving, I must choose actions which support that. It's not easy to choose these things; the simpler path is to be angry and hurt. After a time period of feeling those emotions, it's good to move past them to a more solid place, where you can understand that the other person hurts the same as you do, and hopefully extend grace instead of judgement to them.

I don't think it's possible to be forgiving when you are angry. I got hung up here for many years because I was afraid to let my anger out. The intensity of those feelings can be overwhelming and scary, but I'm learning that when the anger blows through, peace comes in a way that I was inadvertently preventing before. Anger is about externalizing your feelings, where sadness is an internal process. I almost always turned my anger into sadness before, but they are not the same emotions and should be treated as different.

I sought out counseling in order to manage my rage, because I kept stuffing it down and not letting it out. I found permission from my psychologist to be angry, and she helped me see that I wouldn't have to stay in that uncomfortable place. It was true. When the anger bubbled up, it accomplished its own purpose and then went away, leaving me exhausted and tired but strangely exhilarated. I didn't turn into a miserable and mean old hag because I felt anger. And when the storm had passed, I could look more honestly at the resentment that provided the long-burning kindling for the anger, and examine why I resented certain people.

Looking at it without having to mask my fury was an interesting process. I felt calmer, and a little more giving, and was able to recognize that I am not responsible for the choices that these people have made. I am only responsible for my own. Others can choose any path or emotions or actions that they wish, and they must live with the fall-out, so why should I get my knickers in a knot over their decisions and relationships?

In examining it with a cool head, I could find the distance I had been needing but was unable to manufacture before. It was like taking a pair of sharp scissors and cutting a cord that had previously run between me and the person I was resenting. I freed myself from them with one simple snip, and it felt great. Now I can go about my life without being emotionally activated when my path crosses with theirs, and they can go about their life as they please without their choices affecting me. I wish I had done this years ago.

Wishing I could change the past is about as useless as punching myself in the stomach, and I want to move forward on this path of renewed boundaries expressing themselves through love and grace, and not waste time on all of the many things I can't control. I can control myself, and my reaction to others, and I can enforce my boundaries and not waste time and energy on guilt that doesn't serve any purpose except for churning me up inside. I can spend the time I used to waste resenting others on learning how to be authentically myself, and being kind instead of mean, and forgiving instead of holding grudges and punishing others.


  1. This was a very timely topic for me. Thank you!

  2. Thanks for reading, Pamela! I'm so glad you found something useful in this post.