Resentment

I can't really pinpoint why I chose such a topic for the month of November, the month in which we celebrate Thanksgiving, other than because it seems to be presenting itself to me. Perhaps it had something to do with this "Fall" season- witnessing how nature softly lets go of that which is no longer needed, in order to make room for that which is. Not that I am feeling resentful- actually quite the opposite, but just some really good thoughts about how to release it and let it go. It seemed a worthy enough topic to write about, so hopefully you will be entertained.

Resentment, also called ranklement ( I have a vague memory of hearing "that rankles my bones" but spell check didn't recognize the word!), is the experience of a negative emotion, anger or hatred for instance, which is felt as a result of a real or imagined wrong which was done to the person experiencing it. The origin of the word stems from the French "ressentir" re- the intensive prefix, and sentir- "to feel". So, in other words, is means the act of feeling. I would almost go so far as to break it down this way re-sent-ment with re meaning over and over, sent meaning feeling, and ment meaning the act of. So the act of feeling a negative feeling over and over again. Just for fun I tried to locate an antonym for resentment, but couldn't really find a good one. That is an interesting comment on our present culture. Why do we not have a term for the act of reliving positive emotions again and again? I guess we just refer to these kinds of feelings as fond memories. How about Pleasentment? Seems to me like it would be time better spent, but I digress.

The thing which I find so interesting about resentment is that it largely lives in the mind, and serves no purpose whatsoever except to prevent healing and growth. It is a masochistic behavior, a self flagellation of sorts. And oftentimes it is all for naught. For example, we might be at the supermarket and see a friend. We wave hello from across the potato display, and the friend stares off into space never acknowledging our greeting. Our ego gets wounded and we might vow never to wave hello in the produce section again. What possible good can come of giving a scenario like this a second thought? Perhaps that person had other things on their mind- in other words, their reaction, or lack of a reaction, was more about them than it was about us. Seems simple enough, but I am amazed by how often ego gets involved in order to evolve a little grievance into relived anxiety.

Of course there are times when we do get wronged by another, and it is intentional. We get rejected, or are deliberately embarrassed, or belittled by another. Perhaps by a superior at work or a close family member. It can leave us feeling hurt, betrayed and, well, resentful. When our resentment is unresolved, it can result in a variety of negative manifestations such as touchiness or edginess when thinking of the person resented. Long-term effects such as the development of a hostile, cynical attitude can damage otherwise healthy relationships by cutting off future communications thus creating more resentment. It brings to mind the saying, "Not forgiving is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die." Silly isn't it? Resentment doesn't have any direct negative effects on the person resented, save for the deterioration of the relationship involved. It is much more damaging to the person holding the resentment.And the longer it is held, the heavier it becomes.

Try this little experiment- hold a glass of water in front of you for one minute. Not so hard. Keep it there for two, three, 10 , 30 minutes. Though it is the same glass of water, the simple task of holding it becomes daunting. We aren't meant to hold our water glasses in front of us for 30 minutes. So why should we hold onto our resentments for 30 years? Do we think that by holding on to our resentments we are somehow proving our point? Or protecting ourselves from future hurt? Perhaps. But are we? Certainly not.

Resentment is considered to be synonymous with anger and spite, but aside from sharing similar facial expressions, resentment and anger differ primarily in the way they are outwardly expressed. Anger can result in aggressive behavior used to divert or deal directly with a threat, while resentment occurs once the injury has been dealt with and is not expressed as aggressively or as openly.

Resentment and spite also differ primarily in the way they are expressed. Resentment is unique in that it is almost exclusively internalized where it continues to cause pain to the one holding the resentment, but not to the person resented. By contrast, spite is exclusively externalized, involving vindictive actions against the source of the wrong. Spiteful actions can stem from resentful feelings, however. Well at least according to Wikipedia.

So what can we do to rid ourselves from this damaging emotion? Psychologist James J. Messina recommends five steps to facing and resolving resentful feelings.

1) Identify the source of the resentful feelings and what exactly it is that the person did to evoke these feelings.

2) Develop a new way of looking at past, present,and future life including how resentment has affected our life and how letting go of resentment can improve our future.

3) Write a letter to the source of the resentment, listing all of the offenses in detail and explaining the circumstances, then forgive and let go of the offenses ( but do not send the letter!)

4) Visualize a future without the negative impact of resentment, and,

5) If resentful feelings still linger, return to step 1 and begin again.

I would add one more step:

6) Get an unbiased opinion as to whether or not you are even justified in feeling resentful- sometimes, just hearing another reasonable perspective is enough to snuff out the destructive feeling and see the situation in a more positive light.

So that's pretty much it. Everyday is a new day. Start fresh, let go of all the old negative thoughts. If you are going to ruminate, focus of feelings of love, hope, humor, wisdom, and gratitude. It will work wonders on your attitude. After all, we cannot change what was, or even what is, we can only work to mold what will be into what we want it to be. That's it!

 

Happy Thanksgiving!!

 

More Quotes Because I Love Them So Much!

The most important thing in this world is to learn to give out love, and let it come in.

-Morrie Schwartz

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Love is saying, "I feel differently" instead of "you're wrong."

-Unknown

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Beware of the half truth. You may have gotten hold of the wrong half.

-Unknown

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Never apologize for showing feelings. When you do so, you apologize for the truth.

-Benjamin Disraeli

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The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.

-Mahatma Gandhi

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Some people think it's holding that makes one strong- sometimes it's letting go.

-Unknown

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I know but one freedom and that is the freedom of the mind.

-Antoine de Saint-Exupery

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If you are patient in one moment of anger, you will escape one hundred days of sorrow.

-Chinese Proverb

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Everything that irritates us about others can lead us to a better understanding of ourselves.

-Carl Jung

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You cannot make yourself feel something you do not feel, but you can make yourself do right in spite of your feelings.

-Pearl S. Buck

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If you let go a little, you will have a little peace. If you let go a lot, you will have a lot of peace.

-Ajahn Chah

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The greatest obstacle to connecting with our joy is resentment.

-Pema Chodron

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You will not be punished for your anger, you will be punished by your anger.

-Buddha

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Hope is the feeling that the feeling you have isn't permanent.

-Joan Kerr

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Complaining is silly. Either act or forget.

-Stefan Sagmeister

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Every sixty seconds you spend angry, upset or mad, is a full minute of happiness you'll never get back.

-Unknown

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The biggest problem for humanity, not only on a global level, but even for individuals, is misunderstanding.

-Rinpoche

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Do not give your attention to what others do or fail to do; give it to what you do or fail to do.

-Dhammapada

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Remembering a wrong is like carrying a burden on the mind.

-Buddha

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Never ruin an apology with an excuse.

-Kimberly Howard

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The smallest act of kindness is worth more than the grandest intention.

-Oscar Wilde

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When you judge another, you do not define them. You define yourself.

-Wayne Dyer

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Don't wait for people to be friendly. Show them how.

-Unknown

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Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.

-Plato

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No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted.

-Aesop

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Always be mindful of the kindness and not the thoughts of others,

-Buddha

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When deeds and words are in accord, the whole world is transformed.

-Chuang Tzu

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If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion.

-Dalai Lama

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Be nice to people on your way up because you'll meet them on your way down.

-Wilson Mizner

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When there is no enemy within, the enemies outside cannot hurt you.

-African Proverb

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Next Post date: December 5, 2011
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November 7, 2011

Quotes:

Joy is what happens to us when we allow ourselves to recognize how good things really are.

- Marianne Williamson

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The best things in life are unexpected, because there were no expectations.

- Eli Khamarov

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Not what we have but what we enjoy constitutes our abundance.

- John Petit-Senn

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Prosperity depends more on wanting what you have than having what you want.

-Shakti Gawain

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Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates vision for tomorrow.

- Melody Beattie

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Appreciation is an excellent thing. It makes what is excellent in others belong to us as well.

-Voltaire

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When you realize there is nothing lacking, the whole world belongs to you.

-Lao Tzu

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To be upset over what you don't have is to waste what you do have.

-Ken S. Keyes, Jr.

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There are exactly as many special occasions in life as we choose to celebrate.

-Robert Brault

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Happiness cannot be traveled to, won, earned, worn or consumed. Happiness is the spiritual experience of living every minute with love, grace and gratitude.

-Denis Waitley

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Happiness is in itself a kind of gratitude.

-Joseph Wood Krutch

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Be thankful when you don't know something for it gives you the opportunity to learn.

- Unknown

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As long as you make an identity for yourself out of pain, you cannot be free of it.

-Eckhart Tolle

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Remember that sometimes not getting what you want is a wonderful stroke of luck.

-Dalai Lama

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Instead of complaining that the rose bush is full of thorns, be happy the thorn bush has roses.

-Proverb

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The greatest mistake you can make in life is to be continually fearing you will make one.

-Elbert Hubbard

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Let yourself be open and life will be easier. A spoon of salt in a glass of water makes the water undrinkable. A spoon of salt in a lake is almost unnoticed.

-Buddha

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Have respect for yourself, and patience and compassion. With these, you can handle anything.

-Jack Kornfield

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When you live on a round planet, there's no choosing sides.

-Wayne Dyer

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Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it.

-Charles Swindoll

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The past has no power to stop you from being present now. Only your grievance about the past can do that.

-Eckhart Tolle

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If you don't like something change it; if you can't change it, change the way you think about it.

-Mary Engelbreit

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Turn your face toward the sun and the shadows will fall behind you.

-Maori Proverb

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You may be deceived if you trust too much, but you will live in torment if you don't trust enough.

-Frank Crane

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If we learn to open our hearts, anyone, including the people who drive us crazy, can be our teacher.

-Pema Chodron

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Sometimes your joy is the source of your smile, but sometimes your smile can be the source of your joy.

-Thich Nhat Hanh

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What we see is mainly what we look for.

-Unknown

Peace of mind is not the absence of conflict from life, but the ability to cope with it.

-Unknown

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If you spend your whole life waiting for the storm, you'll never enjoy the sunshine.

-Morris West

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