“We cannot move our lives forward with the excess baggage of hurt and anger weighing us down. Some of us are still mad at old lovers, former teachers, and folks from third grade who did us wrong. . . . When we have painful memories from hurting experiences, we may feel justified in holding on to the resentment. But resentment is corrosive. It doesn’t affect the person we feel anger toward, it destroys the host.” ~ Susan L. Taylor, Lessons in Living …
The happiness we find in life is dependent primarily on our attitudes and our thoughts. If we consistently harbor negative ones, our happiness will be minimal or fleeting. Therefore, it is of the utmost importance always to remember that whatever we keep in our minds affects us deeply. If we hold on to feelings of jealousy or resentment, not only are we the cause of our suffering but we essentially are suffering needlessly–rarely do the thoughts of resentment and anger we harbor within have any effect at all on the individuals with whom we are resentful or angry, even if we fool ourselves into thinking they do.
Resentment and anger are corrosive and destructive emotions. They take our focus off the countless blessings we have to be grateful in our lives and direct it instead towards our negative feelings and emotions and things of the past. This prevents us from living our lives in the present moment, from fully immersing ourselves in this life. Resentment is our pride and ego controlling our experience in life–telling us that we have been hurt and therefore should dwell on that hurt. But doing so does not help us or make our lives any better, it just holds us prisoner to the negative feelings and thoughts in our lives.
The truth is that we all have to deal with hurtful experiences in life. Often times we are able to deal with them–to overcome them and then move on without letting our minds dwell on the negative things that others might have said or did. But when we are unable to, we hold ourselves hostage to our own ego–that self-righteous voice within that tells us that our feelings are healthy and justified even though they are damaging and poisoning us.
Harboring resentment or anger is like trying to sail our ships with the anchors dropped–we are not going to make it far and we are not going to experience much of life. And the only way forward is to let it all go–to acknowledge the hurt and the pain we feel, and then let it take its place in our past where it belongs. Because as long as we keep it alive and allow it to interfere with our present–giving others power over us and allowing their words or actions to negatively affect us–we will continue to sabotage our happiness in life.
Let go of the past resentments you hold others.
Questions to consider:
Why is it so easy to feel resentment? What part does your ego play in telling you that it is okay to feel it?
What does Susan mean when she says that resentment “destroys the host?”
What are some strategies for letting go of resentment completely and moving on with your life?
For further thought:
“Anger, resentment, and jealousy doesn’t change the heart of others–it only changes yours.” ~ Shannon Alder, 300 Questions to Ask Your Parents Before It’s Too Late