We’re in an age in which anger seems a dominant emotion. Resentments can linger for a lifetime. Those grinding and gnawing feelings associated with resentment never seem to resolve themselves.
Let’s do some “unpacking” and take a closer look at some of our resentments. Starting with a few key questions:
1. How much is your worth being defined by the other person who is causing distress? Does this carry more weight than the way you define your worth?
2. Have you expressed hurt or pain over hurtful events that occurred, leaving a festering pain? Are you afraid to express important vulnerable feelings about these events for fear of being further injured?
3. Do you value your precious heartfelt vulnerable feelings, such as pain or fear or loneliness?
4. Do you have expectations of the other person that are not being met? What are they? What do you imagine would be helpful?
5. Have you considered that some people do not have the capacity to meet your expectations? Why? Perhaps they carry a belief that if they apologize or admit their faults, this would be a weakness rather than a strength.
6. Why do some people carry this belief? Often because in their distant past their vulnerability was exploited by a parent or another person they trusted. Instead of developing into a more mature way of being in the world — recognizing that that they now have control over who hurts them now and who doesn’t — they are emotionally scarred and paralyzed with old trauma, unable to mobilize a wider range of emotions and perceptions. As a result they remain emotionally trapped.
7. Some childhood wounds last a lifetime, especially when they remain unexamined and never processed with compassionate understanding. Rather than grow and mature, many adults remain paralyzed, defining their worth and therefore the worth of others in emotionally and psychologically crippled or limited ways.
When holding on to your resentments here are a few important things to remember:
A) Your feelings matter. If they don’t matter to the person you want them to, remember that that person may well be emotionally “stuck” — not mature enough to see or hear you. Resentments are often about wanting someone to be something that they are not … and may never be.
B) The best course of action in these instances — rather than to continue being trapped in grinding resentments and anger — is to express your sadness and hurt and longings. To value these parts of who you are.
Express your feelings to those who are mature and who do care. Allow yourself to be defined by the breadth of your emotional and mental awareness, not the limitations of another.
You may be surprised that over time you become less tense, more compassionate with yourself. Those old resentments may loosen their tenacious grip over time.
Allow yourself and others who are loving to reflect your true worth, instead of waiting for those who are not capable.