Letting go of resentment
Have you ever resented anything? Anything at all? It’s a human emotion we all deal with at some time in our lives.
I was quite shy much of my young life and I certainly resented those who seemed so comfortable among large groups of people, especially strangers. Then there were those youth who always seemed cheerful when I felt my personal world was falling apart. I found that hard to deal with.
I resented the trips my classmates often took and would share about — places they went, people they saw. My family didn’t travel. Those classmates also seemed to have loving families where my parents argued much of the time. And then there was the quality of clothes and shoes they wore and talked about — where they were bought, the brand names and all. Many of mine were hand-me-downs from my older sister. So, as a youth, my resentment grew out of what they had and did and what I didn’t have and couldn’t do.
My family by no means lived in squalor, but each and every penny was accounted for. I was always neat and clean and Mom was a fine cook, creating from produce she grew in her garden and canned for winter. But there was a deep emotional lack where I was concerned, which caused me to question whether I was loved at all by either of my parents. And, of course, there were the money issues I inherited which, to some degree, are still present today.
In my young adult years, I began to resent the healthy father/daughter relationship many of my friends seemed to have, since I didn’t feel I had one at all with my own father. We barely spoke. When I was a child, he didn’t play with me or read to me or take me for a walk. So as an adult, there wasn’t any basis for sharing my hopes, my dreams, the goals I had forged in my mind and heart. Those opportunities for a bond to form as a child hadn’t happened. As an adult, I felt a wall had been constructed between us built on disappointment after disappointment and there was no going back to tear down that wall. It was very strong, having been built on the rock of continued experience and stubbornness and having grown to a hatred of my own father. Again, I was making a comparison of what others had and I didn’t.
It was 20 years before I was ready to begin to deal with the issues surrounding my father. I knew earlier in my life that it was dragging me down but I couldn’t imagine the time and energy it would take to broach the issue. So I shoved it to the back of my consciousness, as we do many times with unpleasantness. That allows us to survive for a time but eventually, it rears its ugly head and we need to deal with it. But 20 years is a long time to hold on to something. I don’t recommend it. And my father had passed on by then. So, how could any healing happen? I needed the right time and the right place. And it did happen. I began to deal with it all. But it was just the beginning … I noticed the change, gradually, over the following years.
Now I can finally say that when I think of my dad, I feel a warmth within me and it radiates outward. I guess you might call it love. And I even have come to understand him a little bit. He, himself, was an emotional person capable of great love but had no example growing up of how to express that love. Consequently, he kept the love he felt buried deep inside. For if you don’t let yourself feel the joys of love, you can’t feel the hurt that loving someone can also bring. And he’d experienced a lot of hurt in his relationship with his parents.
But it all made me realize that no matter how many things we accomplish in our lifetime, it doesn’t necessarily curb our resentments. Our accomplishments may, in fact, have nothing at all to do with how much or how often we feel resentment. So where does resentment come from?
In my case, it came from not feeling loved as a child along with a lack of the feeling of financial security and stability in the family. I was constantly comparing and coming up short. I was told over and over again that I couldn’t have or couldn’t go because we didn’t have the money. Therefore, certain clothes, shoes, or vacations weren’t for me. My interpretation was that, for whatever reason, I didn’t deserve them. And that had repercussions in and of itself.
But I have grown and what I’ve noticed in my later years is that I no longer resent other’s incomes or the amount of money they have. I still am amazed people have enough money to travel but I no longer resent that. And since I really don’t want to travel to far-away places, other people’s sharing about their vacation trips doesn’t bother me either because I have found the place where I am happiest. It’s right here in the mountains where I now live. My quality of life may seem less than some others’ by comparison, but its fine for me. It’s my life.
Mother Nature shows us her beauty every day as we struggle with our negative emotions. Let’s transition from our personal feelings of resentment to being grateful for her presence in our life and welcome the awakening of a more positive outlook. As we change our focus to thankfulness, insight will come as will the assurance of our well-being — as we are, where we are. And our resentments will just seem to fade away.
Look to Mother Nature.
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Debby Havas is an author living in Jay. Her writings describe her experiences in the healing energies of Mother Nature.