The Purpose of Resentments

Good morning! I hope today is a pleasant day for you. I was affected by three search terms this morning: why is it important to respect rights of others, what purpose do resentments serve, and how does compassion help. Wow. Three very important issue and I’d like to address all three today.

Let’s start with why is it important to respect rights of others? In a nutshell, my response to that question is because it is the considerate, kind, and appropriate way to treat others. We each, in my opinion, have the right as people to be treated as if we matter, to have our rights as people  treated with respect, to be respected for who and what we are. That is, unless we are harming others, and that I don’t respect.

But consider this, if we want our rights respected, we need to offer it to others first. Then it will come back to us. When we respect another’s rights, they thrive and grow, becoming all they can be. For example, my rights to have a safe and happy home, to be treated as a valuable being, were not respected while I was growing up. As a result, as an adult I had great difficulty being myself, let alone growing into my greatness. It was only after learning to respect myself that I overcame that early treatment and have been able to grow.

The rights we each have, in my opinion, are to be treated as valuable human beings, worthy of consideration and kindness. We have the right to be in safe environments, rather than ones in which physical, verbal, sexual, or emotional abuse are present. Consider that you want your rights to be respected and, therefore, you need to respect another’s rights for that respect to be returned to you.

Let’s look now at the purpose of resentments. In my case, my resentments served the purpose of keeping me a very closed and self-centered person, seeking attention in the form of pity. My resentments gave me something to spend my energy on. It gave me the free license to be critical and demeaning toward others.

Perhaps the most important role that resentments play for us is allowing us to avoid being responsible and accountable for ourselves. We place the blame for our woes or failures on another and that takes the attention and the heat off of us. After all, it is difficult to look at and own our own behavior, especially when it is poor behavior. This is the only benefit to keeping resentments and, in my experience, when cleared of them, I experienced great freedom and peace.

How does compassion help? Well, for me, compassion was the precursor to forgiveness. Compassion softens everything, allows us to see others as humans – fallible. Often, we can see our own behavior being played out by another, and that leads to compassion not only for the other, but for ourselves as well. Yes, compassion is a softening emotion, easily practiced when we look at our own foibles and bad behavior.

How does compassion help you? And do resentments serve a purpose for you? How about respecting the rights of others… what do you see as another’s rights? Leave a comment and let us know.


Finding Compassion in Sobriety and Sobriety in Compassion

Very interesting the search terms that were used yesterday to find my site. Two of ten known ones were about how to show compassion and six of the ten were about sobriety. I was planning on continuing today with compassion, so that’s why it’s interesting what showed up in the results.

Over half counted were interested in sobriety, so I will include sobriety in my discussion… I am always happy to talk about sobriety because it is such an awesome addition to the journey.

Compassion is another one of the actions you can take that will help to push open the gates of your heart. That compassion, once you learn how to do it, is needed for both others and yourself. It’s a double -laned highway on the way to forgiveness. Through forgiveness, you will find peace. I am jumping ahead. Let me refocus…

As you develop new ways to be in the world for others and yourself, consider adding compassion to the tools you use to promote peace within. I found I had no clue what compassion was nor how to show it until I was a few years into sobriety.  At some point, I began to notice the wonderful feeling of goodwill I had toward others, where my heart went out to them in a truly genuine way.

Without sobriety, I was too into myself… my fears, my ego, myself. I was too busy feeling sorry for myself to be much concerned with what was going on with you. I am talking about concern that was more than superficial. I am talking about concern that makes me want to hear more of your plight, in an effort to determine how I can be of service to you.

This same concern for others that I show has to be shown to myself, also, in order for me to stay sober and to find more peace in my life. The same is true for you. You have to start learning to show yourself compassion in situations, for example, where you behaved badly because of some wound that was touched, some chord that was struck.

In that situation, if you can recognize that you were a wounded person in the moment you erred, needing some love and understanding, triggered to return to an original wound, then you can offer yourself compassion. Even, especially, offer yourself compassion for the ways in which you err against yourself with your negative self-talk, the criticisms, and beating-yourself-up.

This is virtually impossible to do if you are drinking and drugging, which is why sobriety becomes so important. You see, once you realize you have a wound that needs to be healed, the pain from that wound is exposed to the light and the pain may be intense. You want to deaden that pain, and perhaps use substances to do so.

But deadening the pain only prolongs the process you need to go through to heal and get to the other side of your angst. I experienced many times, again and again, that by exposing my pain and being willing to look at it, and to feel it, that it dissipated, resolved. I’m not saying the pain wasn’t excruciating at times, because it was and I wanted desperately to drink or dull the pain in some way or another.

Yet, my sobriety was my number one concern and I did not want to go back to the horror of my last several months of drinking. I did a LOT of journalling, brisk walking, and attending meetings of my support group. I did that for the first year and a half of sobriety. It helped. I also had a CD of soothing music, classical banjo and guitar, and I played it non-stop in the evening and night to soothe me.

I was showing myself compassion at the time, but didn’t know it as such.

You, too, can begin to become aware of how to treat yourself and your wounds, with great compassion. It will add to your sobriety, and your sobriety will add to your ability to show compassion to yourself. It feels really good. I invite you to try it for yourself.