Living in the Past with Resentment or Longing

Good morning! I hope you each are well this morning. Today, we will continue with living in the past, and will address living with resentment and longing for better days.

Let’s look at resentment first. Resentment is the reliving of an anger again and again, not letting go of it. In these cases where you are doing this, there is a key you can learn that will benefit you for the rest of your life; you can learn to forgive.

Forgiveness is a process; it doesn’t happen overnight, yet, when you get to a point of being ready to forgive, it quietly happens in the moment. There are some things to consider about how to forgive. First, see the other person as a wounded being, and feel compassion for their woundedness. From that place of compassion, forgive.

Second, learn to do a self-appraisal, look honestly at your negative behavior. Determine if you got the ball rolling or if you do the very thing for which you are resentful. In these cases, let go of your resentment; forgive and let it go. Apologize if it is indicated.

Third, accept that the other person is incapable of giving you what you want. For whatever reason, they cannot meet your expectations. Accept that about them and let it go; forgive. This brings up the issue of expectations. When you expect things from others, it is a set up to be disappointed and resentful when they do not meet those expectations. Watch for that, and try not to expect anything. Then, when good things happen, you can be surprised.

Let’s turn our attention to longing for the “good old days.” Many people spend a lot of time in the unproductive and sadness-producing activity of wishing things were like they used to be. They lament that those days are gone. The danger is that, when you do this, you are not living in the present moment where the gifts of life reside. You make yourself miserable.

It is nice to have fond memories of the past and to long for them to return is a danger signal to your happiness if you spend your time wishing things were different than they are in current day. Accept that those days are gone and instead of lamenting, choose to make today the best possible. Get involved in new activities to create more “good old days.”

Living in the past is non-productive, a waste of time and energy no matter what the reason. Visit the past for the purpose of healing from it and otherwise, don’t live in it. Learn to live in the moment.

How are you living in the past? Are you feeling guilty, resentful, or longing for days gone by? Take a look at those things and realize you are making yourself miserable. You have a choice to stop living in the past. Make it. : )

 

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Letting Go of Childhood Resentments Against Our Parents

Hello! I’m a little later than usual today. I tried to do a post this morning, and the computer kept freezing on me. So, I am back to try it again…

The issue of our letting go of resentments from our childhood, resentments against our parents, is a big topic that was searched for and I’d like to address it. I personally spent 38 years angry and bitter toward my folks because of my upbringing. Much of that time, I drown my sorrows in the bottle.

And all of the time, I blamed them for my woes, my emotional difficulties. I never realized it was my responsibility to straighten out my messed up psyche. Never even occurred to me. It was easier to blame them. Yes, I was a very bitter and angry person, but you’d never know it because I hid it from everyone, even myself.

But when drunk, the rage would raise its ugly head and I said some nasty things to the men in my lives. I used to yell at them that they were worthless, would never amount to anything. I realized I’d said this when I got sober at the age of 48 and I was doing a self-appraisal, looking at my actions and behaviors throughout my life.

Whoa, I was stopped short, and was devastated that I had denigrated their souls so badly! I realized I had repeated what I’d been told by my father nearly every day while growing up. I also realized that when I said that to the men, I didn’t mean it about them… I meant it about me. Oh, I felt horrible! I have since apologized to them for those words.

More to the point, I began to think, after a few days, gee, if I didn’t mean that the men in my life were worthless and actually said it because I felt it about me, was it possible my father didn’t mean it about me when he called me worthless, that he said it about himself? The answer to this was yes, it was possible he was, in his extreme frustration and anger, yelling at me but meaning he was worthless.

The world opened up the second I realized that. It brought me up short, with new information. I had a new angle to consider. I began to recall stories about the abuse he endured while he was growing up, and I began to realize he was doing to me what was done to him, just like I did to the men in my life what was done to me. This was very powerful to acknowledge.

I began to see myself as a wounded person, and looked with compassion. I recognized that my father was a wounded man also, and began to see him with compassion. Over time, as I considered him with compassion, I began to forgive him for the abuse of my childhood. My resentments began to melt away… over time… and I experienced the greatest freedom and peace I have ever known. To this day, I still experience it, and it has been eight years since I was able to forgive.

You, too, can experience that freedom, that peace, from your childhood resentments. First, take a look at yourself and see if you have ever repeated the behavior that was done to you by your parents. If you have, then you may get to compassion for yourself and them faster than if you haven’t. But it is still possible to find compassion, even if you haven’t repeated your parents’ behavior.

Consider them as wounded people at the time that they did what they did to you. Then, see them with compassion, just like you would see any wounded person. Revisit this compassion again and again, and over time, you may be able to forgive them and get past your childhood resentments.

Let us know if this process helps you by leaving a comment.

 

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What Are Resentments & How To Get Past Them

Good morning, all! I am having a slow morning getting started, as I am unwinding from a wonderful event I went to yesterday for aspiring speakers. I am slowly getting to my daily tasks, including this blog. : )

The search term I have chosen is “what are resentments,” and I have added “how to get past them.” Resentments are anger we hold against another about which we go over and over and over again in our mind. We stew about our resentments, turning them around and around. They keep us awake at night, as we seethe, and burn and churn inwardly. Often, we plot a revenge for the wrong done to us.

Resentments are deadly, especially to an alcoholic or addict like myself, as that is what we often used and abused about. They cause our health to suffer through raised blood pressure, heart disease, and increased incidences of cancer. They are bad news for us and rob us of any type of inner peace we seek.

So how do we get past resentments? We start by doing a self-appraisal. In that appraisal, we are looking over our actions and behaviors with the person we resent to see if we actually started the ball rolling on what has turned into a resentment for us. When we look at ourselves, we are honest, and we look for behavior to which the other person reacted in a normal, human way. i.e., we consider if we, ourselves, started the whole thing.

If we did, we need to own our behavior, admit our wrong-doing, and let go of the resentment. An apology may even be in order. We approach the other person humbly, without shame or groveling, nor defensive and abusive. We just simply state what we did, accepting the fact that we were acting in a human fashion.

If we were not responsible for setting the stage for our resentments, then we begin to look at the other person as being sick emotionally and spiritually, which they most likely are. We show compassion, just like we would for any sick person. We also try to understand what their experience(s) was that led them to act in the manner in which they did. Again, we can then see them with compassion.

With compassion comes forgiveness, and we offer them that forgiveness. This frees our heart and mind of our resentments.  We offer forgiveness, not to condone what was done to us, rather, to free ourselves emotionally.

What are the resentments you are currently experiencing? What steps have you taken to resolve them? Leave a comment and let us know.

And, if you are interested in dealing with your resentments, I invite you to attend my up-coming support group, Transform Into Forgiveness. This group will meet the 2nd and 4th Monday from 10 am to 11 am, starting February 11th, or the 2nd and 4th Thursday from 1:30 pm to 2:30 pm, starting Feb 14th. Both groups will meet at the Wells Fargo Bank in San Rafael, CA. 1203 4th Street, 2nd floor. 94901.

There is parking in the rear of the building, and a double door to go through, where you will find an elevator. Take it directly to the second floor. For more details and to register, please contact me at 415-883-8325 or email me at carolyncjjones@yahoo.com. Get past your resentments and experience inner peace like you have never experienced it.

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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.

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What Are Resentments?

Resentments are grudges or angers we hold against another or ourselves. They can be major or minor.

This is the start of my post yesterday, Thurs the 18th of October. Then, nothing came to me, and I decided to wait till the afternoon to write. I forgot… This morning got away from me and I had to leave for my volunteer job. My apologies for no post yesterday or earlier today. I hate to have you come here and not find a new post when that is what you’re looking for…

Many people carry huge resentments… years old. I did. I carried mine against my parents for 38 years, and fueled it with drinking and drugging. I was one wound-up, angry woman!  Provoke me and watch out… My husband got a lot of my wrath, and in all fairness to me, I must say he slung his mud my way, too, and many times that’s what I was reacting to. Mostly, I kept my mouth shut. All that did was build the resentment I had against him for his verbal abuse, and many other things. Life was filled with drama…

Is this a familiar story for you? Sound like your life with different circumstances, perhaps, but the same gist? How is your life working?

Maybe your resentments are smaller than a full-blown rage against Uncle Harry for something he did years ago. Maybe, it’s an issue in traffic, when someone cuts in front of you and then slows down to 5-10 miles under the speed limit. Do you do the slow burn in that situation? I do sometimes… Or how about the neighbor who plays loud music late at night… do you begin to momentarily resent those things?

The point is, we deal with even minor issues that lead us to generate resentments, which are things we go over and over and over again in our mind. If we have a momentary anger and were able to resolve it by taking action of some sort, that is not a resentment. The on-going thinking of the offense is what makes it a resentment.

What are we to do with these annoyances, these little things that get under our skin? Ah, there is relief. Let’s take the example of the driver who pulls out in front of us and then slows notably. This driver is oblivious, unconscious. Don’t you have to have compassion for someone who is so clueless in their life? I’m saying “in their life” because if, while performing a function in which one wants to be fully present, they are so absent, chances are they are like that in all areas of their life.

I feel compassion that they miss out on all the miraculous things that occur in front of us all day, every day. The beauty, the mystery, the bad experiences that lead to good outcomes… They are leading a life similar to the one I led before sobriety, before I learned to deal with resentments by learning to manage all the things I mentioned above. But at least I was a conscious and aware driver.

The next time you get peeved about something that seems small, yet it develops into something that consumes you, try offering compassion. You will begin to see many things about which to be compassionate. It takes some practice, and is so worth the effort in the end. It offers you peace and calm.

Does this give you some idea of what a resentment is, you who searched for this term yesterday morning? I hope so. How does my suggestion to see the other person with compassion sit with you? Does it resonate, or make you angry and resentful that I would suggest compassion as a course of action? Leave a comment and let me know.

 

 

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More About Resentments – Living Free From Them

Eeeergh! I just wrote a wonderful blog about resentments, but posted it into a new page, rather than a new post. I had to go in and copy the post from the page, and I did that, but forgot to save the new post before I went back to copy the title of the blog. In the process, I lost the post! The worst part is, I cannot remember what I said… again, eeeeergh!

Well, here I sit, trying to recollect what I did say…. and I am drawing a blank. So, I will start over. Speaking of resentments, I have one against myself, and that is, I resent myself for my loss of memory, my inability to remember from one minute to the next.

I could rail against myself, really get into the resentment and feel sorry for myself, but that leads to that slow churning gut I referred to yesterday, and I choose not to live like that today. I think about a seminar I attended a month ago, in which I learned that my years of drinking and drugging eroded my hippocampus, the center of the brain responsible for memory. So, I can now work on forgiving myself for all the years of substance abuse. I can make a joke about my memory loss, understanding that it just is what is; and I can accept it and move forward, despite the limitations it poses for me.

Speaking of substance abuse, I recall a portion of my post from earlier today. Do you know the CDC cited 11.8 million substance abusers in the US in 2011? That’s mind-numbing! It is a well-known and documented fact that resentments are the number one reason people drink. Therefore, it is startling to realize that for there are close to 1.8 million people who live with resentments on an on-going basis.

Boy, there are a lot of resentments flying around! My major one, the one I harbored and nursed with drugs and booze, the one that lasted 38 years, was against my parents for my upbringing. About six years into sobriety, I got into a deep despair over the futility of my life and the events that occurred as a child. I saw no purpose to it, to me or my life.

Then I had the opportunity to help a man who was in acute emotional pain. I talked with him after his share at a meeting and relayed resources I had discovered along my path that were helpful in my healing from childhood issues. He was so grateful, his eyes filled with tears. I was deeply touched, and I realized my past had been of use to someone else. There WAS purpose to my upbringing, I had purpose!

Since that day, I have had no difficulty with despair, and have continued along what I believe my path to be, which is to share my story in the hopes that it will be of use to another. If we can use the knowledge of our painful experiences for the purpose of helping another, it helps to diminish our resentments.

For example, you Vietnam vets can work with newly-returning vets and give them a proper welcome home, a thank you for their service. This you can do to make use of what you endured. Suddenly, you can see why you endured what you did… to be useful to another. You know how hurtful it was to be received so poorly, to not get a welcome home, that you do not want others to have to experience that. And that is how your experience can be of service to others. I understand one of the Vietnam Veterans of America’s purposes and activities involves working with new vets to welcome them home. Ah, such a beautiful way to turn around your pain, your resentment.

When we put to use our resentments by turning them around and doing good for another to so they can avoid what we suffered, it helps to dispel them. What a wonderful thing to be able to do! It is incredibly freeing and it leads to peace.

How are you using your resentments to good use? How are you helping another to avoid what you suffered? Leave a comment and let us hear how you are doing that.

 

 

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What Are Resentments and What Can You Do About Them?

Today let’s talk about resentments… grudges, anger toward another. Webster defines resentments as feelings of hurt or indignation from a sense of being injured or offended.

When feeling resentments, one is overcome by bitterness and anger. It’s a slow burn in the gut. Much emotional energy goes toward justifying  one’s resentments, leaving a feeling of incompleteness. There seems to always be a feeling that you are right and justified in feeling your resentments, but that does not provide relief from them.

If you experience resentments, you know what I am talking about when I say they produce a slow burn in the gut. You relive that anger again and again, over and over. Many people drink over their resentments. In fact, it is a well-known and documented fact that resentments are the number one reason people drink.

So, how does one get past them?

First, there has to be a feeling that you want to resolve your resentments. You are tired of that slow burn and the emotional havoc they play. To resolve a resentment after deciding you want to resolve it, you can follow the steps below.

Humbly look at the situation and determine if you did something to provoke another. Did you say something or do something to hurt another? If so, look at whether the other person responded in an expected manner in response to your actions or words. If this is the case, own your behavior. Recognize that you were in the wrong and give up the resentment. Apologize if that is indicated to set a situation right.

If you did not contribute negatively to a situation and can still say you were wronged, feel that wound, feel how devastating the event was. Grieve the loss from it… loss of trust, loss of safety. For example, the Vietnam vets who were wronged by the American people when they returned home need to consider how they lost their trust in the public. To come to resolution of their resentments, they need to grieve that hurt, that loss.

Now consider looking 180 degrees, with new eyes. Choose a life of peace rather than one filled with resentments and bitterness. To do that, hold yourself in compassion for being a wounded person. Before going on to the next step, allow yourself to feel that compassion for as long as you need. Try not to cross the line from compassion to self-pity. Compassion is open and expansive, while self-pity is closed and contracted.

Finally, consider that the other person was, in fact, wounded themselves and was demonstrating the humanness of a person in emotional pain. Offer them compassion for their pain. Keep repeating this process of looking at this person with new eyes until the resentment begins to lessen.

In the case of the Vietnam vets, consider that the American public was terrified, looking for something or someone to blame to lessen their frustration about what was happening at the time. In their ignorance and lack of ability to place blame in the right place, they unfairly took it out on the vets as they returned home. It is possible, even though that experience was horrible and highly uncalled for, to get past those resentments against the American people.

When you deal with your resentments in the above manner, you will find a freedom that is most rewarding. Your relationships will be more satisfying, and you will experience more peace-of-mind.

What has you trying to cope with resentments? Can you define one of your resentments? Follow through with the process above and see if that helps to lessen your resentments. If you notice a lessening of your resentments, leave a comment telling us of your success to resolve them.

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Happiness is a Choice – Part 1

Celebration of Choices

I see a little man with his top hat,

arm raised above his shoulder in salute.

He celebrates his recent discovery… he has choices in his life.

It is freeing to learn one can choose at any point.

Ah, cause for celebration!

It may be easier to recognize how one has a choice over their actions more easily than seeing that one also has a choice over their emotions. Learning that happiness is a choice takes many people a lifetime and some never learn it. They continue in life, perhaps, with deep resentments, unhealed wounds, and hurt feelings. This does not have to be the case.

How DOES one choose to be happy amidst the fray described above? One makes the decision, ah, a choice being made to change the status quo, that their mental and emotional world is making their life unmanageable. They recognize their heart is closed and they need to do something about it.

Once one realizes the internal insanity they are experiencing and are willing to do anything to conquer it, a critical key in the process is learning to do an honest self-assessment to determine their part in whatever it is evoking the emotion. Maybe it is as basic and crucial as they are not taking responsibility for their inner world, instead blaming everyone and everything for their misery.

A more sane, and perhaps mature, response is to examine one’s actions, words spoken, and thoughts, to assess if they were damaging to another or to themselves. Practice this until Part 2, which I will post tomorrow, and see how it feels.

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