There is ample opportunity to harbor resentment on this path we walk (often with a limp)—especially if we have never received the help (in whatever form) that we “should” have received. (There are many shoulds that we will stumble upon, but it’s best not to be a collector of them lest we become hardened by focusing on what we don’t have instead of what we do.)
But resentment only breeds more resentment. It doesn’t solve our problems. It doesn’t help us forge a better way. It doesn’t build us up. Resentment creates more problems for us and spoils the good we already have going. Resentment forges a bitter way and complicates the path we’ve already come so far on. And resentment tears down and destroys everything that we worked so hard to build—everything that we truly care about.
It will be there, lurking in the shadows of dark moments. Hovering over you when you’re heart is breaking. Calling to you when you feel alone and forsaken. But always run from resentment. It is not your friend. It might feel good to hold its hand, but there is no real and lasting comfort in its arms.
If you want to really rise above the sadness and dismay that you feel on days like today, then it will be important for you to take great strides to not allow resentment to attach itself to you. Wherever the blame may lie (our own parents? our spouses? our friends? our own choices?) or not lie (sometimes it’s just simply hard to be a parent, no matter how much emotional support you have or don’t have), resentment does not need to follow. It is one of those toxic things (like hate and unforgiveness and jealousy and chronic dissatisfaction). Feel what you’ve got to feel (let it flow), but don’t let anything stick (don’t hold on to it). Do you see the distinction here? It’s the only way to push through this time in our life when we are truly at a fork in the road. We have a profound choice: if we befriend resentment, we will ultimately be repeating what was done to us. We will become parents who parent without felt and applied empathy. Conversely, if we reject resentment, we will open up to ourselves a new and different (i.e., better) path that will take us to where we actually want to go. We will become parents (and people) who are genuinely kind, caring, loving, understanding, and warm. We won’t have to fake anything or posture anything or manufacture anything. But it requires that we refuse to hang on to resentment and all the stuff connected to it. Is it true that there have been people in our life who have let us down? Yes? Then accept that fact as what it is, and then move on. Do not become like those who have hurt you. Figure out a way to be more of a life-giving person and less of a life-draining one. And that way starts with laying down our right to wear our earned resentment.