I have adapted each step of this series to enhance our unique abilities to face the dragon and find insights to improve the quality of our life. Each new step takes us forward on the path of healing although it may not seem that way at first. By exploring these notions and questions, each of us can find our own answers. After all, when it comes to you, there is no one as brilliant, smart, astute, deserving or as good at knowing exactly what’s in your heart.
Real problem #7: Resentment
This is the essence of anger carried inside every cell of our body for a long time. It is a refusal to let go of anger because we feel justified in hanging on to the harm done to us, whether it be real or imagined. There are some who spend their entire life convinced that they are victims and their outrage is constantly triggered by the slightest wrong done to them. They subconsciously dwell in the terrible events of the past.
Resentment is a lethal poison that saps one’s life force. You’ve heard of the adage made popular by Carrie Fisher: “Resentment toward someone is like drinking poison and waiting for the other person to die.” As you read these words, you can see that resentment will hurt you more than you can imagine. It will rob you of your joy and, no doubt about it, your health! Can you afford it? I know I can’t.
Dragon taming step #7: Letting go
This expression may have become a cliché for many of us who have so much to deal with that we forget just how powerful and healing letting go of resentment really is. Life certainly does not always seem fair and people often behave badly, so, how are we expected to get free of toxic feelings when someone has hurt us deeply or betrayed us? It is not easy but it can be done!
Once you know that holding on to anger and feeding it for years is simply not working for you, you can change course and begin to focus on your well-being. Here are some ideas to consider. They may very well help you develop a new perspective that will set you free.
I will again bring up the notion of ego. What is the ego? There are many definitions in the realm of psychology but I prefer to keep it simple. We can all recognize our ego: It is the voice in our head that won’t shut up! It keeps us up at night and fills us with fear and worries. It sees problems to every solution. It feeds all of the pain we have ever experienced. What follows will challenge the ego.
- In the grand scheme of things, you and only you are responsible for ALL of the events in your life. This is likely to be the one notion that your ego will object to, violently! It will find a million ways to try to convince you that whatever pain you experienced, it was not your fault, but someone else’s. If, for example, someone is rude toward you as you remain calm and courteous, you certainly can’t be at fault. But if you look at the big picture, who knows? There’s no need to look for a guilty party, so feel free to drop judgment on yourself or anyone else.
Our responsibility lies in the belief that we are travelers in a vast universe beyond our comprehension and that the only person whose actions we are responsible for is our self. Every day, we can make choices that will either keep us prisoners or set us free of the past.
- Guilt and responsibility are two very different things. Letting go of resentment requires that we understand this distinction. Feeling guilty of having somehow manifested pain and sorrow in our life is totally useless. It keeps us chained to the demands of the ego that wants to feel superior and outraged by feeding sentiments of worthlessness. “I must be bad if this happened to me” or “I must be bad if I can’t let go” are two of the biggest lies we are told by the voice of our ego.
- The ego in itself is not bad, it just needs to follow and not lead…your heart shall lead you! Yes, that is where you feel pain and every other emotion but all emotions originate from the brain. And who resides there? Yes, our ego. It is up to us to decide and make our intention clear: “I choose to be at peace, so, I will not let you, dear ego, dictate what I should feel. I am not made of glass and will not shatter because I feel pain.”
It is in the light of intent that we are present to our self, that we take full responsibility for our emotions. It is in that knowledge that we can take a big breath and begin to open our heart in order to forgive and to release our self from the bonds of resentment. This we do for our self!
Forgiving is not forgetting nor does it mean that whatever harm was done to us is OK; it means that we are breaking the bond of pain that keeps us tethered to someone else and to the past. It is an act of LOVE. Pure and simple.
This process takes some time. Perhaps you can practice with smaller issues and strengthen your intention as you go. Getting through the day is a struggle; we know better than anyone that we deserve to be gentle and kind to our self.
See you on the path of healing and beyond,
* Stock illustration: Shutterstock
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