Resentment – The Party Pooper of All Emotions

It’s so easy to feel resentment, isn’t it? When things don’t go our way, it’s all too easy to feel put-upon, left out, passed over, not invited to the party, and so on. You begin to categorize your resentments and, with each addition to the list, you feel more and more resentful:

This person makes more money than you do, and you do much more and work harder than he does. That celebrity is an idiot and if only you’d had his lucky breaks, it would have been you at the Oscars.

You go to your favorite restaurant, the one that serves your absolute favorite entree, the incredible wild mushroom tart with caramelized onions. You’ve waited all week for this special treat, and then, after your wine arrives at the table, you order your favorite–only to find out that the table ahead of you ordered the last one.

On a whim, you buy a scratch ticket. You win $2.00. The guy behind you wins $1,000.

Your friend buys herself a new car, just the make and model you’d love to have. She even picks the color you’d have picked out–bright lime green.

Oh, the rank unfairness of it all! It seems that no matter what you do, you come out empty and nothing seems to go your way………….

Ok, at this point you’d think I’d have some smart and clever verbiage about cheering yourself up, pulling yourself up by your bootstraps, sucking it up and moving forward, right? Well, I don’t. The sad fact is that often many things just don’t go our way. It makes us angry, sad, hopeless, depressed, and we feel like giving up. That’s just how life is–sometimes things go our way, and sometimes they just don’t.

However, (well, ok, I actually DO have some things to mention that may help) the good thing about things not always going our way is that, sooner or later, they DO. We can help that along by keeping as positive as possible, looking on the bright side, and trying to see the good in the situation. Take the guy who won $1,000 on that scratch ticket that you didn’t buy. What if his car badly needed repairs he couldn’t afford? Bingo–he gets $1,000 to fix his car! Although that didn’t happen to you, it happened to someone, and that’s great.

That friend of yours that bought “your” car? Do you remember decades ago, when she was just starting out in her career? She could barely make the rent, and often had to choose between feeding herself or her cat–and always chose the cat. She struggled for years, and finally after hard work, dedication, and determination, she became successful. She worked hard and sacrificed, and when you look at it that way, she’s paid her dues and then some. She deserves that car.

When we look at situations in a new way, all those teeny-tiny little cogs in our brains start cranking out new attitudes. As jealous or resentful as we can get, just acknowledging the wonder and amazement that someone got a break, a windfall, a bit of good luck–changes us and our outlook. My personal mantra that helps me during these times is this: “good for him/her, GOOD for him/her; they deserve it.”

I may start that with clenched teeth and elevated blood pressure, but it always ends up making me feel better. Plus that whiny old party pooper, Resentment, shuffles off to sulk by itself in a corner.


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