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Harbouring resentment

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“Blessed is the man who expects nothing, for he shall never be disappointed.” Alexander Pope

Last week I launched a discussion regarding the concept of unfinished business. This week, let’s continue our examination of this theme by taking a few moments to consider what happens when we leave things “unfinished” in other areas of our life.

Let me start by asking a simple but very controversial question: if you were to be really honest with yourself, what would you admit that you resent?

Take a moment and really think about this.

Did anything come to mind?

Bravo to anyone who actually admitted to resenting something because at least you are aware of what you are doing and – hopefully – working to overcome this.

As for everyone else who muttered “nothing”, how sure are you that this is actually true?

Let me ask the question a different way.

When was the last time you avoided going down an aisle in the grocery store just to avoid having to speak to someone? Or let a phone call go to voicemail? Or felt yourself tense in anger at the mention of a particular person’s name?

Believe it or not, each time that you do something like this you are harbouring resentment – an interesting expression if you ask me because it so aptly describes what you are doing when you shelter (protect) feelings of hidden anger.

Yes, you read that correctly, when you hold onto any sort of resentment you are literally “protecting” the anger inside yourself instead of letting it go.

The big question is: why are you doing this?

In other words what is the pay-off for you in not letting go of these hidden feelings of anger, rage or frustration and allowing the ever-growing ball of negative energy inside you to drag you through yet another cycle of mental gymnastics?

You already know how this is going to turn out.

It won’t make you feel better. It won’t make the anger go away.

It is like a sentence that you just can’t finish no matter how many times you start to write it out.

And yet you do it over and over and over again.

Which in turn leads to an even deeper question: if you already know that clinging to resentment doesn’t solve anything, what are you afraid will happen if you do let go of all this negativity?

Because when you cling to any sort of anger or resentment what it really means is that you just aren’t finished being afraid and the resentment is nothing more than a wall of padding that you have constructed to insulate yourself from having to deal with this one simple fact.

Take away the fear and the resentment disappears all on its own.

So rather than trying to tackle the resentment itself (which is virtually impossible), what would happen if you simply decided to own up to and overcome your fears?

For it is by truly knowing and believing in ourselves that we come to know others and how to handle our encounters with them.

And for a micro-break from your mental gymnastics, why not check out this week’s video of the Unfinished Church in St George’s on Robin’s Paradise? See it here:

Robin Trimingham is the managing director of The Olderhood Group Ltd and a business consultant, journalist, podcaster and thought leader in the fields of life transition and change management. Connect with Robin at https://bit.ly/3nSMlvc or robin@olderhood.com

According to Robin Trimingham, when you cling to any sort of anger or resentment what it really means is that you just aren’t finished being afraid

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Published November 09, 2021 at 8:00 am (Updated November 09, 2021 at 7:41 am)

Harbouring resentment

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