Have you ever felt really angry and resentful? I know, stupid question. Who hasn’t felt really angry and resentful at some point in their lives?
Today, I am angry. And today, I am feeling resentful.
It used to be that feelings of anger eluded me. For me, anger used to be one of those emotions that was too uncomfortable to feel, so I’d turn it inward toward myself, and build up resentment for the person or people who had caused me to feel such inner turmoil. (At least I always thought they were the ones who made me feel a certain way—someone else’s fault.)
Today I’m just damn angry. Anger still isn’t a comfortable emotion for me to feel. The difference between today and a year ago? Today, I’m just letting myself feel it, and I’m not feeling bad about allowing myself to be angry. I’m not trying to stuff it down, turn it inward or express it outward. I’m allowing myself to be f’ing angry. I’m not reacting to my anger—except to write about it, get it out, so I can let it go, forgive myself and forgive the person I’m angry with.
Now, here’s the tricky part. Today I’m also feeling resentful. I’m feeling resentful toward this person who did something careless and hurt someone I love deeply. Anger is cool. Resentment doesn’t do anyone any good. And that’s where I’m feeling the most angst and a bit stuck. I’m feeling stuck because I know I can’t let go of the anger unless I let go of the resentment.
Resentment doesn’t ever feel good, and it begins to eat at your soul and strip away the healing that can happen by allowing yourself to feel anger. The reason is because resentment carries all of these conditions. If [blank] hadn’t done [blank], then I wouldn’t be doing/feeling [blank]. Or if [blank] hadn’t said [blank], then [blank] wouldn’t have happened. Resentment boxes us in. Resentment keeps us from moving forward. Resentment keeps us from owning our feelings. Resentment keeps us from searching for the meaning, from healing, and from forgiving. Resentment keeps us from loving someone through their faults and mistakes. It’s a self-sabotaging condition that fills our spirits with blame, negativity, and helplessness … all so that we don’t have to own and feel the discomfort of our own feelings. Sounds like a good deal sometimes (since owning our feelings can be uncomfortable), but the reality is all that resentment does is keep us stuck—it keeps us from growing and being unconditional lovers to ourselves and one another.
You see, sometimes resentment and anger go hand in hand. But they don’t have to. The magic question I keep asking myself as I type out these words to you is how do I let go of the resentment that keeps creeping into my space?
And the only word that keeps finding its way into my mind is “awareness.” Awareness that resentment is creeping in. We can’t always stop the resentment, but once we acknowledge it, we have a better chance of not reacting to it. And if we don’t react to it, then it can’t take on a life of its own, and it can’t continue to feed on the anger, and the anger can’t continue to feed on the resentment. In other words, we can break free of the anger and move on toward forgiveness.
And so once again I announce to you: Today I am Free to Be [Angry]. And today I acknowledge that I am feeling resentful. These are my feelings. I’m entitled to them. By feeling entitled to my feelings, I don’t feel the burning need to blame someone else for them.
The magic, my friends, is that I’m already releasing my feelings of resentment. In the 45 minutes that it took me to acknowledge my feelings and write this post, I’m already feeling freer, less boxed in, and more open to forgiveness.
As a side note, what you may not realize, is that as I write to you, I learn as well. You see, I don’t write because I know it all. With every key stroke—every thought I’m sharing—I’m learning and growing too. I wasn’t born knowing about this stuff or being open to sharing my soul and wisdom. I’m just as much a student of life and the search for meaning as you may be. But with each lesson learned, we have an opportunity to teach ourselves and others more than we knew before, and so I’m paying it all forward in the hope that today, you are able to feel entitled to feel whatever you feel today.
So, my darlings, I ask you … what/who are you Free to Be today?
Until next time, friends,