by Linda-Ann Stewart
Mark was a simmering pool of resentment. Anything said to him he perceived as a slight. He felt that the whole world was given advantages denied to him, and that he couldn’t get ahead. No one wanted to be around his negativity, so his belief was a self-fulfilling prophecy affecting his personal and professional life.
Anger generally signals that some value or boundary has been violated and occurs during a single event. If anger prompts positive action or a decision to change, it can actually be beneficial. It can motivate you to stop smoking, eliminate a negative friend, or work for social change.
However, if there isn’t a resolution, release or plan to address the cause, then anger can curdle into the toxic emotion of resentment. When you hold a grudge or want revenge, resentment has gotten hold of you. It poisons your whole perspective and continually restresses you. This destructive emotion can become a habit and cause you to view yourself as a victim.
There are different types of resentment.
- Do you feel someone has wronged you or treated you badly? If so, you’re simply rehearsing something that has already happened. Even if it’s warranted, resentment won’t change the past. But it will erode your self-image and sense of empowerment.
- Do you begrudge people who have something you don’t? “Whatever you resent is a statement of what you lack,” says Robert Anthony. It’s common to resent co-workers who have been promoted, or a public figure who has fame or fortune. By resenting them, you’re indirectly telling yourself that you can’t have what they do.
- Are you upset at having to give up a lifestyle or habit that has been pleasurable? Most smokers resent that they have to quit smoking even though it’s self-destructive. They also don’t like it when others pressure them to take that action. Unfortunately, their very resistance undermines their success.
Resentment doesn’t affect the person it’s aimed at. The only one it harms is you; your health and mental well-being. They’ll probably never even know how you feel and might not even care if they did. So it’s not even fulfilling a productive function.
Copyright 2011 Linda Ann Stewart
All Rights Reserved