Wednesday, April 17

Overcoming Resentment 4/17/13

"Forgiveness is not forgetting. It's letting go of the hurt."
 Mary McLeod Bethune

       I'm playing hooky as I write.  Today, I'm speaking in Alameda.  Becoming humble, honoring others and improving as parents, friends, sons or daughters will be covered.

         Normally, before giving a talk, I make time to review my notes, tweaking them.  Public speaking is an area where it's fine applying my latent perfectionism. Not today.

          I feel like visiting with you, instead.   Overcoming resentment is a topic discussed with several clients over the past few weeks.  Here are some thoughts about this toxic subject.

         When my emotions are drifting into this
dangerous area, it helps realizing I have done wrong, too.  Who am I to think I can forgive others?  The following passage from page 75 of Courage to Change gives a healthy perspective.
     [I believed] forgiveness meant power to me. I could judge the offender---the person who wasn't doing what I wanted---and then exercise my power by showing that I could rise above the offense and magnanimously bestow forgiveness.   But I would never forget what had been done. 
    Today I know that forgiveness has nothing to do with power.  It does not give me control.   Forgiveness is simply a reminder that I am on equal footing with every other child of God. 
    We all do good and noble things at times; on other occasions we may offend.  I have no right to judge, punish, or absolve  anyone.  When I behave self-righteously, I 'm the one who suffers---I separate myself from my fellow human beings, focus on others an keep busy with hateful and negative thoughts.  
    By taking this attitude I tell myself that I am a victim, so I remain a victim.   The most forgiving thing I can do is to remember that my job is not to judge others, but to think and behave in a way that lets me feel good. 
    I don't know the motives or circumstances that cause another's behavior.  I do know that when I hold onto resentment and blame, I occupy my spirit with bitterness.  Today I will find a more nurturing way to fill my self up.    
"We can't hold a man down without staying down with him."  Booker T. Washington
      This text is great for providing a right-sizing perspective.  Reviewing my actions, I know I've done worse than whatever has been done to me.  Really.  God and others have been patient with me; there are times when I have been less than my best.  And how.  I'm happier when I am tolerant towards those who've offended me.

      Don't get me wrong.  First, I'm not saying the offences of others towards me were right, that I justify their misdeeds.  Heck no.   What I'm saying is that letting go of the hurt they've done frees me from the living in the toxic dump of depression, bitterness and resentment. The culprit probably doesn't remember the harm they caused.  Steaming inside with negative feelings only drains serenity from my soul.

      Secondly, it's one thing when a person's behavior is a snapshot.  It's another thing when it's a video tape.  If their behavior is ongoingly harmful towards my joy and peace of mind, the solution is easy.  I say "thanks, but no thanks" to the relationship.  I'll relate with those who do respect my boundaries.  That allows me to have an Attitude of Gratitude.

1 comment:

Carl H said...

On this Thursday evening I am grateful...

1. For a joyful and serene BBQ's Chicken dinner prepared by our two sons, hosting two dear family friends.

2. Indulging in some much needed entertainment escapism after dinner, via American Idol.

3. That authorities, aided by the brilliance of modern technology, are so much closer to being able to ID, and hopefully bring to swift justice the maniacal and patently evil Boston bombers.

Quotes from the Posts

"I'm mindful that our thoughts affect the words we use, our words influence our actions, our actions shape our character and our character determines our destiny."

From "My Character Determines My Destiny." To read it, please click here.

"Progress not perfection, is better than no progress at all, especially when we're trying to rid ourselves from unwelcome dragons that dwell within the closets of our soul."

From, "Still Learning" which, within four days, became the most popular post
written. To read it, please click here.

"Worry does not empty tomorrow of its trouble, but it does empty today of its strength"
From the post: "Life Is Not a Correspondence Program." Click here to read it.

"Even though we cannot control our circumstances, we can control how we choose to respond to them."

From, "Handling Stress and Dealing With an Emotional Bully."Click here to read this post.

"Nope, being busy isn't exciting. Boring is good. Because boring is not boring; boring is being healthy, living a balanced life that has serenity"

From: "Do You Know What It Means If You Are Too Busy?" For more, please click here.