Avoid Resentment at all Cost: It Sucks Away Vital Energy

Posted by in Books, How the Top 10% Do It!, Self-Management Strategies for Optimal Performance

Resentment truly eats up your vital energy. Let’s imagine that you are full of resentment and have somebody on your back with whom you are upset, and it’s only nine in the morning. Around 10 AM you allow someone else to climb on your back, and by noon, perhaps someone else as well. By three o’clock, you are exhausted and in dire need of coffee and donuts if you are to even make it through the rest of the afternoon. The workday ends, and you go home and, having carried all those resentments and people around, your energy is seriously compromised. Consequently, you are not as engaged during the latter half of your day as you would like to be but you comfort yourself that tomorrow evening will be different. The expression I gave at the office is truer than we might think.

With our energy compromised by resentment, no one can show up and be present in the way that they want—for themselves, their job, or their family. How does this energy drain come about? First, there is an event that we react to with anger and emotion. All emotions have an impact, whether negative or positive, and resentment is certainly a negative emotion. We experience an injury of some sort and that injury causes us to feel hurt. We feel anger that has no productive expression so it eats away at us and we begin to feel resentment. The resentment leads to feelings of self-righteousness (we can’t be resentful without being self-righteous). We perceive ourselves to be better than the person who hurt us, even if the offender simply had so much on their mind that they didn’t say hello or good morning. Some people can find even that to be an offence.

If you feel that someone rejected you, and you go through this cycle above, you are left with a choice: to feel self-righteous and bitter, or to forgive (accept what is so) and move on. When a person feels self-righteous and bitter, they cannot accept that not everyone (and, in fact, no one) can meet their expectations, so they follow the cycle of resentment to revenge. There is an expression:

“Revenge is something that is best served cold and on a small platter.”

Every time we attack someone else, we attack ourselves because it stresses our system. Our body’s response to stress is to flood our system with a hormone called cortisol. When there is too much cortisol, the immune system functions well below its peak and disease flourishes! Resentment is one of the instruments of fear and it is easy to feel resentment.

Imperfect Forgiveness book front cover

There is much more about this in my book called Imperfect Forgiveness: The Miracle of Releasing Hurt, Bit by Bit. While researching for the book, I was amazed to find out that most people don’t want to forgive or forget. Most people want to exact revenge, and then forgive! Most people feel justified in labelling somebody as mean or nasty and subsequently find themselves stuck in the cycle of anger, resentment, bitterness, and over time, emotional exhaustion.

As you saw earlier in this chapter, imagine that it’s only ten a.m. and you already have three people on your back towards whom you feel anger. By five o’clock you have twenty people there. Anyone would be exhausted and hurt, and feel locked into a mindset of victimhood. Is it any wonder that so many people drink to forget and numb their feelings? We reach for a solution outside of ourselves to help us relax and shed those people that have been climbing upon us all day.

Many who carry resentments on their back do so because they simply do not know how to say no without feeling uncomfortable. It might also be because they do not know how to create a boundary. Although it is tough to hear, in most day-to-day situations there is a clear moment of choice when speaking up and acting against our perceived offender would resolve the issue. But most people don’t step into the moment and change the interaction because of their fear of confrontation. If this is the case, a second choice would be to own the problem with this conversational self-talk:

“I am mad with Steve because he was inconsiderate, a control freak, and disrespectful to all of us in that meeting but I did not speak up because I am afraid of what he might say and do. Therefore, it is my fear that keeps me stuck, not Steve. And rather than criticize and blame Steve for my stress, I am going to seek help to give me skills so that I can become an advocate for myself. Although it is not ideal to have an ineffective boss, I can see that I am ineffective in being the boss of myself when I cannot have a voice or a vote in any situation.”

This is an effective and simple proven solution to gaining peace of mind but it is not easy; the human condition attempts to defend and justify the position we take on any situation.

Happy people, those who feel joy in their lives and assume the responsibility for their own happiness, remain neutral about events that would cause others to spiral down in despair. Life happens. Good events, as well as shockingly bad events, are part of life. When a series of challenges occur, these happy people consider them to be just another drama in paradise! How we choose to react determines if we are a victim or a victor. If I can take charge without complaining and whining and snivelling, then I win. But if I take charge by judging others, being hurt or angry, or holding on to resentment and self-righteousness and then seeking revenge, they win. They win because I’m carrying them on my back!

Let me ask you this question: Is there anybody that you are carrying on your back? Is anyone truly worth bringing you down, sucking out your energy, or leaving you to find that really, you’re full of aches and pains? Cosmetic companies are making a fortune on resentment because it is a killer for your looks! Resentful people look mean, they look angry, and they have a lot more lines and grooves on their face than people who are happy.

Choosing to feel neutral is the answer to coping well in volatile moments. And you can choose to feel neutral by saying to yourself:

“Bless him/her, and improve me. I get that I am not perfect, yet here I am judging someone else for his/her imperfections. I wonder who is judging me for mine?”

Elite and Top Performers have too much to do and so they don’t waste energy, time, or have conversations in their mind with someone who is not in the room!

This article is an excerpt from my upcoming publication:

How the Top 10% Do It 3D front cover book

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One Comment

  1. I know I hold grudges/resentment.but I’m getting better with age and wisdom.
    This book looks like a great study tool to help increase joy.TIA

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