Resentment

grumpyAlmost two years ago, Muri and I went to a jazz concert at the Thornton Winery in Temecula, California.  The concert featured my two favorite groups, Acoustic Alchemy and The Rippingtons.  I posted about it back then in Monday Smiles – 10/10/2011 … and in the spirit of Monday Smiles, I talked mostly about the music, complaining only a little about the slightly snooty, somewhat noisy audience.  And I didn’t talk about one particular incident.   We were seated near the edges of the seating area in order to be in the shade, so there were a number of people standing a few rows behind us.   One man, in particular, spent the first twenty minutes of the show talking loudly to his friend.  I waited patiently for someone to ask him to stop, then turned and said, Could you talk a little more quietly, please?  He looked at me and said, What’s the matter?  Can’t you hear the music?   I can hear it, I said, but it’s hard to enjoy it with you talking.   Well, he said, I’m going to just stand here and keep talking to my friend, so turn around and watch the show.  He did … so I fumed on and off for the rest of the concert.   The song that Acoustic Alchemy was playing was at the time was Templemeads, and since that day, every time I hear that song, I find myself searching for the perfect thing I should have said.  Nasty stuff.  That is the definition of a resentment.

We were talking about resentments at my Thursday Night Men’s Meeting.   Resentments are a frequent topic in Twelve Step meeting because they are the starting point for the searching and fearless moral inventory that is the Fourth Step.   Thinking about my jazz concert incident, it occurred to me that virtually every resentment I’ve carried is the result of unexpressed or unacknowledged anger.  But anger is hot and fluid, bubbling out of me as my temper rises.   Resentment is hard, like congealed anger, a cold mass inside me, sucking the joy from my life.   And when someone or something reminds me of the incident that birthed the resentment, it begins to melt, surfacing as anger again whether or not there’s any cause for it.   There are enough things to be angry about in this world without carrying along old wounds.

An excellent article on getting rid of resentment in Psychology Today titled, Living With Resentment Is Like Taking Poison and Hoping the Other Guy Will Get Sick, concludes with this: Forgive when you can, and practice willful and deliberate forgetfulness when you cannot, keeping in mind that these acts are gifts to yourself rather than capitulation to the people you resent.  It’s time for me to reclaim one of my favorite Acoustic Alchemy songs and let go of my resentment toward the winery boor.  This post is my way of doing it.

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5 Comments on “Resentment”

  1. cherperz Says:

    You and I are often on the same wave length. My next Two Thoughts for Tuesday is about Grudges and Forgiveness. I have had a couple of incidents as of late that made me extremely angry just as the loud talker did you. And while I should just put it behind me, I keep thinking about how I should of handled it.

    Anyway…very thought provoking subject. Great post.

    • oldereyes Says:

      It really is interesting how often that happens. Maybe there’s some kind of cosmic worm hole between Anaheim HIlls and Kansas City. This post was essentially what I shared in my Thursday meeting. I’ll be itnerested to hear your take on the subject.

  2. territerri Says:

    That man was rude and inconsiderate. And unfortunately, the world is full of people like him.

    I have a coworker who constantly fuels feelings of resentment in me. I was thinking about the situation this morning, after Mark made a passing remark that I sometimes take things too personally. Maybe I do. This coworker constantly makes me feel as if I am under her thumb. And I am letting her make me feel that way by harboring my resentment. I have been pretty unhappy lately, particularly because of this situation. This post has just opened my eyes in a big way. There is nothing that is going to change at work that will help me become suddenly happy and content. Only I can make that change.

    Thanks, Bud.


  3. Because of the situation in my home, my daughter’s plans to move about 120-130 miles from here, there has been a whole lot of anger and resentment floating around in my brain for the past 9 months or so now. The end result thus far has been that I haven’t liked myself for those feelings at all but yet, couldn’t seem to drag myself out of the depression it was causing. I’m still not out of that frame of mind but I have been working on changing what I can -which is me! The move is supposed to take place the end of June and yes, I dread seeing that time arrive as it will take not just my daughter but my two precious grandchildren who I love dearly and adore. My son asked me a few weeks ago if I am going to be able to handle that transition and honestly, I don’t know the answer there. Just that I know it is going to be more pain and difficulty to cope with but will have to continue to forge ahead and practice the forgiveness longer and harder than ever before.

    • oldereyes Says:

      I’m really sorry your going through this, Jeni. Our grandkids live six hours away but we’re lucky to have a house there so we can visit for extended times (except in the summer when Muri won’t put up with the 115 degree heat!). Several times they’ve talked about moving to Idaho and my heart sinks. I think you’re a lot like I am, you’ll cope with it better if you write about it so keep on writing. I’m sure you’ll cope but I know it won’t be easy or fun. One day at a time, right?


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