Monday, July 28, 2014

Shake Off Childish Resentments

Do you now, or have you ever had that one person in your life, with whom you are "supposed" to be close, yet who drives you absolutely crazy?  Like, so crazy you can't stand to be around him or her and you find yourself feeling angry or resentful towards them and their every blasted move?  As if their sole purpose is to irritate you to no end?

I am quite ashamed to say that YES-  I have experienced these feelings in my life.  And typically, the closer the relation, the deeper the resentment.  A sibling who has driven you crazy from day one. A parent who just doesn't seem to get it.  Your cousin whom you wish you could smack upside the head for being a constant embarrassment to the family name.  Your difficult child who seems to do the exact opposite of everything you ask.  Whomever this person is and for whatever reason, your disdain for them has grown so thick you begin to feel ashamed for the resentment building inside, you aren't even sure why you feel this way, and worse-- you don't know how to stop.  I know of a woman who felt this way about her son, to the point she admits to bullying him (but not her daughter). She said she became the monster instead of their mother.

Years ago someone in my family [person A] began complaining constantly to me about another person in my family [person B], so much so  I began to notice all of the flaws and "wrong doings" of this individual more and more and lo and behold, it didn't take long before I couldn't stand to be around them either.

It wasn't until person A was out of my life I realized what had happened.  I regret allowing my relationship with person B to become strained because I was ignorantly influenced by someone else.  Had I forgotten *I* was the one in control of my thoughts and actions?  Apparently, I had.

It took me nearly 4 years to "get over" person B's "imperfections".  Whenever I was around this individual and saw something that would have made me cringe before, I'd tell myself, "it doesn't matter" and "who cares?"  Over time I learned not to care about petty stuff and began to tell myself, "that is just who they are."  Finally, I was able to notice more positive traits about this person and the more I noticed, the more good there was to notice.  Amazing how that happens.

Jared Akers, in {{4 Powerful Tips to Reduce Resentment and Feel Happier}}, explains "Resentment is like a cancer that eats away at time - time which could have been filled with love and joy." 

Akers is right.  I wasted time being angry instead of feeling love and joy with and for that person.  Akers 4 tips for overcoming resentment towards someone:

#1 - Think loving thoughts for the person you resent
#2 - Check your motives and expectations
#3 - Be grateful
#4 - Stay open to different outcomes

I really enjoyed reading his article on this and it has given me a great deal to ponder as I  - once again - find myself in a position of always feeling anger and resentment towards someone.  It isn't something I enjoy admitting and the guilt over feeling this way is eating me up and in some ways festering the growing resentment. It's like I resent this person for the resentment I feel towards them.  While my love and concern for this person is strong and does certainly exist, so does my irritability and resentment towards them.

This is not something I am proud of.  I want to do better and be better and I am ashamed of who I sometimes become around this child of God. (that's a zinger, right there)

For me, this includes praying for that person.  It definitely helps increase the number of good days I have.  I also think it helps to acknowledge the fact that some of us are a better personality "fit" than others.  I can easily relate to some of my siblings, cousins and even children more so than others.  This doesn't mean those who aren't a natural fit are "bad".  It just means I have to work harder to acknowledge, accept and embrace our differences.

Dieter F. Uchtdorf said, "...people can usually find whatever they are looking for. Those who look for the good will find a kind and compassionate people...  those who look for the bad will certainly find things that are not so ideal."  

If we expect our son/grandson/brother/husband to continually and constantly screw up and make a mistake, that is all we will begin to see.  Overtime, we will begin to resent him, and get angry over the stupidest things.  If he eats the last banana, for example, our thoughts will immediately be, "Great.  There he goes, eating all of the bananas - AGAIN." As if his every action is to spite us or to push our buttons. We find ourselves getting angry towards him over things we'd let others get away with.

I have to stop myself (physically think to myself, "STOP!") and ask myself what his/her intentions truly are.  And then I have to take it one step further and ask myself what MY intentions are.  To get them into trouble?  To "catch" them being "bad" just like I already set them up to be???  What is the point of "catching" him or her and then "tattling" to others?  To get more people on my side?  What good will it do, other than further the feelings of frustration, perpetuating more resentment and anger?

Learning to show gratitude for the very person we resent might be hard, especially if they do things to seemingly press our buttons.  I find sometimes it's easier to focus on gratitude in general.  Start with things not as intimate.  I'm grateful for these beautiful mountains that bring me a sense of quietude.  I'm grateful for my health.  I'm grateful for my family...   Even if I can't bring myself to think thoughts of gratitude towards this individual on a certain day, this does help my negative feelings to dissipate for the moment.

As a mother, sometimes I struggle with this one.  Things may not always go as planned and being more open to various outcomes helps keep an open mind and broaden expectations as well.  Just because it isn't done my way, doesn't mean it still can't be right, right?  Reminding myself to be TOLERANT and to give the benefit of the doubt are things that help me work through my resentment issues.

I ask over and over WHY do I feel resentment towards this person?  I never feel like I get a clear answer. Whatever the reason, I am beginning to realize it isn't nearly as important as how I react to, behave around, and treat this individual.  Twenty years from now, how do I want this person to remember the way he/she was treated by me?

I need a new mantra as I find myself in this daily struggle.  Although "Stop, in the name of love" and "Let it go" are both fitting, I don't really want those songs running through my head day in and day out. "It doesn't matter" is one phrase I find myself repeating.  It does help some.

I love these words from a comment/response to someone else's post once:

Grab yourself by the bootstraps, shake off the childish resentments and jealousy... and be the adult.

1 comment:

Charlotte said...

Great post! Something I don't think about much but probably should.