“Resentment is like drinking poison and then hoping it will kill your enemies.”~Nelson Mandela
I woke up this morning full of resentment. I try not to go there – my life’s work is around helping other people live without resentment, so it seems like a good idea if I can have little, or no, resentment in my life. But I was full of it.
It doesn’t even matter why. It doesn’t matter what person I was resenting for what reason. It was me the resentment was hurting, killing in fact. I’ve found (and seen) that resentment is like poison – it may be a slow, painful, agonizing death or a poison that kills me quickly, but either way, it is poison that seeps into my veins and colors all I see. I miss noticing the sunrise or the birds singing in the trees. I rush past colleagues or mistakenly skip over emails and forget to engage in relationships that matter. I even manage to, at my worst times, spread my resentment to others so that the poison starts to kill them as well. My resentment, justified or not, never actually hurts those I intend to hurt. It hurts me, and a few innocent bystanders who happen to unfortunately cross my path at an inopportune time.
I know I’m not alone in this. I coach many clients through moments of resentment, easily being able to see a light for them that they can’t see in the moment. Luckily for me, this knowledge, this know-how that I offer to them, pulls me through. I’ve learned to look beyond the resentment, or at least to get up out of my chair and get myself engaged in something or someone else. To stop feeding the resentment with more thoughts of how unfair it “all” is and thereby cut off the intravenous tube that is dripping poison into my veins. Instead I remember to look away from the resentment towards something more positive – to shift my thinking away from the resentment to a topic filled with possibility, a thought that makes me smile, a sense of a better future…anything that will put me in a better space. And I then I can stop drinking the poison and instead fully be present in my day.
Where are you drinking the poison of resentment? How can you stop? What will pull you through? The next time you find yourself stuck in resentment, do whatever it takes to shift your thinking, and your feeling, to a place of more possibility. Let the resentment go.