Resentment: My Portable Friend



Good ole’ resentment. Wherever you go - it’s ready to travel with you. When you read articles about resentment, typically, you are provided with the same standard advice, i.e., “let it go”, “get over it” and the favorite: “resentment is like drinking a poison and hoping the other person feels the effect”. If only it was that easy.

Resentment is ‘portable’. It travels freely, it can appear at any moment and keeps you company when you have nothing else to think about. The interesting thing about resentment is that it does not like competition. For instance, when you are engaged in purposeful or meaningful behavior, events or tasks - resentment is absent. Resentment wants to be all consuming - it wants your full attention. It feeds on quiet, lonely or down time. If you are interested in growing resentment - find nothing to do. Sit around - be lonely, ruminate, be negative in thought and your resentment grows. It loves quiet time.

What’s the nature of resentment - you ask? The Miriam-Webster Dictionary defines resentment as: “a feeling of indignant displeasure or persistent ill will at something regarded as a wrong, insult, or injury”. The origin of the word resentment can be traced to the early 17th Century French word: “resentir”. The Italian designation is: “resentimento”; the Irish designation is: “fala”. Interesting enough, there isn’t a Latin definition for the word: ‘resentment’. The word appears to be modern in nature - probably leading one to realize that as our societies changed - so did our language and perception of our own behavior and that of others.

Knowing that the word ‘ resentment’ is a modern day term - what brings it to light? In today’s world there are so many things that ignite resentment. Think about your own life. I know in my own mind - resentment appears as a result of: the ‘self-perception’ of actions, or lack of actions of: family members, friends, co-workers, politics, religion, sports. Shall I go on? It appears resentment is pliable - it can attach itself to the ‘self-perception’ of any action of a whole host of candidates, i.e., people, events or places. However, the interesting thing is that it is driven by our own ‘self-perception’, ‘internal dialogue’ and ‘thoughts’. We are the creators of our own resentments!

Is there value in ‘holding a resentment’? The answer is, yes - absolutely! The beauty and power of ‘resentment’ is that it keeps you engaged - it keeps you busy. You are never alone when you have a ‘resentment’. ‘Resentment’ adds perspective to your life. It helps align the value a person, entity or event brings to your life. In fact, it fills a void. The interesting thing about resentment is you don’t even have to look for it - it finds you - especially when you are not engaged in meaningful and purposeful action or behavior. As I indicated, the beauty of resentment is that it is portable - you can take it anywhere in your life - at anytime - in a moments notice - it is ready to travel. The real question is: “Is this a companion you really want to spend time with?” The answer is up to you.


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