Resentment

When it comes to what matters you’d think that the majority of us would have it nailed, right?

Wrong.

You see, usually I’d sit here and write how one copes better by doing this, that and the other. But today I’m left a little confused, so please bear with me as I try to make sense of how I’m feeling.

Resentment is a funny feeling to have, especially when it’s toward somebody whom you thought you’d never feel it toward. And so, let’s start first by talking about what the word actually means.

I’ve always said that we only fear what we do not know, and so in order for me to make sense of this feeling I have, or for any of you reading this to understand it themselves – I’m going to have to work in real time so this will make me less fearful of it, and to also, I guess, help me better understand myself emotionally in the future.

Either way, I love behavioural sciences, psychology and the brain, so what better way to study something than to use my own emotions as a study? Through all bad comes some good, remember? We live and we learn, so let’s begin!

“Resentment” – AKA, ‘ranklement or ‘bitterness’, is also not classified among Paul Ekman’ 6 basic emotions of,

1, surprise,

2, disgust,

3, happiness,

4, sadness,

5, anger,

and 6, fear.

However, it is the foundation of hatred, and we all know that hatred’s got to start somewhere – so this means that by using “resentment”, hatred has begun setting its foundations.

I suppose now is where it gets a bit tricky for me, as hating anybody is something I’ve never been able to do and so I don’t really understand it.

Resentment comprises of 3 basic emotions which are, (2)disgust, (4)sadness, and (1)surprise – when mixed together make a soup called, ‘the perception of injustice’ (it’s not a nice tasting soup, by the way).

Injustice is that sad disappointed look with the shock face, ya’ll know it. It’s a bit like if I said, ‘I’m disgusted, sad, and surprised a person could do that to me’ – that’s the “injustice” part.

Resentment, by many counts is a mixture of feeling disappointed, angry, and fear.

Once the (1)surprise of the injustice that’s happened dies down (letting the storm blow over), so does the level of (5)anger and (6)fear, leaving a very sore wound of disappointment. And to an effect, the disgust slightly remains, as does the sadness.

And so, now you have me: I’m facing that resentment feeling, without a clue in which way to turn to ensure it doesn’t give free cement to the foundations of hatred. How can I build my wall to protect myself if the foundations are basically going to turn to dust in its bitter feud between love & hate?

I don’t hate anybody, not a person, but I am like my Grandad when it comes to being disappointed in someone – so much so, that I can’t simply ‘let it go’. It eats at me, and if the other person doesn’t/can’t/won’t see why I feel that way and/or see the wrong they’ve done, then it leaves a very unsettling weight in my heart.

Love is a fickle thing when placed on tables – I mean, when we all lay cards out on tables in front of others, does that not leave the card placer vulnerable? Life isn’t a game of Poker, it isn’t that “ride” like a rollercoaster – rollercoasters don’t break hearts, they don’t make me feel resentful, quite the contrary – a rollercoasters hurt my head and so I don’t ride them.

Life is like that – if you know something hurts you, we do one of two things:

1 – demand to know why, as there’s a morbid intrigue into wanting to know why someone wanted to hurt you in the first place, and no, I don’t know why some of us almost WILL them to tell us just to hammer the final nail down, and so we just get on that rollercoaster regardless…

Or 2 – walk away completely and just don’t go there because you know they have made you feel this way. Disappointment.

Why ride something we already know hurts?

You see, when we are born, we are blank canvases, free from any emotion and of course, free from any knowledge of the emotions we go through. It’s kinda like for the first few years of our life we aren’t aware of it – we are kids, we enjoy it. I’d love to think back to when I was about 2 years old, when the only thing that mattered in my life were colours, sounds, and tastes.

Simpler.

However, it wasn’t a ride I chose to get on, I didn’t choose to be given life – and so that rollercoaster saying doesn’t work for me. What works for me is if someone I thought respected me, doesn’t disrespect me – because I’m a human being with real feelings, and also I’m not a poker game with your folded hand. I didn’t CHOOSE to be hurt, and so you don’t get to tell me I’m not hurt. You don’t get to say things like, ‘they’re only words’, ‘you take things badly’, ‘don’t worry about it’…

I’m human. I have emotions that at 33 years old I’m still trying to make sense of, so why do others insist on making it harder by throwing their own towels on my deck chair – a deck chair I hand built from my own emotionally secure wood. It was a beautiful deck chair, but for now I’ve had to put it in the shed due to some resentful storm that’s busy brewing. I’m protecting my deck chair.

If things get too much emotionally for me, I often wander out into the garden and dig my fingers into it – mending it, turning over its soil that others have trod on: footprints weighing heavy in the dirt like most hearts stained by past pain.

I’m cultivating it ready for something beautiful.

You see, through all of the dirt that life throws at you, something beautiful can grow. And so the more beautiful my garden, the happier I am because it means I’ve put my all into making it that way. It means I am peaceful once I’ve finished it.

Please don’t ruin my garden.

Please don’t step on my grass.

Please don’t leave room for some hatred to come along and just tear up my roots, as it’s not metaphorical, my garden. Well, I do have a beautiful garden which I do tend to – but emotionally I pour my heart into it. Sometimes even tears.

Anyway, I recognise this feeling now, I recognise that I’ve felt it before, and I now realise what I have to do in order to not allow hatred to lay it’s mesh.

I have to go plant some seeds.

I have to go dig my fingers deep into those footprints that have flattened my beautiful soil – just so I can give that soil life again.

And then I have to pick out your stones that you threw there, as we all know stones can break bones but names never hurt, right?

Wrong again, and so those stones will become the foundations, the rocky bottom to ensure my seeds get the correct drainage – so they don’t drown in any sudden onslaught of emotional rain.

So once all of that is done, once the seed of resentment has been planted in my then steady terrain, it will grow into something stunning.

Something truly beautiful can come from something so painful. And though the sadness & disappointment may remain slightly, I can at least then sit back and see I did something constructive with my hands instead of throwing sticks & stones.

People are not worth giving rent free rooms in your mind. We always forget that others have to earn respect, loyalty, even love from ourselves in order to receive it back, and so why do we give it all away so freely when trust is involved? Just because you’re “someone”, and mean “something” to me, doesn’t mean you get everything for free from me.

I understand it now, resentment. You’re not that scary now I can see you, now I know what I need to do. In fact, you’re quite the bittersweet bowl of soup that I needed to taste. There’s a saying of which sticks with me from when I was younger, “it’s always those closest to you that can hold the biggest knife”, and I can see why. But that knife doesn’t have to make impact with a heart to hurt it, it doesn’t even have to touch the surface – it simply only needs to be shown in order to hurt someone.

One day they will see their wrong, one day they will see their own garden looking dishevelled, over grown, unkempt and realise that it doesn’t have to be that way – Just because your garden is a mess, doesn’t mean mine’s got to be.