I have a small, smoldering resentment and it has sucked all the fun out of my life. The thing that is so infuriating is that this situation is insignificant. Tiny. Teenie, even. And I’ve given it the power to interfere with my joy. Last night, it even interfered with my sleep.
So it’s time to take action. I know precisely what I need to do to put paid to this situation, but I have to say, it’s taken me a couple of weeks to realize what I need to do. This situation needed to simmer. I needed to get past all the angry words that were backed up in my throat and my head. I needed to realize why my little girl inside was saying, “But what about me?” which is what all angry words really say.
So I’ve taken responsibility for my part in this teensie little thing that has disrupted my serenity, and today I take steps to rectify the situation. It will take a couple of days, actually, but I can see my way through it, and I won’t be acting in haste, or in anger, or from an indefensible position of mock outrage.
Wow. How adult of me. It’s those twelve steps, you know, that work in my life when I’m too out of control to work them.
I may not have control over much in this life, but I do have control over my attitude. And right now, my attitude sucks.
So I’m going to fix it.
There has been a little dust-up in a group I’m involved in, and in the middle of the night last night it occurred to me that I’m the cause of it all.
I don’t know if that’s true or not. I’m too close to the situation at the moment to see it clearly, but it is certainly a possibility. And so what should I do?
First, I am always the first one to take the blame when things go wrong, even if they have nothing to do with me. I think this is something that most writers have in common; we’re egoists with inferiority complexes.
The person who voiced hurt and anger over the situation may or may not be angry with me, but I’m soul-certain that I did no harm. So in truth, she’s responsible for her own anger. That is not something for me to tinker with.
My spiritual program tells me that what other people think of me is none of my business anyway. I am right with myself and right with my God and therefore I’m okay.
So what actions do I take?
Of course my initial reaction is to opt out of all subsequent discussion on the topic. But how does that serve the whole? Or her? Or me? It doesn’t. It perpetuates the ugliness. And yet, are we (am I) to walk on eggshells? No. That does not serve, either.
I think the best course of action is for me to take a back seat on this particular situation and let it play out. I’ll participate, but less so. I hope that the whole group isn’t intimidated into silence. But if it is… so be it.
Still… I can’t help but take it a little bit personally. It’s always personal, after all. Isn’t it?
I have a big ol’ nasty resentment.
I’ve carried it for a couple of years now. I know that I shouldn’t have resentments, and in fact, my twelve-step program says that I run the risk of getting drunk over a resentment.
But it is just too juicy to let go. Every time I feel wicked, I conjure up this resentment and chew on it for a while. I imagine all types of scenarios when I confront this person and let ‘er rip. I have the power to make that person feel small. To cry. To feel bad for ever.
But then as I drove home last night, a hundred miles through a raging rain and windstorm, I realized that I would never confront that person, because to do all those wonderful/horrible things of my fantasy imagination would be injurious. And purposefully injuring someone–justified or not–isn’t in keeping with my idea of living a spiritual life.
It spreads no joy. It bears no spiritual fruit. It is, in fact, anathema to my life’s purpose.
So I’ve given it up. If I’m never going to do the damage I so ached to inflict, what’s the purpose of carrying around the resentment?
What makes this blog-worthy to me is that I would risk 27 years of sobriety over this stupid resentment (a small risk, and yet…), but when I realized that holding onto it not only retards my spiritual progress, but might, in some small way, retard the spiritual progress of our planet, I suddenly found it easy to let this resentment go.
I am much lighter today.
And I have started to think about that person in a completely different way, too. That can’t help but be a good thing.