resentment : to feel bitter, indignant, aggrieved, or offended

speaking truth2

Dealing with the delicate, easily offended part of the human being labeled as the ego can be difficult.  It is that internal mechanism which screams me, me, me or mine, mine, mine, and I, I, I.  It is that voice which asks indignantly, “How could you do that to me?” Resentments lead to grudges, grudges lead to grievances, and grievances on  a national level lead to wars.  Grievances manifest in tribalism and nationalism.  The world’s most notorious despots have relied on grievances against imagined ‘enemies of the people’ to establish autocratic rule and subsequent persecution or genocide.

Pheeeew!  Are you saying, Larry, that my petty disagreement and resulting resentment with my neighbor over his insult regarding my yard’s landscaping efforts (or lack thereof) can lead to World War 3?  Probably not.  But, our lives will be blessed with serenity and comfort if we learn how to deal with the ego’s need to feel demeaned or belittled, hurt or unappreciated.

First, I need to realize that my neighbor’s comment about the weeds in my yard were most likely not meant to hurt – it was merely his observation about something which for reasons beyond my control were important to his ego.  Does my yard detract from his flawless, picture-perfect landscape?  Does my yard infer that I am a lazy homeowner?  Does the view of my front yard from his recliner looking out the bay window of his house somehow deprive him of his serenity?  Does he see the beautiful wildflowers in my yard as unsightly weeds?

I don’t know and probably never will know the reasons for his assault on my personal integrity.  Yeah, this situation has now blossomed into a  full-fledged grudge.  I want revenge.  How can I get even?  What evil can I employ to retaliate?  Maybe I’ll throw my cat’s poop over the fence into his perfect petunia bed.  Yeah, that would really piss him off.  Wow!  My me, me, me and his me, me, me are now poised for conflict.  Ego.  All because of offended egos.

So, do we ban ego from our being?  Can’t, it’s innate to humans.  But perhaps, we can keep it in check.  The next time I encounter a difference of opinion with my neighbor, maybe I ought to look beyond his words and actions with an understanding that he is also a work in progress, a man filled with insecurities and fears just like me.  Maybe he has endured hardships that are unknown to me.  Maybe he has medical conditions that are of concern to him.  Maybe, maybe, maybe.  Bottom line is that he and I are one in this spiritual experience called life on earth.  Together we can resolve problems and resentments.  But, in opposition we can only encourage World War 3.

In the book ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS, Bill W. writes:

Resentment is the number one offender.  It destroys more alcoholics than anything else.  From it stem all forms of spiritual disease, for we have not only been mentally and physically ill, we have been spiritually sick.  When the spiritual malady is overcome, we straighten out mentally and physically.  

Also in ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS on page 552, from a member’s story:

“If you have a resentment you want to be free of, if you pray for the person or the thing you resent, you will be free.  If you will ask in prayer everything you want for yourself to be given to them, you will be free.  Ask for their health, their prosperity, their happiness, and you will be free.”

I want to be free.  I’m ready to pray about my resentments.  How about you?



2 Replies to “resentments”

  1. Hi, LPB,
    On an impulse I decided to visit your blog, and this post title caught my eye. Having work some time as an addiction counsellor, though I dabbled more in nicotine addiction than any other, one might think I have a certain respect for Alcoholics Anonymous. What I have is respect for those who use its tenets to get sober. However, by way of nothing, this is where I draw the line. AA is a good first step, but I found in most people it did not heal. It took them to a better place, decidedly, yet their spirits continued to suffer. Over time I saw a lot of recidivists. They were not my clients, I was not there that long, but 5, 10, or 15 year graduates would suddenly turn to their old friend to give them the support they felt they were missing. It was a very sad circumstance. As I helped them try to return to sobriety I would ask them questions about why things changed, and the basic answer I heard the most was “I was not me!” Those folks felt like they were still missing something, a form of dignity which eacaped them. They didn’t put it in those words exactly, but that is what it seemed to boil down to. They did not respect themselves. They were asking more of themselves than they felt able to deliver. Eventually, of course, that feeling destroyed them.
    I am not here to fight with anyone, those for whom AA works, all power to them. But for those who start feeling they need more, I wish for them to be prepared for a battle they seldom see coming. And it is often to do with the topic you broached today, ego. If you let your ego run your life, danger lurks around every corner. Whether it is feeling superior to those unable to change their lives (They couldn’t make it, but I did!) or feeling inferior (I changed, so why haven’t I been rewarded?), the ego plays on the spirit until it thinks it convinces the spirit to change. Spirit cannot be changed by convincing, it has to feel that life will be better if it is going to change. Spirit wants to feel whole, unemcumbered by whatever has torn it apart in the past. Spirit wants to heal the whole person, not just its parts. This is what I learned from my recidivist clients.
    If this means anything at all to you or any of your readers, I do not know. I have been retired for a number of years now, and I have lost some of the immediacy and clarity of what it is I am trying to say. Maybe I should say nothing at all, I don’t know. But this is what your discussion made me feel, what it made me remember. A person needs to feel whole to successfully fight addictions. Ego is the biggest barrier to that.
    Learning to separate ego from self is a necessary step, in my mind. This, I think, is what I really wanted to say.


  2. Thanks for the visit. I agree wholeheartedly and I certainly hope that what I write does not lead anyone to think that I believe AA is the end of the journey. It is not. It is a steppingstone to a life based on spirit over ego. It kept me sober for the period of time which I needed to clear the garbage out of my heart and head. But, then the real work began of changing who I was inside. Every friend who has a sustained sobriety over a period of decades has successfully made that transition. 🙏


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