We’ve all experienced things from other people that left us feeling angry, hurt, used, abused–you name it. Most times when we feel someone has treated us badly, especially when we don’t think we’re deserving, we become resentful towards that person. Not all experiences are heavenly; not everything works out the way we want it to. That’s life. What I think we have a tendency to forget is that when we fill ourselves with resentment based on the actions of another, it’s ourselves we’re hurting… not the person who caused that pain.
Of course, I’m guilty of this very thing so don’t feel bad. I’m never here to single you out, you know that. We’re going to dissect holding grudges, being resentful, and passive aggressiveness together. I think one thing you guys should have learned about me by now is that I am an advocate for communication. You can’t expect anything to get better without first communicating that there is a problem. Let’s start with holding grudges.
I’ll be honest with you. This to me, is a major cop-out. I think it’s the easiest form of being mad at someone without telling them why you’re mad. Grudges can derive from anywhere, but I believe they typically are formed by either never communicating that a problem has present itself between you and the person you’re holding the grudge against or you communicated the problem, but lied about it ‘being okay’ or resolved between the two of you. I’m also a firm believer that jealousy plays a big part in holding grudges. Ulterior motives can lie behind grudges. Don’t miss that. People who are holding a grudge with someone about a petty issue probably have an ulterior motive for that grudge–jealousy about their boyfriend, lifestyle, etc.–which is why it’s so easy to hold on to because it allows those bottled up emotions to come out, even if they are poisonous.
We’ve talked about the 24-hour-rule in Trust Issues, but I’ll recap it so we’re all on the same page. The 24-hour-rule holds that:
“From the moment the issue at hand arises, I have 24 hours to address the person responsible for the cause of the issue. I’ll say my part, and if they’re willing, they will say theirs. We can then make an action plan to fix it. If I allow the 24 hours to pass before addressing the situation I let it go and I never bring it up again.”
This is a sure way to free yourself of holding a grudge especially over something petty. The thing about communicating a problem is that resolutions will follow. It’s just natural. Holding grudges in your hinders blessings in your life. Trust me on that one. It took me a while to fully believe that, but I am a living witness. Living with that kind of pettiness in your heart is no good for anyone and again, you’re only hurting yourself.
The key to resentment is forgiveness. Hands down. There are not if, ands, or buts about that one. Up until about 2 months ago I had so much resentment in my heart towards my father. I hated the kind of father he was; I hated the hurt he put my mother through; I hated how he made broken promises to us thinking that would make things better. He caused me a lot of emotional pain and I did talk him about it every once in a blue moon, but I did that thing I was talking about earlier in this entry–that false forgiveness–yeah, I’m guilty. I would have these long emotional talks with my father and hear his reasoning, excuses, and apologies and when we got off the phone I know he felt that I had forgiven his mistakes and would no longer feel that way. That was my fault. I wasn’t making sure he knew that wasn’t enough to fix the situation so there I was stuck in Resentmentland while my dad carries on with the rest of his life post ‘dramatic phone call’.
That’s just my example of being resentful, but it comes from many sources, especially when we feel like we’ve been wronged for no reason. Resentment is one of those emotions that makes us beat up on ourselves. Instead of approaching the person who caused the pain we often sit back and talk to ourselves about it… “What did I do wrong?” “How could I have avoided this?” “I should have done this instead of that and this never would have happened.” “I can’t believe he/she treated me like this after all I’ve done for him/her.” That’s typically what resentment sounds like in the mind, just so you have an identifier to go off of. Again, holding things like this in your heart really take away from the space you have for love, joy, happiness, peace… all the things necessary for healthy emotional life. You’ve got to come to terms with the hurt, look yourself in the eye and encourage yourself to LET IT GO AND MOVE ON. I kid you not, a week after I truly gave my situation to God about my father and forgave him in my heart, I walked into the man that I now hope to grow old with. Let it go today my love.
Sarcasm, false forgiveness, grudges all of this is a form of passive aggressiveness. I’d describe passive aggressiveness as a person implying that they have an issue without actually saying so. For example, if you’ve ever lived in a college dorm with roommates and you see that note near the sink saying “thanks for reserving the dishes for me every night guys, I just love doing them!” when clearly you HATE cleaning up after grown individuals… that’s passive aggressiveness. Another example is the ‘what’s wrong babe?’ / nothing / are you sure? / yeah.’ but you have an attitude and your body language clearly communicates that something is wrong. This isn’t healthy for anybody. Communication is KEY. You can’t possibly expect someone to just know what’s wrong with you or to feel that you have a problem. It just isn’t fair to the person you’re angry at.
With all this being said, take note of the 24-hour-rule. Live by it. Swear by it. Always give yourself and the person involved the benefit to communicate the issue, express their feelings and you all will be able to work through it. Even if things don’t work out for you two in the long run, everyone involved will have had the opportunity to defend themselves.
If you’re holding a grudge, resentment or you’re guilty of being passive aggressive, plan that talk today. Talking it out will help with SO much. I’m encouraging you to do it today. There’s no better time than now.
Peace and love, dear reader.