Tag Archives: shame

Lessons in Catastrophe – Resentment

Resentment is one of those emotions that doesn’t get talked about much. It’s a tricky, complicated, and poorly illuminated emotion. It’s not one of the pretty, shiny emotions like joy or compassion or selflessness.

But we all feel it. Just like we feel guilt and shame and anger and jealousy. I am going to speak about resentment because shoving it back down and trying to ignore it doesn’t help.

I am resentful that all my friends are living their lives and I can’t live mine because of my physical condition.

Yep, there I said it. It’s not pretty, is it?

Every time I listen to a friend talk about a great school project, every time I hear about their travel plans, every time they land a great new job or tell me about an adventure…every single time, I am reminded that my life is on hold and that I hate it. Every time, I am resentful that they are able to take active part in their lives while I feel like I am stuck waiting until I can participate in mine…stuck at home, alone, resting my back in bed.

Emotion is complicated: I am thrilled for my friends. I’m thrilled about their internships and their studies and their travels and I am genuinely happy that they are happy. I am excited for their adventures. I want them to share their joys with me, and I would be devastated if they felt that they could not. I am still…resentful.

So how do I handle this resentment? I make sure that I am clear with myself about the target of the resentment: I do not resent my friends, I resent my own situation. This allows me to make sure that I don’t take out my resentment on the people I love. When I speak to them, I allow myself to be happy for their achievements and adventures. I reserve the resentment for myself, when I am alone, afterwards, and I can process this resentment.

I try to remind myself of the ways in which I am lucky–and there are many–and to acknowledge that while this feels permanent, it is not. I will also have my own adventures.

And then…I take a deep breath, and I tell myself that it is ok that I am resentful. I do my best to sit with how I feel, and to acknowledge it without judgment or shame.

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Thoughts for Thursdays – Christopher Morely

“Read, every day, something no one else is reading. Think, every day, something no one else is thinking. Do, every day, something no one else would be silly enough to do. It is bad for the mind to be always part of unanimity”
(Christopher Morley)

In all the time alone I’ve had since my life changed entirely back in June, I’ve discovered a whole world of perspectives and ideas that I’ve never really noticed before or paid attention to when they appeared previously. I have been given a whole new set of vocabulary with which to to experience the world. Words which once never meant much to me have started to shape how I am living. Words like authenticity. Wholeheartedness. Healing. Then there are words which have always been on my horizon, but I am understanding their meaning in new ways. Words like compassion. Courage. Communication. Shame. Vulnerability.

Sometimes, because I have started to shift so much, I feel like I am stepping out on a path that looks and feels and sounds very, very different to the paths which my friends are taking. Sometimes this makes me doubt myself: why am I now functioning and experiencing the world differently?

It is in those moments that a quote like Morley’s reminds me of the value of change, the value of stepping outside of someone else’s dogma. I have always had an affinity for this quote, and always for one reason: I see it as reassurance to dream my own dreams, think my own thoughts, walk my own path, and use my own words to frame my life.

Sometimes we all need this reassurance. What about you? What experiences do you have of stepping out on your own terms?

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Last Thursday got a away from me a little bit, and I haven’t caught up with it until today. Please enjoy this Thoughts for Thursday on a Monday anyways!

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