Recently my brother stayed at my house for a few months. He is an early riser like me, so we took to walking around the neighborhood in the wee hours before the sun rose.
On our journeys, we would discuss many things, but one thing that really resonated with me was the theme of resentment. My brother’s life might seem a little out of control at times, but the one thing I think he has totally nailed is his ability to forgive and let go.
While I, on the other hand, though a mostly positive guy, do tend to hold a grudge. Like a deep, almost everlasting spite. When I was younger, I always felt like I could be a positive person by tamping down my feelings and keeping my distance from those that have wronged me. I imagined that when I got older, I would not have contact or have very limited contact with those people.
As time went on I let go of resentful feelings for some people and others just dealt with the best I could.
While on our morning walk and talks, my brother realized I had a lot of resentment to an individual that had been renewed by some recent events. When he told me I agreed it would be good to let go of these negative feelings but I was curious where he would have me start.
He gave me some advice that sounded nice but that I rejected in my heart. I honestly didn’t want to let go.
Fast forward a few weeks. I was talking to my coworker who is a nice guy to me but pretty bitter when he tells stories. Usually, the stories are comical but I can see how the outcomes usually aren’t good for interpersonal relationships he might have.
I also went to a party with many funny well-meaning people and saw how resentments they held were not in their best interests.
What’s funny is the idea of “holding” on to resentment and me not wanting “to let go”. It’s all just baggage. Baggage that impedes your progress and does you no good to carry.
Think of resentments you have had and think about what they would look like. Imagine your resentments as actual objects.
Visualize going on a wonderful vacation with people that you love and admire. What if you switched your bags and instead of flipflops you were lugging around a suitcase of these vile items and made it to the TSA checkpoint, then realized you brought the wrong luggage. An Agent pulls you over and asks you to open up while these people are around and watching.
How embarrassing that would be?
I thought about how my anger towards certain people does me more harm than my feelings do to them. Also, I imagined a bitter old man and a kindly old man and thought about which one would I like to be. If it is the kindly old man, how would my feelings help me to get there?
There was a little heads up before seeing the person I had been thinking about on our walk and realized how there was no longer a reason for holding any more baggage toward this person.
At breakfast with my brother, I was happy to relate that I was able to interact without harboring any feelings of ill will for past grievances and actually enjoyed talking to them.
It was a real peaceful feeling.
Now I just have to find out how to harness and stay with that feeling around some of the more overtly obnoxious people that come into my life and I think I will be set.