Bitterness and resentment

I’ve had people ask me lately: “what do I do with my bitterness?”. In some instances it has been being around people that annoy them, and in other structural hierarchies like women and men getting stuck in certain roles. 

We get bitter and resentful when we believe we have lost our freedom to choose. We are stuck in a place where we can see at most two options (go along with it or try to flee – and possibly a third: explode, but most don’t have that as a conscious choice I would say). 

For example, you are on a course with someone and this someone annoys you. If you hope that this person is just going to stop being annoying, you are heading for disappointment. People are like they are and we can’t change them. Only we can change us – when there is a will. So if they can’t change and the situation is unbearable- what is left? Your own action. When we get pressured we usually see fewer and fewer options of what to do, but think about it! There are so many things you could do instead of just sitting there – you could stand up and start to dance for one thing. Joke aside (or not :)) – if you knew what your body was trying to tell you, you could listen to it for some guidance. Is this someone saying insensitive things? Well, then anger might surge telling you to mark your boundaries and say “Hey that’s really not cool of you to say”. Or if you are annoyed because you’ve been working hard and your brain simply can’t take more and it is starting to get out on others, then your body might be able to tell you that you need some rest and do something else like take a nap or go for a run. 

This is a process of getting to know yourself, for real. To stop being so influenced by what others want or even what you think others want. Others can deliver, delay, or disappoint – what do you choose to do with that? People-pleasing behaviors are often the cause of us stepping over our boundaries and going along with things we don’t feel are in our hearts’ content. Bitterness and resentment are therefore two excellent signals that say “Hey, I need to look at this. What is going on? What is my body signaling that I need?”. If this is all new to you, please be compassionate with yourself in the process of getting to know yourself. The way you’ve been acting in the past was not a coincidence but a necessary means for survival, psychologically and physically. To learn new ways and to learn to listen to your body is definitely possible and it takes time, and usually, support of some kind, whether it be a therapist and/or a supportive community. 

Again, I must apologize for the separation of body and mind in this text, but most of us live like they are separated (when they are not). See previous texts about this. 

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