Some people say resentment is the number one offender. True… so true.
Everyone we love fucks up. They hurt us. Maybe they are a giant asshole, or maybe they are just human. Maybe they are wonderful and made a mistake. Maybe they are vile and must be avoided. Either way… sometimes we develop and cradle and house resentment, and it destroys us and destroys our happiness and our peace and our love. Someone has stabbed us and we have grabbed the knife and are plunging in again and again and again.
Sometimes we are wronged and hurt. It happens. People are not actually against us, but sometimes they are for themselves. Sometimes they don’t think. Sometimes they are focused elsewhere. Sometimes they’re being selfish or narrow minded or cruel. Sometimes they are afraid. Sometimes they don’t know how to do the right thing. Sometimes they think they are due something or fighting for something or willing to climb our backs for things. Some of these people cannot be trusted and we have to alter our relationship with them, and sometimes we love them and want them in our lives.
Either way, it’s a bad idea to resent them.
Resentment is addictive. It’s more fun to feel mad than to feel hurt. We want to worry over the hurt and rework it and rework it trying to restore justice somehow. It’s utterly unhelpful to ruminate again and again and again on hurts and slights. If the person was awful it doesn’t help us to resent them or their actions because it is a way of holding onto them and the hurts they’ve done and of trapping ourselves in that fear and pain and hate. They are out there walking around, most of time oblivious to and unharmed by our resentment. They hurt us and we are making that hurt linger.
And if we love them and want them in our lives, resentment erodes the good will and the trust and the relationship between us. It becomes a thing that we trot out with every human slight. And everyone you love and everyone who loves you will fuck up. We’ll all do it over and over in fact. Hopefully the loves in our lives aren’t WANTING to act that way and are learning from mistakes and making amends and growing. Hopefully we aren’t placing ourselves in the same position over and over to be hurt.. because that is abuse. But I am talking about loving, kind, thoughtful people here. We will hurt each other. I don’t mean “maybe”. I mean “when”. There will be misunderstandings and times we just got it wrong. We just aren’t going to be perfect. I like the saying about the impossiblity of finding someone who gets it all right 100% of the time and shooting instead for the situation that gets the right 80% or %90 well.
So, Traveler hurt me. He hurt my feelings and acted I think in a selfish way. He was thinking of himself and his fun plans and not how they effected me. Maybe he forgot he’d asked me to come and us talking a few times about me coming to Utah to ski. Maybe he didn’t forget and had trouble telling me I wasn’t welcome anymore because judgmental work people were coming now and he still really wanted to go anyway. Maybe he is being afraid to stand up and admit who he really is to people. Maybe he doesn’t see he had a choice. I don’t know for sure. I know he fucked up and it hurt. He asked me to come to Utah the night his friends asked him to come on the ski trip. He walked right up to Quinky Girl and me at the Irish bar and asked us both to go. We talked a few times about me coming on the ski trip and told some of his friends I would be there when we talked about it last month. I was excitedly planning to come. Instead, he is only taking Quinky Girl. He said I can’t come because there will be some closed minded people there and he’s not ready to come out to them about both of his relationships and he’s asking me to be patient.
Well. It sucks. Real or imagined, I feel slighted and rejected and hurt. I’m sad and disappointed that I can’t do something I was looking forward to doing. I’m angry that I’m in a position where again I lose out because I am not the socially acceptable partner. I’m angry that he’d rather ski with people he thinks are judgmental and closed-minded, and is willing to hurt me than chose to not ski with such people. I’m angry that their comfort is more important to him than mine is in this situation. (In his defense I never asked and will never ask him not to go on the trip, but that doesn’t stop me from being hurt about it.)
And in all of our supportive conversation Quinky Girl said, be careful of resentment.
And that knocked around in my head. Of course she is totally right.
Resentment grows and worms its way into cracks, widens then. Resentment takes that most recent crack he made and makes it a canyon over time. Sweet relationships are killed. Beautiful connections become dead. And it hurts. It hurts the person holding it. It’s an all sides are sharp razor blade that burns with acid.
We have to believe that the people closest to us have our best interests at heart. We have to interpret their actions from a place of “this person loves me and fucked up” place. The people that love us and that we love do not wake up and say “How can I fuck over those I love”. They do silly or hurtful or even cruel things sometimes though. And then what do we do?
Well, if I want this person in my life, and if I believe in their good intent, and I want peace and I want to feel good inside again… I forgive them. I forgive them for MY SAKE. I actually forgive everyone I forgive for my sake. I forgive people that don’t deserve it and that I will have no associations with because I need to do it to be free. I forgive those I love and want to keep in my life and keep loving because it’s the only way to heal the slight. I don’t want to keep hurting myself and coming up with terrible reasons real and imagined for every wrong I’m done. I don’t want the constant worry and the continued pain. I want to be free and I want to love the people I love, actively, deeply, sustainably.
It’s the same thing I went through with my divorce (and had more than a few waves with). I had to forgive my husband if I was going to move on. I had to accept that I loved him and I would always love him, but we can’t be together anymore. I wish we were friends. I wish he hadn’t done what he’d done. I could spend my life tilting at windmills and gnashing my teeth and railing at the injustice.. and it was huge and tempting to do so. Or I could pick up my pieces and make something of them. I could work on finding joy or pain, and I had to choose.
It’s the same thing here. I can wish Traveler would come out or be more thoughtful about some things. But I can’t change him. So, I’m faced with what actually is right now. I can rail against this and fight tooth and nail. I could try to control the situation, or Traveler but it’s unlikely that it’d work, and even if it did.. what a hallow victory to wrestle love and commitment and thought from someone who isn’t wanting to give it. I could say the price is too great and walk away. I could shove everything I feel deep down inside and try in vain to not be a person with a full compliment of human emotions. I could let it keep hurting my interactions with him and with others (as I did let it do later the night I found out I was uninvited).
Or, I could acknowledge the reality, express what I need to express, and forgive him. I could be open to his attempts to make an amends of sorts. I could go with him on another ski trip and enjoy that time with him. I could cherish the friends I do get to meet and that he’s out to. I can let him look deep into me and look deep into him too and concentrate on that love. I could make Super Bowl plans with my good friends and try to enjoy the weekend and enjoy that he and Quinky Girl are having fun, because I love them and I want fun in their lives, even if it’s not always with me. I could listen to him when he talks about our passion and our chemistry and our connection and our love and believe him because I am overwhelmed with evidence of this truth in SO. MANY. WAYS. I can have empathy for the fear he has here. I can understand certain character limitations. I can accept the price of his admission.
The wrong happened. It’s done. We can’t jump into our magic flying time machine and undo it. The ski trip is happening and he is going and he is taking Quinky Girl, and he isn’t taking me anymore. You know something… I’ll live.
So, I’m choosing forgiveness. Forgiveness builds. Forgiveness grows love and connection and real security. Forgiveness makes me more of the person I want to be. Forgiveness is not pretending he did the right thing or justifying his actions. It isn’t pretending that I’m not hurt. But it is letting go and moving on.
Resentment is the number one offender and forgiveness its only balm. And it’s a fuck of a lot easier to forgive the sweet and loving man who treats you so well in so many ways when he fucks up than to forgive your enemy, but it holds equal power.
How free do you wanna be?