It is plain that a life which includes deep resentment leads only to futility and unhappiness. To the precise extent that we permit these, do we squander the hours that might have been worth while. But with the alcoholic, whose hope is the maintenance and growth of a spiritual experience, this business of resentment is infinitely grave. We found that it is fatal. For when harboring such feelings we shut ourselves off from the sunlight of the Spirit. The insanity of alcohol returns and we drink again. And with us, to drink is to die.
Big Book of Alcolholics Anonymous, p. 64
the feeling of displeasure or indignation at some act, remark, person, etc., regarded as causing injury or insult.
A feeling of displeasure or indignation… I don’t know of many people who would choose to hold on to a feeling of displeasure, but it becomes worth it when you throw indignation in as a bonus. I may be miserable, but at least I can blame someone else for it. When we don’t have the capacity to choose joy in life, our mind always will blame our misery on ourselves, or on the world. Having an opportunity to put it on the world can feel like a real relief.
Origin: Old French resentir, equivalent to
re- + sentir sentir– to feel
re – a prefix… used with the meaning “again” or “again and again” to indicate repetition, or with the meaning “back” or “backward” to indicate withdrawal or backward motion
It’s not the experience of “feeling” that is harmful to us. Feeling is inevitable. And when someone steps on our toes, our feeling is going to be something other than joyous; but it’s the “again and again” that can get us into trouble, that can lead us out of present moment awareness and put us into “withdrawal” and “backward motion.” This is what saps our life force and sucks us dry. This is the quality of speculation. Trapped in our mind with the what-ifs and if-onlys and next-times and I-should-haves. And when we allow ourselves to live in the mind, chewing over our resentment, our misery becomes doubled into suffering.
Speculation leads only to suffering. Ever.
The capacity for joy, the connection to an idea of God, can be found only in the present moment. It is not possible to be in present moment awareness and to hold on to a resentment. Nor is it possible to find present moment awareness while insisting that I not let go of my resentment.
Feel the feeling. Let it go. Move on. Pay no attention at all to the thoughts generated by the feeling. Let nature punish or reward your transgressor and restore balance, if balance need be restored. Nothing ever is balanced by my imbalanced thinking. No one ever is punished by my punishing thoughts but me.
If today I find myself resenting anyone or anything, I will drop that resentment. And if it comes up again, I will drop it again. And again. I will notice when I am in speculation and I will get busy with something real, something in the world rather than in my thinking, something that actually exists in front of me, something other than a thought. I will insist on being present to my life.