Monday, August 22, 2011

Resentment...the Silent Cancer

by Dawn Depke

*within this article, all examples are about and for the average person, not someone who is abusive, that has a chemical imbalance or a diagnosed mental/emotional issue.

Have you ever wondered to yourself, “Why isn’t my relationship the way it was in the beginning?” (So loving and amazing, you saw the best in your partner and they saw the best in you.)  Have you ever found yourself not as happy now as in the beginning of your relationship and you wonder “what happened to us”? 

Do you want to know a secret?

Relationships teach us many things about ourselves, especially if we are open to learning.  Relationships are our greatest teacher and gift.  So in the case that our relationships deteriorate over time is due to resentment that builds and grows and becomes a “silent cancer” destroying a once healthy, loving relationship. 

Resentment is birthed because of personal perception.   Perception changes the minute someone “hurts us”.  That person is the same person they were 5 minutes ago, you just look at them differently now.  When you perceive what they did or said was “wrong, bad, hurtful, inconsiderate or mean, your perception of that person automatically changes.  Then resentment is created.  Resentment is created when we take something personally that someone said or did to us.  Or in other words, resentment is created when our perception of what someone said or did hurt us.

Now to stretch you even further, imagine that no one can actually hurt you.  No one can make you feel sad, mad or glad.  Have you ever had two people tell you the same thing and one made you mad, but the other you took as constructive criticism?  They told you the same thing, but your perception was different based on how you feel about the person and what they have done and not done to you in the past.

If you find yourself saying things like, “He makes me so mad!!!!” I challenge you to look at yourself.  First look at what actually happened.  Then feel what emotion ignited within you and what you are “so mad” about.  Look at what they said or did and ask yourself, “did they really do this (say this) to make me mad?” and usually your answer will be “no”. 

An example that happened to me this weekend was when my husband and I went to a social event and he got in line for drinks for us because I had our dog with me and the dog was not allowed to enter.  He asked me if I wanted to go first and I said no.  He came back without anything for me. I got upset because he has never done that before.  My perception was that he was being selfish and inconsiderate.  I thought it was weird that he only “took care of himself” and that is not like him.   So as I thought about what this was bringing up for me, I realized that I made his actions mean that he didn’t care about me.  When I could separate what happened from what I was feeling, I could see that he was not being selfish nor inconsiderate, that he didn’t do it to hurt me.  My perception was not true, and when I broke it down, I realized that it was just a miscommunication and that he does love me. 

Silly, right?  Well we do it all of the time, but as long as we can separate what happened from how we are feeling, and then ask ourselves why we are really feeling that way, getting to the core of our own issue and realizing our perception about the other person is really about something within us, perhaps insecurity.  Reminding ourselves when these feelings arise within us, it is not about them, it is about ourselves.  We can only feel something that is inside of us.  Again, no one can make us feel a certain way.

To help you understand this further here is an example.  No one can feel jealous unless they have some amount of insecurity.  Jealousy attaches to insecurity.  If someone is secure they will never experience jealousy. 

So my challenge for you this week is to look at the relationships in your life that “push your buttons” and get to the core of what is going on inside of you that allows those buttons to be pushed and see if you can begin to look at that person in a different light or perception and see your world change in an instant.

If you have any questions or comments about this article, please leave this below for Dawn to address personally.

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