Philosophy

Resentment

“When you resent a man, you become his slave. He wrecks your meals, destroys your peace of mind and stalks you everywhere. He is with you when you’re awake and invades your dreams when you sleep. He’s beside you when you’re at work and goes along on your vacations. He might even steal your last moment of consciousness before you dieā€¦” – Anonymous

Resentment is a feeling of bitter indignation for having been treated unfairly, a judgment that others have hurt us or fucked us over or haven’t done enough for us. It arises because anger isn’t expressed and discharged directly, as an immediate emotional-energetic response to some event that is happening in the present. When the energy of anger remains bottled up, it keeps re-feeding on itself, or regurgitating, and turns into resentment. That is the root of the word resent, to re-feel the original pain without discharging or releasing it. Because the emotional energy remains bottled up and festers, when a person we resent does something that annoys or hurts us, we tend to over-react even when it is something minor because it is not really about what’s happening in the present, it’s a re-hashed, confused jumble of memories and partly felt emotions of other imagined or real offenses all piled into a single maelstrom. (more…)

The madness of falling in love

I remember when he raced up six flights of stairs, twenty minutes after we had parted, knocking on my door, breathless, to give me the gift of a strange potted plant with rubbery, green flowers. I thought the plant was ugly, but found the gesture beautiful. I remember the first time he washed my feet in a bath of chamomile flowers and sliced lemons. And when he held my hand and helped me climb the rocky cliffs overlooking the Aegean sea, and said, let go of your fears, don’t let the world persuade you that you’re small and you can’t do it. I remember all the times he carried my groceries and my burdens, and performed impulsive acts of generosity, without any reason or expectation. And I felt an infinite appreciation swell in my heart, not because of how he made me feel or what I got out of it, but because he was that kind of person, because of what it revealed about him. In those moments he appeared exalted to me, miraculous. I glimpsed a kind of sacredness in his words, in the way he moved his hands and walked, and in the wrinkles that formed at the corner of his eyes as he smiled at me like a schoolboy with a secret crush. Everything around me – trees, birds, little dogs passing me on the street, people riding their bicycles – began to take on an enchanted glow. It was as if falling in love gave me sanction to be joyful, to break the rules, to abandon my inhibitions, and to become a child again. I felt giddy, danced in parks with my eyes closed, kissed him on street corners and in supermarkets, and held him tightly as he whispered in my ear on the benches of deserted playgrounds. The magic in my heart poured out and filled the four corners of my world. (more…)