Resentments. Oh joy. We're bound to experience our fair share of them as we interact with various personalities and communication styles.
Once I was going through a series of disagreements with a former roommate. It had gotten to the point where I'd woken up from sleep with a churning sensation in my stomach and tightness in my chest. This person had done me wrong and I was steadfastly holding onto the grudge. I didn’t consciously realize the degree to which it had been affecting me, but it was clearly showing up in my body.
My thoughts were racing, but I knew beneath the surface of those thoughts lie deeper layers. I regain my sense of power and composure by taking ownership of whatever I can within those layers. If I waited for the roommate to right what I perceived as her wrongs then I would continue to give away my composure and peace of mind to that life sucking energy of resentment.
So back to this heartburn-like resentment. I got quiet, calm and collected and I proceeded to dig beneath the obvious she did this and this is why she shouldn’t have. I find that I can often trace resentments back to a flash of an expectation I had of how someone should’ve acted or how a situation should've gone down.
Sidebar: “Should” has got to be one of the most trouble-provoking words I know. The word invokes so much regret, e.g. “I should have done this with my life instead of that.” Should can cause us to belittle our intuition, e.g. “I want to stay at home and rest because I’m so tired, but I should go out to that party.” In line with the topic of this post, should in the form of expectation is a swift harbinger of resentment.
So this concludes part 1 of this series on resentment. In part 2 I will introduce a 5-step process to help you release resentments and regain your peace of mind.
Have you ever felt not good enough to speak your truth, to do something you really wanted to do? I think we all do from time to time. I've come to believe that you have the right to take up space. You have the right to be seen. To be heard. Even if, especially if, you are not where you think you should be.
Last year I soothed myself with this affirmative self-talk as the not-good-enough trolls made their voices heard loud and clear on the stage between my ears. I had been speaking to high schoolers on a few different career day panels. I shared about my creative professional path. I shared about having a support job that supports my lifestyle while I develop the ideal work. I shared about the ups and downs involved in balancing the two.
The process leading up to these high school talks allowed me to exercise major self-compassion and pride in my experiences. See, I sometimes vacillate between “We’re kicking butt, girl! So proud of how far we’ve come and where we’re going” and “Wow, it doesn’t look like you’ll be living that vision any time soon. If it ain’t happened yet, will it ever?"
Let me talk more specifically about one of these panels. I had caught wind of a Dance Career Day event at a visual and performing arts high school here in L.A. I wanted to throw my hat into the ring to be a speaker as soon as I read the event description. But a twinge of shame soon followed my initial excitement. I doubted my qualification because although I used to work as a dance fitness instructor, appeared in dance and fitness vids and had this career that felt like it was going somewhere, I hit a bump in the road in 2011 and had to put a hold on the hardcore pursuit of the dance path as well as some other professional endeavors.
When I saw the initial Dance Career Day invitation, I assumed they wanted people currently working in dance. The trolls were speaking loudly, “How can you talk to students about dance when you are not earning a living from it now?” Vicious. But the troll talk led me to revisit the definition of success I had created for myself. To paraphrase rockstar business coach Ariana Pritchett, the success process is a squiggly line, not a straight path at all. It is full of stops, starts and unexpected turns.
So did I end up saying yes to the invitation or did I listen to the trolls and punk out? I will answer in a future post.
Words to Live By
Be super kind to yourself.