Resentment colors all my relationships negatively.
I have been taught all my life how important it is to forgive others. I thought that I was doing this and perhaps in some cases I was. In support meetings I learned about resenting. Resentment and not forgiving are very close if not the same thing. I learned that holding bitterness for another only hurts me.
Although I did not know how to protect myself without resentment I was determined not to be a victim. I learned that hostility and bitterness maintain and preserve my pain. Resenting will color all my relationships in negative ways. As I learned I began to think about trying to let it go.
As I worked through steps 4-9 and prayed for help to let go of bitterness and to forgive others, my heart began to soften. Resentment hides and sometimes still comes up. It always surprises me, but now I know what to call it and how to let it go.
“Expectations are premeditated resentments” helps me to let go and not create so much bitterness in my life. When I see myself and others clearly I can love others but protect myself. I will not be a victim of the pain that resentment causes.
It is important to learn all I can, to read books on all kinds of subjects, because it helps me to see myself and others more clearly. The more I know myself and see clearly the more I can love and respect others.
The atonement not only allows me to be forgiven of my sins when I repent, but pays for and compensates for all sadness, pain and tears. I have agency and make choices good and bad. Sometimes I do not realize that I am causing others pain. The atonement covers that as well, for both of us.
Respect is essential! It is OK if others have different ideas than I have. It is never OK to get angry at someone because they do not think the same or do not know what I want or am thinking. No one else is responsible for my feelings. When something goes wrong I should not blame others. I can be loving and kind to those around me even if I have had a bad day or feel bad. I can show empathy by asking how someone else’s day went. When I give loving hellos and goodbyes to my loved ones they can feel my love. I can share my dreams and myself with my loved ones. I can listen to someone without interrupting or trying to think of a response, but instead really hear what they are saying. When others are happy I can be happy with them and celebrate with them their achievements. I can show interest in other people’s interests. I can respond to others, engage with others and be a good friend, especially in my family. It is not OK to ignore another person. It is not OK to divert a conversation to avoid discussing a problem.
Respect takes time and effort but earns respect back from healthy people. When I respect myself and others my self-esteem grows.
I often forget and fall back into old behaviors and habits. I call this “forgetting myself”.
Through support groups and the atonement of Jesus Christ, I know better ways. As I practice these better ways they become more a part of me. But, often my first reaction or inclination is my old behaviors. I’m learning not to berate myself, but to calmly stop, step back and think, and choose a better way. Then I am remembering myself.
Sometimes choosing a better way might mean I have to go to a loved one and tell them I’ve changed my mind. I used to think that if I said something I had to stick with it, but that does not support change. Giving myself permission to change my mind allows me to be true to my own goals and values. Changing takes time and I need to be patient with myself as I learn. I also need to be patient with others as they get used to my new ways of behaving.
When I remember the person I want to be I don’t forget myself or react with an angry temper. A quiet voice helps me remain calm and able to think. I can remember to not forget myself.
I don’t have to worry?
I did not realize that I don’t have to worry and be anxious about everything or that “worry is optional” before I came to support meetings. My life was worry and fear. I was truly amazed to see people, whose lives and troubles were worse than mine, laughing and smiling and enjoying life! I wanted what these people had the very first meeting I went to.
In support meetings I learned that worrying about people or things I cannot change is useless and a giant waste of time. I learned that worry is not love. Of course hearing that and doing it are two different things! I had a hard time giving up worrying. I did not know how to stop worrying.
I hear in support meetings different ways that people give up worrying. Some make a God box and write down their worry on a piece of paper and put it in the box. Some people write in a journal. Some picture themselves giving their problem to the God. Some people walk or run until they felt better. I found that picturing my Savior with outstretched hands and seeing myself placing my worries and fears into His hands helped. Sometimes I have to picture myself also crawling into His loving hands. My worry always goes away when I do this, at least for a short time. When the worry returns, I do it again. As I do this, I can live worry free for longer and longer periods of time.
I am learning that I can be happy no matter what is going on around me. “Pain in inevitable, but worry is optional”.