Notes From The Awareness: 182

Residual resentment poisons the present.

Please discuss. How does this play out in life?

I’ll start us out. Certain people—and they may often be those closest to us—bother us regularly. The things about them that irritate us aren’t major; if they were larger problems, we wouldn’t be in close relationship with them. They’re most often minor annoyances, perhaps even small enough that we may never have mentioned them. Unfortunate turns of phrase, an unusual laugh, mispronunciations, loud chewing, idiosyncratic habits all can be mildly grating when regularly repeated.

Unless we’re paying attention to ourselves, we may not realize how frequently we bristle against these traits. “Arrgh! He/she/they are doing it again.” Our annoyance may be short-lived, but it does affect our overall mood. Repeated often enough, it accumulates a residue of resentment. We end up being fractionally peeved at the person much of the time. They’re likely left wondering why we’re at a slight remove emotionally.

Today’s message reminds me that low-level irritation is a joy killer. It puts up a small barrier to happiness and intimacy. When I am marginally annoyed with someone on a regular basis, I prevent myself from appreciating their many good and loveable traits because I am focused on what irks me. I can handle this situation by either discussing it with the individual or deciding to let it go.

If it feels like the issue is too petty to talk about, it also is too small to merit disrupting my happiness and peace of mind. I can choose, going forward, to laugh at myself internally when I start to get irritated, let the annoyance go, and focus on one of the person’s positive traits. I want to pay attention to things that make me happy.

How about you? How do you handle resentment?