What comes up for you if I was to say that we are all doing the best we can with the resources we have? Does it resonate with you, or do you sit on the fence with your feelings, or does it make you feel instantly prickly with emotions of frustration, perhaps even anger?
Now what comes up for you when I say that we are most compassionate to ourselves and others when we say no, when we are setting our boundaries and asking for what we need? Is saying no, setting boundaries and asking for what you need something that smoothly and fluidly passes from your throat, across your tongue and through your lips? Or do your words form a lump in your throat and suddenly feel like blades passing through your flesh, if you were to even consider uttering those two letters together –‘no’?
Our stories of resentment can often gather a momentum and truth so real and powerful to us, that we assure ourselves that we are exempt of any accountability within them.
When we can’t say no, when we can’t set our boundaries and ask for what we need, we naturally fall into resentment. Resentment occupies space very quickly making room only for its close friends righteousness and judgement, immediately evicting any sense of compassion. Our stories of resentment often go like this; they usually begin with becoming the victim of a pressured situation where we felt obliged to say yes, to turn up and to give something of ourselves. We turn up and often expect to be acknowledged for our efforts. However, we are usually met with none. Our resentment grows and this is usually where the story builds too. “How dare they not acknowledge my efforts, don’t they know what it took for me to be here? I can’t believe they put me in this situation; I am so angry that they have done this to me. How can they be so selfish?” Now, this is often where innocent people start to get caught in our story net and we begin to cast our frustrations far and wide in an unconscious bid to advance and expand our story, which serves as validation and absolution for part in our resentment, righteousness and judgement. When the story gets to this point we are often feeling more superior to everyone and/or feeling like the victim and that everyone is conspiring against us. Our narrative usually sounds a bit like “everyone is so selfish, annoying, useless; what is wrong with these people, are they really that dumb? Why are they doing this to me?”
Our stories of resentment can often gather a momentum and truth so real and powerful to us, that we assure ourselves that we are exempt of any accountability within them. Our narrative is based wholeheartedly around how everyone else has wronged us and how it is everyone else’s fault. Whoever the original trigger was and whoever we expanded it out to, it is aimed at full force in their direction. Whether it is a family member, our children, a friend, cashier, teacher, student, customer, or a colleague, we place ourselves squarely in a space of righteousness and judgment which allows us to find and justify faults in each one of them. It is usually at this point that our resentment is so deep that our conclusion is, “these people are not doing the best that they can right now” in fact, most of the time we think “these people are just idiots!” and our compassion is nowhere to be found.
In order to change the narrative we need to give ourselves permission to move forward being comfortable with saying no, setting boundaries and asking for what we need.
Is this all sounding familiar to you? Have you found yourself in these narratives? I have and there is no shame if you have too. Resentment, righteousness and judgement are an alluring combination, especially when it means we don’t have to show up and take accountability for our part in the story, and if it means we can be superior. However, these narratives don’t serve us or those around us and in order to move into a narrative that better suits us, we need to stop entertaining this one. We can begin to do this by being mindful of the reasons that we overlook our own needs in the first instance. Perhaps it is because we want to be liked, appreciated, be seen as caring, easy going and generous or even to avoid being seen as difficult and/or selfish. If we can understand our own personal reason as to why we forfeit our needs over others we are instantly in a more empowered position to say no, set our boundaries and ask for what we need. However, if we find we have not been able to place our needs first and have slipped into our old narratives, this is where we can take a pause, where we can be courageous and move into a more self-respecting place so we can bring the story into focus in a more balanced and accurate way. We can never be completely sure of the intention of another, but we can know our own and we can understand that the underlying reason we launch into our stories of resentment with such intensity and pace, is because we have done something that has caused us to compromise and disrespect our own needs in the first instance. So, with this knowledge we can dig really deep and accept and admit the reason we find ourselves where we are and choose to release the feelings of resentment, righteousness and judgement, and take accountability for managing ourselves and others with more compassion.
When we sit in self-love, self-respect and are solid around our worth, we are able to set more defined boundaries which then makes room for compassion to reside.
In order to change the narrative we need to give ourselves permission to move forward being comfortable with saying no, setting boundaries and asking for what we need. When we can practice this comfortably we are showing those around us that we have self-love and self-respect. When we sit in self-love, self-respect and are solid around our worth, we are able to set more defined boundaries which then makes room for compassion to reside. This compassion opens us up to ourselves and to others and gives us space to assume that everyone is doing the best they can with the resources that they have, including ourselves.
From my heart to yours