Are You Taking a Daily Dose of Poison?

While driving to visit friends some time ago, I listened to a radio interview of Malachy McCourt and was deeply struck by his response to the interviewer’s question on his view of resentment. The interviewer noted that he did not appear to hold resentment towards others from his past or for difficult things that had happened to him throughout the course of his life. His response was that resentment was like taking poison and expecting someone else to die. The power of resentment and like emotions is enormous – ironically not on the object of our feelings – but on us.

Another teacher of mine speaks about the insidious nature of getting used to taking “emotional poison” – if you just take a little everyday, you don’t notice it so much – you adjust to feeling bad – and pretty soon feeling bad feels “normal”. When it becomes normal we see life through its lenses. What’s the color of resentment and anger and carrying grudges for you?

It’s like putting your hand on a hot stove over and over again until you get used to the pain. When we get very good at it we sometimes even “wear it” like a badge of honor – “I can stand the burn for up to an hour now!” When was the last time you spoke with pride about how long its been since you haven’t spoken to someone after they did ‘such and such’ to you?

Sometimes we have elaborate stories to justify taking this poison – the importance of keeping the resentment alive and well. We say “my father did it this way and his father before him.” “My family has always done it this way”. My own mother used to put little yellow stickies around the house so she would remember to be angry at me – even if she couldn’t remember why!

Are you taking a little poison everyday or learning how to keep your hand on the hot stove? Do you remember how it felt at first? How does it feel now?

What’s the price you are paying for taking a daily dose of poison? What is resentment (anger, grudge) doing to your health? To your relationships? To your well being? What would your best friend, wife or husband tell you its doing to you, if they were willing to tell you the truth?

What would your life be like if you gave up the resentment? What blocks might melt away in your life? What openings might become available?

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