“Against [empiricism], which halts at [observable] phenomena—‘There are only facts’—I would say, no, facts is precisely what there is not, only interpretations. We cannot establish any fact ‘in itself’: perhaps it is folly to want to do such a thing.” — Friedrich Nietzsche | The Will to Power | Pub: 1901
TL;DR: There are no facts, only interpretations.
Definition(s) of Resentment:
- bitterness; indignation. (Concise Oxford Dictionary – Tenth Edition)
- a feeling of indignant displeasure or persistent ill will at something regarded as a wrong, insult, or injury (Merriam-Webster online)
- a feeling of anger because you have been forced to accept something that you do not like (Cambridge Dictionary online)
Consequences of Resentment:
- Unable to speak of feelings or perception of wrong doing
- Failure to correct actions leading to continued feelings of resentment
- Dissolution of a relationship due to protracted time experiencing repeated actions leading to feelings of resentment
A friend of mine shared a response to my recent BLOG posts, via another ARTICLE. This article speaks to about the ideology of unconditional love. As has been shared multiple times in my own articles, I have had few intersections with that style of love. I have had a couple of decent examples, but nothing that was felt from my own family.
Many Christians will immediately vomit out Paul’s teachings on what love is, from 1 Corinthians chapter 13. Love is this, love is that, love is not this, love is not that. I am sure many people are familiar with how Paul intertwined his spiritual beliefs with the human attributes of love. It also plays out a script for the martyrs in the near future.
It is a great passage used to guilt people into trying to understand their failings in any type of relationship. The passage itself, fails to speak of resentments. We all think we know what resentments are, but few try to prevent its bold strategy from setting foot in a relationship. Usually, an epiphany must befall the person to quantify their feelings of disloyalty, to the little train that could, resentments.
Often, resentments start their steady march uphill with a set of expectations. You know, expectation, the ideology that you needn’t ask for something you need or want in that moment. Somehow, the person you were dating, married to, gave birth to, struck up a relationship with, failed to read your shitstorm of a mind. You NEEDED this but got that. How dare they fail me so.
Unspoken needs and wants produce problems in all of our relationships. An enlightened person can see the dangers of this. Even if this enlightened person sucks at communication, they know that at the heart of the issue, lays their inability to voice it. Allowing this unspoken need or want to continue using up the mental real estate in our minds, plants seeds of doubt.
When you do not get what we want or need, the doubt seeps in, because our betrothed FAILED to see it. In a Utopian society, it is possible to bestow upon the inhabitants, adequate amounts of clairvoyance. Clairvoyance is the key to all misunderstandings. Then there arises another problem; if we see into the mind (emotional and logical) we see the other doubts cascading into a road towards purgatory.
Clairvoyance isn’t the answer, people. Clairvoyance would be as dicey as allowing anyone to read our private journals, with all of its hatred, vitriol, confusion, depression, anxiety, concern, overpowering love, and proposed compassion. It is implausible to give everyone access to the bank safe. Few people get there for a reason, it would be awfully slutty if everyone had access, wouldn’t it be?
We all have feelings. We have varied degrees of strength with these feelings, that we all have. If we deny the validity of these feelings, we become martyrs, we crucify ourselves more harshly than anyone else can. Acceptance of these feelings has to be in the right frame of mind. We again, as much as I repeat this, have to be honest with ourselves, first and foremost. It is an absolute must.
If there is one thing any one of you should view as the takeaway from this, it is, always strive to be honest with yourself. ALWAYS, ALL WAYS, ALWAYS. There is no excuse for you to lie to yourself. There is no justification for you to continue to underscore problems in your life, because you brought them onto yourself, but you have a ‘reason’ to act that way. I cannot stress this enough: BE HONEST WITH THE PERSON WHO NEEDS TO MATTER THE MOST, YOU!
Back to our feelings. If you lie to yourself about what you are feeling, it is akin to explaining to a friend where blood is pouring out of your abdomen, as merely a papercut, when we can see it as a fatally deep wound. Minimizing your interpretation of something that just happened, even if it is to give someone the benefit of the doubt, betrays your inner consciousness. Our lives are too short to accept bad behaviors, from outside influences, as well as including yourself.
You wake up in the morning, and you find that someone has smashed into your car, outside. You live in a world, where you believe personal accountability is a truce serum (Yes, that is not a typo). You find no note, you only find evidence that someone left a lot of damage on your car and drove away You don your Inspector Gadget hat and do some investigating. You’ve ruled out most of the neighborhood. You happen upon a car a few blocks away, that has the very same color of your car, smeared across the outside of it. Case closed?
No, the case inst closed at all. The juicy part of the investigation is just starting to get good. First, you’ve identified, your car has damage. You’ve ruled out that you caused said damage. Next you explored outside contributants. You’ve ruled out the closest circle of your neighborhood, Now you’ve identified a suspect at one of the outer rings of trusted judgment.
Now, if we allow our expectations and resentments to cascade, we end the case here. We found, what we suspect is the root cause, but HALT the investigation. We now perceive who did what to us. The expectation setup is; the person ought to come tell me they hit my car. That resonate with anyone? Doing the right thing? The person failed to come forward with the offending information.
Once we’ve determined our expectation will not come to fruition, we can devote more time to develop our resentment. The resentment in this case is, we found, what seems to be the car that hit yours. So now, we simply project upon that whole outside circle, that they harbor a criminal. So, instead of blaming the person who was actually driving the car, we blame the whole external neighborhood. OR we blame ourselves for parking the car on the street, knowing full well that it is a high traffic area.
To stop resentments dead in their tracks, we NEED to, we absolutely NEED to reduce our expectations of people. What we perceive is the right thing to do in that moment may not jive with what this person believes is the right thing to do. How do you mete this out? Communicate. If you are an ineffective communicator, then practice the ‘I statements’ that you have heard of in conflict resolution. If we go back to the car damage, a failed ‘I Statement’ would look like this: Those people in that neighborhood all are criminals because they don’t care about others’ stuff.
In this precise moment, you have shifted all blame or failed understanding upon external factors. Then, you have adopted biased behaviors, which will continually feed your biases, until they become prejudices. Once you’ve crested the hill of your new prejudices, you now get to bask in bigotry. We can see the writing on the wall, once this stage hits. This happens when you fail to QUESTION circumstances in your life.
Growing up in a racist home, as a young child, I internally questioned the merit of calling people, who were not white, the denigrated slurs. Why did it hurt me to hear those words? Because I somehow identified that prejudice was at play. Projecting upon the many, the limited anecdotal evidence of others. And this is the precise stage where one needs to recognize the opening quote. This whole debacle is devoid of actual facts. Interpretations fueled this whole conclave of divergent thought.
Internally, we are playing this cat and mouse version of the ‘Blame Game.’ Projected sensations are our perturbed feelings. We are using our feelings, without checking them, to determine who is at fault for what we are experiencing. To use the word, fact, very loosely, due to Nietzsche’s Perspectivism, but the fact of the matter is, our minds conjure shit via the conduit of feelings, which distort what the fuck is actually happening to us.
Just this morning, I came across another prime example of how this Blame Game presents itself, via our biases and feelings. I have a client, whom I provide technology support. They use Microsoft Windows as their operating system. They have some software from a tax vendor that helps simplify the process of entering tax return information. Recently, Microsoft released an update for Windows. This update had some rippling effects.
My client was deeply distraught by these little black boxes appearing in innocuous areas of her printed forms for her own customers. Her knee-jerk reaction was to blame Microsoft. I spoke until I was blue in the face the night before about how it wasn’t Microsoft’s fault for the vendor software (the tax software she has a license for) printing anomalies in forms. This morning, I hear a phone call with one of her customers, where she again reiterated here Blame Game upon Microsoft. It was a distraction from what was actually going on.
The explanar I offered is as follows: Microsoft has thousands of types of computers, laptops, desktop, servers, tablets, mobile devices it builds its software to work with. Microsoft is not responsible for contacting the vendor of each of these manufacturers to validate their new update will still maintain functionality. Now, we bring in some statistical analysis. What I was talking about was statistical combination.
That’s just hardware devices that you can interact with. We haven’t even cracked the eggshell of the added hardware components that ought to work with the Windows Operating System. So we have a set of X manufacturers. Then we add a whole set of extra (Y) devices/hardware, from other manufacturers. we can use WITH Microsoft Windows computer. This get us into statistical permutations. There are formulae to help determine the possible combinations of hardware computers with the permutations of hardware devices.
Now we further complicate this, by adding in ALL of the possible vendors who work with and rely on Microsoft to allow their applications to function in the Windows Operating System environment. More permutations. More permutations in a mutually inclusive scope. It’s easy to apply mutually exclusivity, by citing the Operating Systems that neither the hardware nor the software would work with. The bottom line here, is the number is mind-bogglingly gargantuan to think of all the hardware manufactures of computers, hardware components, and software vendors who work with Microsoft.
Microsoft provides an update for their Windows Operating System, and this can break functionality in certain permutations. What does that mean? Well, let us take this very example into account. The tax software now prints out innocuous anomalies in the forms emanating from the tax software. The first rule of humanity is to point the finger at that which is unknown. In this case, the emotional disturbance was, in fact, wholly Microsoft’s fault. But, was it really?
Enter the speech quantifying the blame directly onto the vendors plate. Microsoft provides an update, to patch a possible security breach or a larger problem many users have been complaining about, for the greatest good. Microsoft cannot possibly reach out to each and every hardware/software vendor to have these companies validate the update will not impact their interactivity with Windows. If you think that is possible, stop reading my articles, as you are stagnant. Maybe People magazine is more to your predilections.
The onus falls squarely on EACH and EVERY one of the hardware/software vendors to rectify problems their subset of Microsoft Windows customers experience as a direct result of using the hardware/software. Again, the blame, essentially, falls directly on each vendor who has partnered with Microsoft. They have a litany of software developers and quality assurance and control operatives. The vendor, I can pretty much guarantee, did not enter an infinite blood signed contract with Microsoft, for Microsoft to fix the problems their updates, could wreak with the vendors products.
Ok, lets break away from this technical talk. What is all of this saying? Our emotions get the better of us. In the car accident and Microsoft examples, there were unrealistic expectations placed upon those who had little control to fulfill said expectations. Our feelings start issuing silent citations, with our lack of confidence. That citation starts feeding the resentment machine. Then comes the seaport of resentments. You know, the HARBOR(ing) of resentments.
If we understand this about ourselves, why do we continue to agree to relationships? This is a broken aspect of human nature. Negotiations break down because one side feels they are giving more than the other, in the spirit of compromise. Those are feelings, they are our biases, they are our emotional baggage. We have this expectation that shit needs to be (un)fair. Why did I just use that parenthetical un? Think about it. You place an unspoken expectation upon another person, business, culture, society, of just the population, as a whole. Do you really think that your expectation can be fulfilled without you saying, ‘hey, I am empty here, I need this action to not feel so empty?’
My aforementioned article, linked at the top, speaks to the level of judgmentalism that is pervasive in our minds. In this Ouroboros, who is the mouth and who is the tail? Think long and hard about that. This infinite loop must start somewhere. Where was the genesis of your expectation, that fed the harbor of resentment, that lead to judging people based on the database in your mind of human interactions? Was this really a learned behavior, or a defense mechanism implemented from that cold whore we know as LIFE?
When you reflect on your relationships, close, topical, or anywhere in between, with your circle of friends and family, do you recognize those resentments, based out of fear and emotion? What have they done for you? Did they give you a deeper appreciation for that person in your life? Or did you qualify the resentment as, ‘ahhh, just another disposable person. They are not worth the fight.’
If you have followed my blog, starting in March 2021, in the throes of the pandemic, you should see patterns emerge. People so callously throw deserving people off to the side, because of being too challenging. Removing toxicity from your life AND mind. Take personal accountability. Do the right thing. Appreciate the sordid battles in life you’ve experienced. Don’t lie to yourself.
Feelings, for the most part, are to be validated. We all cannot be robots. I think living with robots would make life easier, until we juxtapose our uniquities against binary rule of law. We all over-complicate our lives. What we are left with are permutations, when we amalgamate other people in our lives, who are as complicated. Think about that for a moment. Multiplying your complications by the person in your life’s complications. The result should be staggering.
This isn’t a ‘feel good about yourself’ article. I, personally, do not give one iota of a shit about how you feel. I cannot possibly absorb your subset of feelings on any given day. As selfish as it sounds, I have to take care of ‘number one.’ That HAS to be said callously. The information I dispense of here, isn’t to make you feel good about yourself. It cannot possibly encompass your feelings. It is a verbose means of getting people to do the right thing at all times. Being selfish has become the greatest export this world has marketed.
I was born a natural born polemic. I am a challenging person. Not because I enjoy it. I mean, Dear GOD, I fucking hate this ride, but yet I continue. So many times, on any given day, I want to be consumed by calla lilies. I challenge myself to be better, which in turn challenges others around me to become better too. I am not saying that everyone around me wants to be better upon first sight of me. I am saying, anyone that knows me, knows I will not stand for someone who does not want to become better today than they were yesterday.
The most imperative combined message of today is: recognize when resentments start to take hold. In doing so, be honest with yourself. Determine WHY you feel so strongly about a missed fulfilled expectation by an outside entity. Once you’ve honestly self-reflected, come to the table with a willingness to compromise, but still talk out the issue with the ‘secretly cited’ person.
If they offer no meaningful willingness to resolve the issue, then yes, that is toxic, and it needs to be dispensed of. If they hear from you, your honest assessment, and believe you are worth the ‘fight’ to become better, then you better fucking appreciate that. In our cultures, if you are not easy, you are expendable. It takes moxie and drive to want to work through problems and using honesty.
Honesty does NOT make it factual. NO AMOUNT OF FEELINGS YOU FEEL are facts. Never intimate that someone needs to take your feelings as the holy grail of truth. Our feelings, without fail, belie us. If you think I am wrong about that, reflect on the car accident and Microsoft analogy. In the real life Microsoft example, that which was unknown, an update, was the crux of the issue, so therefore Microsoft created the vortex of intractable problems. Those feelings laid waste to a foundation laid in quicksand.
Appreciate how vast your mind works. Evaluate your interpretations of situations. Come to the table willing to compromise. Always pursue growth. Never allow yourself to grow stagnant. I watched the movie, ‘I Am Legend’ last night. I was struck by how dystopian this was, how much effort the protagonist put into staying in peak physical shape. Why would he do that, it’s just him and a horde of pharmacological induced zombies. His goal was to cure. A greater good outside of own benefit. He had to fight off these zombies, in order to continue his research. In order to continue testing, he had to be stronger than his opponent.
The mental exercise of being honest with yourself, is a daily struggle. There are many people whose minds rarely shut down. Thinking through theoretical conversations with another person, thinking through theories that someone else presented, or just wondering how the Kardashians are doing. We should be grateful for our minds. Regardless of the trauma one has experienced, it still isn’t a solid excuse to be a shit to the rest of the world. Thinking about the abuse and resolving NOT to be like that, but to overcome, takes incredible drive. It takes compassion.
Remove your expectations, I cannot stress it enough. Once you do, you produce an obstacle course for future resentments. Find ways to become an effective communicator. Use your ‘I Statement’s’ to take ownership of your fuck-ups in life. You will make it far easier to work with amongst those that absolutely need to see integrity in their fellow (wo)man. If you love your resentments, like a used care salesman loves every car on a lot, then you’ve doomed yourself to the destiny of hamster-wheeling the rest of your life.
This is one of my longer articles. As always, I welcome any constructive criticism, or complementary theories, analogies, anecdotes. I would love to hear if you find these edicts of challenge useful or utter horseshit. Similar to the 90’s when the catchphrase, ‘Be Kind, Rewind’ was hailed as marketing genius. I need to come up with one that invites you to either subscribe, via WordPress or via email, like posts, or even comment on posts. The immediate feedback is useful for anyone. Thank you very much for reading through all of this drivel. Be well, stay safe, AND stay sane!