Monday, August 01, 2011

Pinpricks of resentment, flames of anger

The other night I had a really hard time going to sleep. It’s not atypical for me to take a little while to wind down before bed, especially considering the full day I had, but normally I would at least feel tired at the end of a long day like I had. After a full day at work I had to come home, pack up all my music equipment, haul it to set up for Oakfest at the mall, play guitar in public for three hours, pack up, catch a late-night showing of "Captain America" and still unpack everything when I got home at some point past midnight.

So I was a little surprised when I turned down the lights in my house in hope of sleep and none came. My body lay perfectly still on top of my bed but my mind kept turning over and over and over.

All I wanted to do was sit and reflect on the fun I had playing and the quality time I spent with friends. Good experiences. Yet all I kept feeling were nagging feelings of anger and pinpricks of resentment. They kept me from relaxing and sleep seemed all but impossible.

I wasn’t sure where these feelings of bitterness kept coming from but I couldn’t shake them. I found myself attaching these feelings to different people and situations in my life like pinning needles on a voodoo doll.

I didn’t like what I was seeing so I turned to a time of reflection and prayer. I looked at my life over the past few weeks and started picking up on a pattern. In different circumstances with different people I continually saw the same game over and over – a sick version of pin-the-tail-on-the-donkey, except with feelings of anger, resentment and bitterness pegged on unsuspecting friends.

Why?

It was easy to pick up a reason to be angry. It’s amazing how many things friends and family and co-workers can say or do that I could allow myself to build into anger. It might be the way one person favors another friend or makes an off-hand comment or calls at just the wrong time that I can fan into a huge flame of anger. When we allow our minds to dwell on bitter feelings, it becomes very easy for an ember of resentment to be sparked by jealousy into a raging wildfire.

So again… Why?

I kept asking myself why it was so easy to find bitter thoughts lurking in my heart. I reflected for a long time until the answer spilled out right in front of me.

Me.

That’s the person I’ve been so angry at this whole time. It’s the friend I really want to blame for everything. It’s the other person I can’t forgive for what they’ve done to damage me.

Me.

The realization struck so deep inside that the tears just poured out.

Choices in my life and recent past have been marked with consequences with which I have to live. If you ask the friends that know me best, they’ll tell you that I love to play the blame game. If I can possibly find a way to pin the blame on someone else, I’ll pass the buck each and every time.

So that night I made the choice to let it go. I began to let go of the self-hatred that I was trying to place on everyone else. I recognized how easy it was for me to get upset at any negative situation in my life because I secretly felt like it was completely my fault. I felt that any negative consequence was punishment for my decisions and I tried my hardest to deflect the guilt by getting angry at others.

But I realize now that being angry at others or taking on all the shame on myself does not help. It only breeds more bitterness and insecurity.

So I'm learning to let it go. I'm learning to accept forgiveness. I'm learning how to recognize and manage angry feelings.

And from time to time I'll continue to share with all of you the things I'm learning as I go. Look for more in the future.

Thanks for reading.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Love the honesty!

ibmelodious said...

Sounds like a major step forward! Congrats...God is pretty great to us when we let him be awesome. :)

Rebecca said...

Loved it! Cant wait to read more. THank you for being so honest with us all and yourself!