Throughout my life’s experience, I have come to believe that many of my reactions to people, places and situations have been impacted by previous experience. These reactions may be the result of specific smells, sounds or situations that were associated with some event or person from my past. Consequently, I may find myself reacting in such a way that has little to do with my present circumstances. These imprinted memories can come flooding forward, sometimes without warning. Such memories can hinder my ability to grow and mature.
For sake of a better word, I will call these triggers. Triggers bring about specific responses sometimes consciously, but more often from the unconscious level. I have also found that many reactions to present day events can be traced to unfinished business from my past. This unfinished business can be linked to a variety of events, people, institutions and so on. The common thread that links me to those unsettled experiences is my resentment. I have heard that expectations are premeditated resentments. These resentments may be buried under a world of pain that has been hidden under a pile of disappointments. Having these resentments is likened to drinking poison and hoping that the person that I am resentful towards dies.
The reality is that resentments undermine my ability to make healthy decisions. Rather than being proactive for my own good, I become reactive. When I find myself reacting, I am usually trying to force a solution. I have also found that when I am trying to force a solution, I usually create more pain for myself. I have also seen how resentments can negatively alter the course of someone else’s life. I only have to turn on the news to see the ramifications of holding resentments.
With this insight, I realize that it is in my best interest to be rigorously honest with myself. Practically speaking, this means that I need to make a list of the people that I have held resentments towards over the years. Work, school, institutions and church can be an excellent place to look for these resentments. I also need to place myself on this list. This exercise is not done to blame anyone, or to berate myself, but to look for patterns. Through becoming aware of those patterns, I am able understand why I react to events in my life. In so doing, I can be relieved from the debilitating effects that resentment has on my life.
Until I examine these patterns, I will continue to find myself reliving pain from my past expectations through current events. These triggers will remain set until I do the work to remove them from my conscious and unconscious mind. I also need to remember that I am ultimately responsible for how I chose to react or respond to any event. The way that I chose to respond or react will invariably produce outcomes. My choice will either promote my empowerment or will leave me believing I am a victim.
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