For as long as I can remember, I’ve been taking part in an annual forty-day period of spiritual self-examination called Lent.
I totally understand why Mardi Gras fulfills the need to “party on” before opening the door to forty days of denial.
Growing up, Lent meant it was time to give up something I loved. Memories of
torture resurface as I recall giving up ice cream, candy in the cafeteria, mom’s homemade cookies (hold on, I have to run and get a tissue), going to the movies, and giving up my allowance for the rice bowl donation box.
A reprieve came during my high school years when it was suggested I perform good deeds benefiting my family, church or community.
With maturity came the realization that performing both self-sacrifice and good deeds enhanced my overall spiritual life.
Friends, I think author Wayne Dyer came up with a way to combine both options in one self-sacrificed good deed.
In his book, 10 Secrets for Success and Inner Peace (Hay House, Inc.), I realized his seventh secret combined both options into one simple act.
His seventh secret is: there are no justified resentments.
While sitting in on an Alcoholic Anonymous meeting, Dyer noted, “Regardless of what anyone would say to another group member, no matter how confrontational or ugly the accusations, each person was reminded that there are no justified resentments. You may need to consider whom you resent before you can make your own choice about whether this is useful for you. Resentments give you an excuse to return to your old ways. This is what got you there in the first place.”
He goes on further saying, “Removing blame means never assigning responsibility to anyone for what you’re experiencing. It means that you’re willing to say, ‘I may not understand why I feel this way, why I have this illness, why I’ve been victimized, or why I had this accident, but I’m willing to say without any guilt or resentment that I own it. I live with, and I am responsible for, having it in my life.’ Why do this? If you take responsibility for having it, then at least you have a chance to also take responsibility for removing it or learning from it.”
After reading what Dyer wrote, it made me realize that when you give up resentment, you’re doing a “good deed” by letting some poor soul(s) in your family, neighborhood, church congregation or community off the hook.
Suddenly the act of giving up resentment makes giving up sweets look like a “walk in the park.”
Regardless, Dyer’s thoughts are directing us to surrender our past resentment and to make a commitment to taking the higher road during any future issues.
With self-actualization as your goal, Dyer says, “you must be willing to send the higher, faster energies of love, peace, joy, forgiveness, and kindness as your response to whatever comes your way. This is the start of the uncrowded extra mile where you have only love to give away.”
As planted resentment grows in our lives, we run the risk of developing a resentment addiction. Pull any resentment out of your life from its roots, discard them and watch love, acceptance and joy grow in its place.
Originally Published in The Bay City Tribune on February 21, 2016