“Bitterness and resentment only hurt one person, and it’s not the person we’re resenting – it’s us.” Alana Stewart


Today, I am super tired. My son has growing pains (literally) and needed someone to rub his achy knees at two in the morning. That coupled with a late-night movie I HAD to see end- have left me feeling wiped out and drained. I’m pretty sure given the chance , a 20-minute power nap would quickly become a four hour luxury lie down. Needless to say, I am a bit edgy. But I am aware of those feelings and I know why I feel this way so I have a tendency to let things roll off of me because I understand the source.

This afternoon, our high school musical group performed a twenty minute preview of their upcoming show; we were allowed to bring our classes down during our extend time to watch the performance. It’s a privilege not a requirement for us to take them there; I know how talented our kids are, so it was perfect for me to give them some support.

Well, as soon as we sat down, I had a row of boys who talked, laughed, and carried on. I gave them the evil teacher eye look. No luck. I quietly shushed them. Nope. No response. I stated firmly, “Gentlemen. It’s proper theater etiquette to refrain from distracting the audience and perhaps the players.” This worked a bit; the curtain opened, and the preview began.

Those assholes laughed and talked throughout most of their performance. While I was still able to hear and to enjoy their show onstage, I was miffed. These are the same boys who demand respect because they play football. I don’t have anything against athletes; I was a three-sport athlete myself in high school. But I am against rude.

Afterwards, I spoke to them and gave them the yadda yadda yadda about being leaders and being respectful. Off they went- not caring a fiddle what I said.

Enter resentment and bitterness- my two friends I love to hate. They show up out of nowhere, eat all my food, trash my house, linger far too long, and I have to literally kick them out of my house before they will leave. I need to change the locks.

Feeling the way I did needed to be tracked back to why. First, I was in a position of authority, and they blew me off which is annoying. Next, I was correcting their behavior not for my benefit, but for them to be able to do the right thing and to be supportive of something other than themselves. Furthermore, the kids in the musical work tremendously hard for three solid months and a little recognition would be appreciated.

But for me to feel bitter? What was that all about? I guess it boils down to people in this world who expect, feel entitled and demand when it’s their turn but who in turn are oblivious to the needs of others. If that doesn’t define a late stage alcoholic, I don’t know what does. I do not like in others what took me 44 years to recognize I was doing. Something we are told in AA is “to keep our side of the street clean.” When I am feeling bitterness and resentment, I am not on my side of the street; I am down the street, a half block over running to the next neighborhood. How they behave is none of my business; how I behave is. How they treat others is not my problem; how I treat those same “others” is. I have to ask myself if I am coming from a place of love, then I do I really have bitterness in my heart? I do not; I can not.

In the long run, when I stew over something that has happened, chances are the other person

a. doesn’t care

b. has forgotten

c. has no idea what I am talking about

The damage is to me. To my core. To my inner identity. This is where deep breathing and long pauses have become my ally. I have to ask myself if harboring negative energy is worth it in the long run. I know it is not because if I do not release it right away, it will park itself right on my couch and hang out, creep into the back bedroom, and slowly make its way into my storage closet. Cleaning closets is never fun. No. It’s best for me not to open the door but to instead change the locks and the turn the music up.

Today, I am so grateful to be able to let go to the universe the things I cannot change and to know my limits and what my part is.

 

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