If you have ever been in a failed relationship, — whether it be a lover, friend or family member — then this post is for you.
And if you have not, this post may mean something to you, too. Because we all let our ego get in the way sometimes…
I am not naturally a mean person. I know that may sound weird to some of you; You may ask, “Who is?” But what I mean by that is that my first instinct in a tricky situation is not to be mean; and if it is, I usually fail miserably. I stutter and my legs get shaky and I know that all of the words that are coming out of my mouth are not of my true nature.
And that just makes me more upset.
But I have, as of late, being feeling a great resentment growing inside me; feelings of anger just keep pushing their way through to my conscious efforts. Like many of you, I have been presented with a few situations — one to be specific — in my life that I really do not know how to handle. And while I am consistently engaged in an internal battle of how to better work through these feelings, I just do not know how. I tell myself to move on and appreciate the wonderful life that surrounds me each day, and, don’t get me wrong, I do. But somehow — more often than I would prefer — the feelings manage to creep their way back into my life.
To be specific without being specific: I am at a point in my life where I no longer know how to deal with a relationship that began its failure a long, long time ago. The thing is, in some way or another, it is a constant presence in my life, and my inability to move forward makes that presence more and more difficult.
I have conversations with myself all the time. I am brushing my teeth (or trying to fall asleep or writing this post right now) and having conversations with the said failed relationship. I have nightmares about arguments, and I have dreams about peace treaties. Sometimes, I want to make everything better, and other times I wish I could just let it all go … or yell or scream. And sometimes, I cry. But other days, like now, I just feel angry.
And maybe a bit sad.
When I feel like this, I can often consult someone who is close to me, and he or she can talk some sense into me for the time being. But, often times, I also look for answers from someone who has no hand in the situation; someone who does not know Caroline Shannon, and will not be partial to her feelings.
Someone who seems much wiser than me.
I was sitting on my couch today, when I remembered reading a passage about resentment in Eckhart Tolle’s A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose.
In the chapter, titled The Core of Ego, he writes:
“Resentment is the emotion that goes with complaining and the mental labeling of people and adds even more energy to the ego. Resentment means to feel bitter, indignant, aggrieved, or offended. You resent other people’s greed, their dishonesty, their lack of integrity, what they are doing, what they did in the past, what they said, what they failed to do, what they should or shouldn’t have done. The ego loves it. Instead of overlooking unconsciousness in others, you make it into their identity. Who is doing that? The unconsciousness in you, the ego. Sometimes the “fault” that you perceive in another isn’t even there. It is a total misinterpretation, a projection by a mind conditioned to see enemies and to make itself right or superior. At other times, the fault may be theirs, but by focusing on it, sometimes to the exclusion of everything else, you amplify it. And what you react to in another, you strengthen in yourself.”
In a moment of anger the other day, my mother said to me, “Stop allowing someone else’s behavior to dictate who you are. This is not you. The truth is, if you were in any other situation, you would not be reacting this way. Don’t let this person change you.”
At first, I resented — no pun intended — her words. But, of course, like many words of mom-wisdom, I knew she was right. And this is what Tolle means when he says, “At other times, the fault may be theirs, but by focusing on it, sometimes to the exclusion of everything else, you amplify it. And what you react to in another, you strengthen in yourself.”
I don’t want to be that person; that person who allows another person’s actions to have an affect on her own.
Tolle says, “The ego loves to complain and feel resentful not only about other people but also about situations. What you can do to a person, you can also do to a situation: make it into an enemy. The implication is always: This should not be happening; I don’t want to be here; I don’t want to be doing this; I’m being treated unfairly. And the ego’s greatest enemy of all is, of course, the present moment, which is to say, life itself.”
I know for sure that my personal struggle with this particular situation is not yet over. I think a bit more time is in order before I can fully move forward. The internal battle will continue; the “What if I would have done ______?” or “Why do I care at all about this?!”
But I do hope that I can begin to work toward letting go. The situation is, sadly, irreparable. There have been too many hurt feelings, lies, convoluted thoughts, decisions about how one person thinks the other person is …
At least, it hurts for me.
And whether it is my ego or my personality, I do not know. But I do hope that I can, someday, …