Do You Harbor Bitterness?

If so, this is classified in psychology as resentment.  When it comes to human emotions, you may be wondering to yourself “what is resentment?” By definition it is bitter indignation at having been treated unfairly.  It is also known as bitterness, and is the basic foundation of hatred.  It involves disgust, sadness, and surprise in the sense of the perception of injustice.  It additionally combines the feelings of fear, anger, and disappointment.

It means you exercise emotional punishment toward someone internally when actual punishment can’t be exercised externally.  Basically, you set up a law-court in your heart, since an actual law-court is unfeasible.  Resentment is an emotionally debilitating condition that, when unresolved, can have a variety of negative results on the person experiencing it, including touchiness or edginess when thinking of the person resented, denial of anger or hatred against this person, and provocation or anger arousal when this person is recognized positively.  It can also have more long-term effects, such as the development of a hostile, cynical, sarcastic attitude that may become a barrier against other healthy relationships, lack of personal and emotional growth, difficulty in self-disclosure, trouble trusting others, loss of self-confidence, and overcompensation.

To further compound these negative effects, resentment often functions in a downward spiral. This means that even though you started out angry at one person or event, the anger and resentment will grow strong enough through the years to be directed not only at an individual or event, but at any other people around you.

Recent research studies have indeed shown that persistently feeling resentful toward others can affect not only our mental health, but our physical health as well.  Yes, bitterness can make us sick!  It’s not an official diagnosis yet, but health care professionals have a term for it: post-traumatic embitterment disorder or PTED.  Often, people who won’t or can’t seem to forgive are diagnosed with this.  Psychologist Dr Carsten Wrosch from Concordia University in Montreal, Canada confirms this by saying, “persistent bitterness may result in global feelings of anger and hostility that, when strong enough, could affect a person’s physical health.”

Here is what happens; the bitterness you harbor, the emotional punishment you exact in your heart, has precisely the opposite effect, over time, than you think.  Bitterness does nothing to the offender, while it quietly destroys the offended.  By reliving the pain over and over again, it prevents us from healing, and it stops us from moving on with our lives.  Letting go of our anger and resentment toward other people is not for them, but for us.  Learning to tend to our wounds and forgive is a gift we give to ourselves.

It is clear that this emotion fulfills an important function: to disguise from themselves the extent to which their own decisions and conduct have been responsible for their unhappiness. People prefer the role of immaculate victim of circumstance to that of principal author of their own misery.

There is a kind of sour pleasure or even a bitter happiness in such resentment, whatever the object it happens to attach itself to.  With many people it becomes almost a vocation or a way of life.  They revolve the injustices from which they believe they have suffered around in their heads almost like a mantra.  They find the repetition reassuring: for something that is untrue attains an aura of truth if it is repeated often enough.

As Don Miguel Ruiz points out, “Nothing other people do is because of you. It is because of themselves.” Conversely, nothing we do is because of other people, it is because of self.  No one can “make” us angry; we are just looking for reasons to project our anger.  It is all about us.  Understanding this puts us in charge of ourselves, not victims of the person whom we are blaming.  We can change ourselves, we can’t change them.  It is a spiritual axiom that every time we are disturbed, no matter what the cause, there is something wrong with us, and that is the empowering fact that allows us to resign from victimhood.

So how do we stop the blame game? I think immediate action is called for.  Forgiveness is a pathway out of resentment.  Unforgiveness is subjective, judgmental, arrogant and it is a demonstration of a lack of love.  When we are unwilling to forgive, we choose powerlessness by denying responsibility for our thoughts, beliefs and feelings.   Forgiveness is objective and suspends judgment, returning us to love and acceptance.

If you are ready to live in a world without fear or judgment, A Return to Love Online Course by Marianne Williamson might be just the catalyst you need to get there.  Creating a rich, fulfilled life is a choice – and this course will teach you how to let go of the past through forgiveness and start your healing process.

Using the teachings in A Course in Miracles, you’ll learn that at the deepest level you are love and that living from this space will change your life forever. When you are able to relinquish a thought system based in fear and accept one that is based in love, you can attain inner peace. You will no longer be at the effect of the chaos in our world. Instead, you’ll be able to relax and feel the love in every situation you encounter. You will be able to set aside negative energy in order to find success and fulfillment. When you give yourself to love, this spiritual surrender will raise your personal power, improving everything in your life. We were put on this earth to love but somewhere along the way we got lost.

Marianne Williamson has studied and taught the principles in A Course in Miracles for more than 30 years. In her A Return to Love Online Course, she offers you a way to discover miracles from the comfort of your own home by employing the simple phrase, “I am willing to see this differently.”  Using true stories from her own life and the lives of people she has worked with, she shows just how love and forgiveness can create meaningful change in both your personal world and the world at large.  You’ll be inspired by Marianne’s emotional and thought-provoking insights, and soon you will be able to apply the powerful principles of A Course in Miracles regularly in your own life.

How can A Return to Love Online Course improve your life?

In Marianne’s lessons, you’ll:

  • See the power of love as the solution to all your problems
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  • Get rid of self-defeating behaviors
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  • Generate abundance and success by changing your behaviors and judgments of wealth
  • Spread love and kindness to those around you to create a positive, uplifting world

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