Resentment & Disappointment

By Jim Selman | Bio


Resentment and disappointment are two of the most unproductive
(if not counter-productive)

moods we can have.

Resentment kills relationship. It is a mood that has embedded in it an accusatory frame of mind that someone or something is ‘against’ what we believe or want and will continue to be a threat in the future. Resentment is a mixture of fear, anger, lack of responsibility and entitlement that the world be the way we want it to be. Disappointment is pretty much the same, without the anger and accusation. In both cases, we’re relating to the world as if the circumstance is the cause of how we feel—the cause of our moods.

One of the things I have learned about moods is that, aside from the seeming ‘feeling’ component they convey, they are also a universal phenomenon that is always present for us as human beings. For example, moods create a context (or background) for whatever is going on in our lives, like a soundtrack on a movie. They also are involuntary and are generally ‘triggered’ (although sometimes we also have ‘chronic’ moods as a consequence of culture or particular histories). For example, the Russian mood of melancholy is usually in the background even when Russian people are happy and celebrating something.

Moods are also transportable and universal. If we’re in a bad mood, we can take it with us wherever we go and it will tend to ‘color’ everything. Of course we all recognize that moods are contagious and it only takes one really negative person to infect a whole room of people. Now imagine the impact of a 100 million or so simultaneous bad moods. It can be a downer for everyone.

So here is a challenge. Next time you find yourself taking sides on an issue and coming out on the winning side, go out of your way to connect with someone who was on the losing side and just acknowledge their disappointment. Ask them to be open and supportive of whoever/whatever has won and apologize if you did or said anything that they found offensive. DON’T BE A POOR WINNER. Acknowledge the effort and intentions of the other view and listen generously if they want to rail against the winning side or defend the losing perspective. Resisting someone else’s resentment can only make it worse. The price it will extract is more than anyone can afford. Generosity doesn’t cost anything.

So when it comes to contentious issues, let’s stand together, let go of any residual resentment or disappointment, and take action together to create a future that can work for all of us.

© 2010 Jim Selman. All rights reserved.

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