Our moods reveal the world to us, showing us what in other circumstances would remain hidden from view.

But not all moods are equally disclosive. Some moods have the world contract, hiding more from us than they reveal, leaving us with a much smaller space for action, for relationship, for possibility.

Resentment is just such a mood.

It shows you your supposed superiority – all the ways you’re right, all the ways you’ve been wronged, all the ways you’re meant to be getting what you want, all the ways to take revenge.

It distances you from others. And if directed at life, distances you from life. It’s riddled with arguments about why this should be the case – what you’re owed, the unfairness of it all. And its arguments wrap themselves around one another to form a tight knot in your body, in your mind – a knot that can shield you from looking at any of this in a different way.

Just about anything can be a source for resentment, if you’ll let it. It will draw your attention to everything you’re entitled to, and everything you apparently didn’t get. Love, money, status, respect, honour, a promotion, security, recognition, success, your way.

And although resentment can injure anyone, its biggest harm is to you as its sponsor as it twists you, hardens you, separates you from others. It’s like a knife turned back on yourself, like drinking poison with the misguided idea that it will cause someone else to die.

So noticing it’s resentment is vital, because it makes the world so small, so tightly sealed. And it’s doubly important to look, because resentment is wily. It disguises itself to look like anger, like boredom, like resignation, like a righteous principled stand. It’s none of these.

When you catch on to your own resentment, you’ll begin to find out the ways you’re responsible for it, and all the ways you’re cultivating it. And then, perhaps then, you’ll have the courage to let it go and find somewhere to stand that’s more honest about your part in things, kinder to yourself and others, more connecting, and more filled with possibility.

 Photo Credit: Creativity+ Timothy K Hamilton via Compfight cc