How Resentments Hinder Us from Letting Love In

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We hold onto resentments in an attempt to protect ourselves from future hurt; however, these resentments impact our ability to let love in now. We tend to try to make up for our past “mistakes” by avoiding people who look or sound similar to our exes. Instead of opening up, we work hard at weeding out. For example, if you were hurt in a relationship with someone who was controlling in nature, you may think that the solution is to find a new person who is passive. If someone was a “taker,” you may try to home in on “givers.” Discernment, learning from experience, and having criteria are certainly part of the cure, but if we don’t address our past resentment and the underlying fear, we will find ourselves in Groundhog Day.*

Why? Because our spirits will not let us avoid whatever our lessons are. Have you ever said, “I thought s/he was so different from my ex, but s/he turned out to be just the same.” Of course! Our spirits wouldn’t have it any other way even if our minds would. We will attract the same issue in different disguises to give our spirits another opportunity to heal.

Therefore, instead of thinking of dating or love as a game of “dodge ball,” we can examine what our part was in the past that made us unhappy and resentful. Did you mute yourself instead of speaking up? Did you allow someone to undermine your confidence? Did you let yourself be manipulated?

Give yourself compassion and forgive yourself for anything you did that was damaging to your spirit. You now have the power to choose not only the type of person you wish to be with but also the type of person you wish to become.

*Reference is to the film with Bill Murray. In my book, Enough Is Enough!, I talk about the movie or what I call “enlightenment wrapped in the guise of a comedy.”

Ask Jane Column

I hope you enjoy this opportunity to have your questions and issues addressed by me personally. Feel free to write to me with your issue. And if you’d like to talk with me on my Ask Jane Radio Show, let me know.

Dear Jane,

In the course of several days, my happy (I thought) relationship turned into my partner leaving me (after committing us to $20,000 in debt) the day before I went into the hospital for major surgery; I was left without her financial contribution to the household and her help while I was recuperating, not to mention that I was now saddled with the debts she incurred for us (PROMISING – even signing a promissory note- that it would be her debt) at a time when I was unable to work for three months. Then she kidnapped my daughter and waged an incredibly cruel public and internet campaign to discredit me.  To escape collections, she mobilized herself with the Navy to Afghanistan.  How’s that for betrayal?  She’s made “emotional amends” to an extent, but no financial. Yet.               –Betrayed

Dear Betrayed,

First, realize that when someone does something venomous like publicly defaming you, they do it to try to numb a painful wound within themselves. The only way she believed that she could feel better was by making you feel worse. Cruelty gives a momentary surge of power to someone who feels weak inside. To stop suffering further from her actions and to heal your bitterness, you need to stop taking her actions personally.

If she has not paid you back financially, this is because she is trying to remain important to you in the only way she knows how. Think of her the way you would a child who is acting out for attention. If someone has low self-esteem, they often feel invisible. Your resentment lets her know that you’re still thinking about her. This feeds her need to be special. To stop feeding that, feel the regret underneath your resentment.

My guess is that you had some intuition about her potential behavior but chose to ignore it. That doesn’t mean that you deserved to be betrayed. It does mean that you need to forgive yourself for not listening to your inner voice. Focus on giving yourself compassion rather than wasting your emotional energy on resentment.

Finally, let this painful experience help you discover your own negative beliefs. We choose our relationships “perfectly” in the sense that we pull in the lessons we need for our healing. Take some time to ask yourself, “How did she fit with my beliefs about relationships? My value? How I expected to be treated?” You have an opportunity to question the authority of these old beliefs and to affirm new beliefs that support your self-worth. This work will help you create more trustworthy relationships. You deserve this!

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