How *Not* to Resent

I see resentment as one of our worst evils. Similarly speaking, I’ve heard resentment is the #1 cause of divorces in marriages and pain in relationships.

Certainly we cannot control whether others resent us or not, but we can control orienting ourselves and acting and living in such a way which we don’t resent others. Some thoughts:

Selfishness and self-motivation is good.

My theory:

The root of resentment is this (supposedly) ‘selfless’ sense of sacrifice for others (but we don’t have others appreciate us as much as we *should* be appreciated).

For example, if for my whole life I sacrifice for my son, but when he gets older he doesn’t appreciate my sacrifices that I did for him, I will probably resent him (in the typical school of thought). Instead, when I sacrifice for him, I recognize that it is partly self-motivated:

I see my son as an extension of myself, and thus whatever I ‘sacrifice’ to help him develop and further himself is actually (indirectly) beneficial to myself.

Don’t be a foolish selfless person

To blindly sacrifice everything for others is foolish. To give to an ingrate is also a bad idea. I forget who said it (perhaps Nassim Taleb) who has a concept like:

Only give to those who would also (if they could) give to others.

Often we give to those in need, and of course when those in need are in need, they cannot give to others. But assuming that person in need suddenly fell into money, ask yourself — would that individual give to others if that were the case?

Speak your mind

Another realization:

Perhaps in some ways to be stoic and to restrain your thoughts and feelings is foolish, when your presumptions about the other is wrong.

For example, in the past (and present) I have gotten angry at Cindy or others for a *presumption* I made on what someone said or did. But in fact, I *MIS-INTERPRETED* their words or actions. Thus I was the fool. As a simple heuristic, when you get offended by someone else, before passing judgment just ask them:

“What do you mean by that?”


“Why did you say that?”

In this way, at least you can put the ball in their court, and let them explain themselves. And if they were in fact trying to offend you, at least you have the correct information and understanding of their intent.

The goal is to live without resentment

In order to have great love, one must also have great hate. But I see no room for resentment; a waste of energy and time.



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