Resentment & Expectations: The Importance of Giving Up a Part of Our Identity to Grow

by | Jan 11, 2021 | Aligned Actions and Practices

Happy Monday, Women & Womxn!

I’ve rewritten the intro to this post many times already, because this is a subject that gets some press, so to speak. It’s easy to look up a quote about resentment and tape it to a mirror. But when we “don’t want to have it,” it can be hard to process and release what hurts sometimes. And while we all would like to have the “right mindset” for daily living—there are times we just aren’t feeling it, because something’s already there:

Resentment. One word with a deep meaning. And as most of us know resentment can build up. I’ve been there; people I’ve cared for and worked with have been there. How about you?

When we hold on to resentment emotionally or physically, for months or even years, we can feel these proverbial weights on our shoulders or knots in our guts. Maybe you feel it less physically and more emotionally yourself—it can be held on to in many ways.

Obviously, it’s a rather unpleasant feeling, but we can get so used to it if it becomes, over time, a part of our identity.

What do you mean, Virginia? I don’t identify with resentment…

  • Do you hold on to grudges?
  • What about perfectionism or unrealistic expectations?
  • Or covert feelings of self-righteousness?

This could be just my perspective, but I’ve lived in all three of the above experiences myself and there tended to be a lingering feeling: resentment.

For example and with full disclosure, as an identified womxn I totally dislike patriarchy. I get angry about national and global inequalities, trafficking, others’ suffering… You name it, I’ve most likely been feisty about it, Friends. Years ago, I was so resentful that I didn’t know what to believe in, faith-wise; and almost harder to acknowledge is that I thought I was a friggin’ happy-go-lucky-yoga-doing-hippie. But, deep down, there were pieces of resentment, anger, and expectations that didn’t need to exist, as they blocked progress. I won’t go into why those pieces were there, but I’ll tell you it ate at me.

The takeaway: I blocked my own progress even though I intuitively believed in change and development. Can you relate to such an irony?

I’m not trying to be doom-and-gloom in this post; far from it. What I want to share today is a message of hope and change, because there is one way to peel away resentment and expectations…

Don’t let either define you or drive you.

Repeat: don’t let either resentment or expectations define you, or drive you to do things that just aren’t your highest calling. To nerd out for a second: Yoda talks about self-mastery. Sam tells Frodo to drop the ring into the lava and let it go. I just watched LOTR over the weekend, and after 439 viewings, I can still see how “one seemingly harmless little thing” changed the course of everyone’s lives.

Resentment and expectations are kind of like that, too… They can change your life. Or we can identify with them a little too much, or we wear a mask without knowing it to protect ourselves. This may create deep anger, extensive hurt, or patterns of behavior that don’t help us live at our very best in the long run.

So, to end on a positive and helpful note…

Here are Three Quick Tips to Letting Resentment and Expectations Go:

  1. Deeply, and in detail, imagine your daily life without holding on to resentment or your own expectations. I don’t mean not feeling it at all; we aren’t robots for Pete’s sake. We’re Souls having a human experience, and they can be humdingers. Let’s just be honest about it. After imagining it, practice letting go of resentment and expectations when the situation comes up–feel then release. And don’t try to control what’s not in your control.
  2. Recall within yourself is a higher knowledge—the kind that keeps your heart pumping and body living, or shows you the strength in sh*#y times you didn’t know you had. That knowledge will not just help you survive, but it’ll show you the resentment and expectations aren’t who you are.
  3. When in doubt, witness and observe a beautiful thing in front of your face, in this present moment. We’re talking simple things: the sunset, a bird on a branch, rain on a roof, the laugh of a child, or the touch of a beloved pet or human. It sounds corny, sure, but humor me. At least, in that time you’ll feel, see, and know, what it’s like to not hold that resentment so close.

Beautiful beings, you don’t need to keep holding grudges or keep believing you have to be perfect–therefore possibly resenting yourself (that’s another topic for another time). You don’t need to shoot for fulfilling expectations that aren’t natural or the highest calling. You really are so much more: strong, dignified, knowledgeable, and beautiful. It’s not that resentment doesn’t allow for beauty, but if we’re living with resentment and expectations that are hooked into us we can’t see our inner beauty as much. Or, what we carry is so dense that we can’t feel our beauty. If you have more thoughts on this, comment below or email me 1:1. FSW is here to help you navigate some of these feelings, questions, and hopes. Reach out any time or join the FSW Circle to get more connection and encouragement–we’re all on this journey together!