Resentment (noun) –
The new palace of the Pandavas shined like a full moon in the dark night skies. The visiting Kaurava prince Duryodana could feel jealousy slowly spreading wings inside of him. He was going to be the next king. But these guys, his cousins, seemed to be getting the better part of the deal every single time. “But this is so much smaller than my palace”, he told himself and that was true. While the Pandavas had done their best to clear the forest lands given to them and make a well-laid city out of it, their entire kingdom was way smaller than what Duryodana and his brothers ruled over.
Yudhishtira, the oldest of the Pandavas, leading the group that had come to welcome him greeted him with warmth. “Welcome, my brother. I am so happy to have you here.” Duryodhana cooled down a little; proud that he was being greeted and treated with respect due to a King, the great King he was.
The palace was not just a beautiful site to behold, it was also an architectural wonder. Duryodhana was surprised to see that it held a pool indoors. He lifted his robes to ensure they don’t get wet as he proceeded to carefully step around the water; only to realise that it was a special floor that looked like ripples of water. “Very clever, my brother”, he smiled at Yudhishtira, hiding his foolishness. After looking at few more wonders, they came upon another area with water ripples. Not wanting to appear foolish this time, Duryodhana with a smirk on his face, walked on to the floor.
He couldn’t be sure what came first. Her laughter or the realisation that it was actually a pool and he had slipped into it. The wife of the Pandava brothers Draupathi, watching Duryodhana step into the pool mistaking it to be solid floor let out a giggle. It was too funny.
Duryodhana resented it. He resented looking silly with dripping wet clothes. He resented Draupathi making fun of him. He resented his cousins’ ability to pull of a marvelous architectural wonder with the very little they had. He resented them being better than him in many things – archery, wisdom, strength, ability to win peoples’ hearts.
Out of resentment was born the great war of Mahabharata, decimating huge armies on both sides.
Resentment is that what eats you from inside.
Starting out as relatively harmless it is the one thing that grows when you don’t nip it off at the bud.
Anger is like a volcano. It erupts and blows over. Resentment on the contrary is like erosion; like the salty winds of the sea eating away the majestic cliffs. And just like how those seemingly unbreakable granite faces imperceptibly change shape, resentment twists our minds, colouring our perceptions and influencing our reactions.
“Nothing on earth consumes a man more quickly than the passion of resentment.”
We often underestimate resentment. We think it will pass. We allow resentment as long as it doesn’t show as anger or visible harm. That is how resentment tricks you to get into your system.
And then it gnaws at you, getting deeper until it starts coming out. Spiteful words. Petty actions. Hurt. Anger. Visible.
Out of all those that escaped the box when Pandora opened it, resentment is the one in guile. Instead of pushing us to action, it lets us languish.
Funnily enough what causes resentment is our own shadows; either the expectations we have for ourselves which we are not fulfilling or expectations we have for others which are not being fulfilled; not because of who they are; but because we wouldn’t let go off what we want from them. May be we secretly know that deep down. That is where it starts. Deep down. A disconnect between what we imagine for ourselves and what we are; what we think we need from others but are unwilling to do the work for it. That little gap. That is what resentment fills.
“Resentment or grudges do no harm to the person against whom you hold these feelings but every day and every night of your life, they are eating at you.”
Therein lies the key to conquering resentment. If we care to look deep enough we will find that spot inside us that is causing the resentment. Once we learn to silent that voice that tells us to be unhappy, we can open up to see why the other person in the equation did what he/she did and how that most likely has nothing to do with what is crying for attention within us.
Make resentment your friend. Next time you feel it, don’t let it tinge your lenses with which you see the world outside. Instead say “Luminos” and make it a magic wand to light up your inside. You might find what is begging to seen.
Photograph by Jospeh Barrientos from http://www.unpslash.com