The Poison of Resentment
author:Margaret Paul, Ph.D.
Actress Susan Saint James, in a TV interview after the terrible plane crash that claimed the life of her 14 year old son Teddy, and injured her husband, NBC Sports Chairman Dick Ebersol, and her son Charles, made the following brilliant statement: “Resentment is like taking poison and then expecting the other person to die.” Even in the face of her great loss, she is not angry, blaming, or resentful.
Resentment and blame are poisons to the soul. They are far more harmful to you than to anyone else. Our ego/wounded self believes that if we blame and resent someone, we can somehow have control over that person or over the outcome of things. But what the resentment really does is pull us into the darkness of seeing ourselves as a victim.
It’s very helpful to think of resentment as poisoning yourself while expecting the other to somehow be hurt by it. If you can think of anger, blame and resentment as poisons to the soul, perhaps this will make it easier to release these dark feelings.
These feeling do not come out of nowhere. They are the result of your thoughts and beliefs. For example, if you have the thought, as Susan could have had, “God is punishing me,” you will likely see yourself as a victim and feel angry and resentful. But having this thought or belief does not make it a reality. The resulting resentment is actually Spirit’s way of letting you know that you are off track in your thinking. Thoughts that cause anger, fear, and resentment are thoughts that are being made up by the wounded self. They are not based on truth. The truth never causes anger and fear. The truth can certainly cause sadness and grief, such as the reality that Susan’s son is gone. But anger and resentment are not the same as sadness and grief. Anger and resentment are the result of blaming someone or something.
Susan’s truth, which she stated in the interview, is that her son Teddy has ended one phase of his life and started another. Her faith in God as a loving source is sustaining her. Her belief that the soul does not die, but leaves when it is finished with what it needed to learn here, is making it possible for her to grieve without resentment. She is not allowing this great loss to poison her soul.
The literal biblical translation of the word “sin” is “off the mark.” When our thinking and behavior are off the mark, we are “sinning” because we are not in truth. God is truth, love, peace, and joy. When we are not in love and truth, we are off the mark. Being off the mark in our thinking results in negativity in anger, fear, anxiety, depression, resentment, blame. Negativity is harmful to the soul. This is a “sin” against ourselves.
Our ego wounded self – which originates in the mind and is the part of us that wants control over getting love, avoiding pain, and feeling safe – constantly makes up thoughts that are off the mark. The ego is incapable of knowing what is true and what is not. It thinks it is wise and knowing, but in reality it is always “off the mark.” All the thoughts that come from the ego are based on the desire for control over others and outcomes. The desire to control is the opposite of the desire to love and be in truth, and is therefore off the mark.
Truth does not originate in the mind. Truth comes into the mind from Spirit when we are open to learning about love and truth. Truth never creates resentment.
Anger, resentment, anxiety, fear, depression these feelings are signals that you are not in truth, that you are allowing your ego to have dominion over your soul. When you open your heart to learning the truth and learning what is loving to yourself and others, you will move out of the negative feelings and into the peace and joy that come from being in truth, even in the face of sadness and grief. Even in her grief, Susan Saint James’s face was filled with the light of truth. There was no darkness in her being as she shared her experience with us. Thank you, Susan, for your courage, love and faith. You have given us a great gift.