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An informal, stream-of-consciousness reflection on business ideas, events and issues in modern business, modern life and with some specifics to the web-software industry by Paul Tomori, Internet Entrepreneur

The Futility of Resentment
By Paul Tomori
Friday, November 27, 2009 at 17:08:57 (EST)

As we head into the Xmas season (i.e. that time when goodwill toward our fellow man should prevail), I have been reflecting on some of the events of recent years and I have been speaking with friends about their own lives. One thing I have seen and heard a lot of is RESENTMENT. People who were hard done by carrying that emotional contempt for years, often unexpressed and unmediated... and usually not based in anything really very commensurate to the original offense. In a word, such feelings can grow to be unreasonable. Some have feelings of having been exploited years or even decades ago. Usually, such feelings have been amplified by time and by a strange obsession over having someone to blame for all of life's ensuing challenges.

Yes, some people have suffered terribly and they have a right to the psychological fallout. And, hopefully, they can find ways to to address such things. I am not referring to legitimate feelings of blame. But, even people with legitimate claims to resentment might serve themselves best by finding a way to dissipate the resentment. For example, I could harbour great feelings of contempt for a universe that brings wretched disease to good people I have known and loved, but that would really be futile, wouldn't it? And, if the source of one's contempt is in the past and perhaps toward people who are not even alive any longer, then the futility of continued resentment is just about as strong. Did a business deal sour? Did a relationship end not so amicably? Did you get fired or blamed for something unfairly? These can all have damaging effects, right? But, more importantly is the damage that you do to yourself by fueling your own resentment.

I have a family member who made a financial exploitation of another family member some years ago that directly affected me. To say I was hellbent on exacting justice, was an understatement. Other family members could see this in me and fortunately, one very wise cousin advised me that I should only take things as far as I could without letting the issue eat me up inside. I will never forget the moment she said that. I realized instantly that resentment is like a poison that just keeps getting more toxic to one's own well-being... or it is a weight that gets heavier by the day. Maybe it's time to just set that weight down and live your own life free of the futility of revenge and resentment. For me, the situation was an epiphany. You know the cliche... "The best revenge is to just live a good life"? How true and wise that is.

If you're looking for someone or something to blame for your own deficiencies or laziness? Or if you are looking for someone to hold up as an enemy so that you have a source for your own acid thoughts, think again. Try to set yourself free of those futile, self-defeating, energy-wasting thoughts. Get on with your own life and live a good one.

And if you think you have had it bad (and perhaps you have), then try to add a bit of perspective. There are Holocaust survivors who came to America with nothing and many worked hard and became richer in 5 years than fellow Americans who had been living in the US for years. Rise above your past. Rise above your resentments. Look to the future that you are going to create for yourself and live a life you can be proud of.

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