Stop Sabotaging Relationships with Resentment
Why the Golden Rule starts with how you treat yourself
A lot has been said about the Golden Rule throughout the ages; briefly, “Treat others how you would have them treat you”. While this maxim will serve you well in life, it is often misused in practice when we find ourselves in a relationship of over-giving and under-receiving. At these times, it almost seems as if the golden rule of “Do unto others” is working against us – and it is undeniably frustrating.
Why do I give so much and get so little?
I hope I am not the only one who has struggled with this for nearly a lifetime, and maybe you can relate. This is something that we co-create in our relationships, whether it’s with a friend, a family member, or with our “other half”.
We get in the habit of considering their needs first, we convince ourselves that we are responsible for their happiness, and, when we don’t get the approval that we’re seeking, we blame ourselves for not getting it “right”. This causes an untold amount of inner conflict, inner torment, outward defensiveness, and ultimately leads to a mammoth-sized resentment that we often refuse to even acknowledge until it blows up in our face.
Years ago, when I had no frame of reference to understand this dynamic, my heart would be crushed over and over again as I doted on my partner and she recoiled. I was utterly confused, but she turned out to be one of my greatest teachers in this lifetime’s Mystery School of Know Thyself.
At the time, I thought: “What the Hell? I’m going overboard and giving all I’ve got here just to try and show you how much I love you – and you’re acting like it’s an attack!” So, the more I would give, and the more I would try harder, the more she would put up spatial boundaries, and the further she would retreat. It was painful for both of us because we never doubted that we cared for each other. Once I understood the lesson, however, it was astounding for me to discover that the answer which had eluded me so long had been contained in the question itself.
I probably could have spun around in infinity recreating this situation in every area of my life, if it were not for the guru of consciousness that she has proven to be; as helping me break out of this destructive cycle has been only one of many lessons which have contributed to my own enlightenment. I had confused “treat others how you want to be treated” with “treat others better than you treat yourself” – but that’s not how it works unless you want to keep manufacturing more resentments and grudges.
What’s going on here?
Relationships of all sorts, not excluding ones that we share with our fur babies, are “give and take” by nature. Indeed, it is the basis of the Natural Law that governs our Universe – in the form of the relationship between proton and electron, atom and molecule, plant and animal, and so on. You may have heard “Nature abhors a vacuum”, which is to say something will always be drawn in to fill the empty spaces we create.
When we are so focused on creating what we’ve projected to be the other person’s happiness, we are not only neglecting our own happiness, we are ensuring the unhappiness of our entire partnership with the other person. What’s going on here is that you are habitually taking away from yourself, putting it on a plate, and serving it up for other people. Now, other people have their own plate plus what you’ve given them of yours. They are fat and you are starved. No wonder you are so mad at you.
To make things worse, from our point of view, it seems like half the time they don’t appreciate, acknowledge, or even look at what we’ve put so much of ourselves into as a true-hearted love offering in service. Am I right? I’ve been there and, let me tell you, it doesn’t feel good. It hurts. It feels like a betrayal of your worth in someone’s life and often leads to feelings of self-hatred. Things like, “What was I thinking?”, “I’m such an idiot to ever think they’d appreciate me!” and on and on, quite literally towards infinity.
So we begin to believe there’s something wrong with us and we try harder and harder because now we’re afraid we’ll lose the relationship, which leads to an unconscious inner resentment, and we end up in a hair-trigger reactive state that somehow turns every gesture of our love into an argument. Now, we’re living a nightmare of our worst fears and it feels like we are drowning in torment and confusion.
At this point, we may discover we’ve fallen into a vicious cycle of constantly setting ourselves up for “rejection” despite knowing what heartbreak lies just around the corner. We begin to accept we are unappreciated, we start feeling insecure of our own worth, and become abandoned in our relationship – as we desperately fight to not lose what we ourselves are jeopardizing. If you’ve been there, you know what I’m talking about. I mean this is Dark City.
How do we break the cycle?
We break the cycle the same way that we created it – from within. If you’re a student of consciousness, you already know that our thoughts and beliefs create our feelings, our feelings cause us to act in a certain way, and the way we act or interact determines the experience we have, which is our reality. If we put brackets around the middle part of the equation as a matter of process, we see that our thoughts create our reality. This is a big “Aha!” that will transform your life, once you’ve integrated the truth of it.
Until we have this realization, we are lost to our own boundaries of responsibility and it is easy to believe the story that says, “if only the other person would…” As long as this is the limit of our understanding, we will continue to play out the Victim role in a theater of our own design, casting our loved one in the role of Villain because they are holding out on giving us the love, approval, and validation we are so desperately seeking from them. Don’t believe it!
Trust me, your resentment is against yourself. You have in fact been the one perpetrating villainy against your heart and now, in turn, you’ve made it worse by pinning it on the one person in this world who (likely) loves you the most. Further, because you have been blind to the boundaries of your emotional responsibility, you have placed all the power needed to break this cycle onto someone else who is literally incapable of doing anything about it. Have you ever thought about it that way? It’s ugly.
My resentment, my boundary, my responsibility
All it takes is the deliberate practice of shifting our focus away from what we judge to be the fault of another and placing it back on ourselves. It’s a little like looking at the image we see projected in the mirror, then consciously blurring it from our attention so that we can inspect the surface of the glass. Easier said than done, as they say, and ever so easy to forget in the heat of the moment. Here’s the hard truth: You are the only one who has the power to change your life.
It is your job alone to be aware of your boundaries being crossed, to communicate it, and to enforce it. Others are not responsible for enforcing your boundaries, or even knowing what they are to you. Neither is it your job to worry about the uncommunicated boundaries of others which you may only project and so we’ve returned to the Golden Rule.
When you put yourself first, you are not being selfish. In fact, when you take it upon yourself to burden others with over-giving, you are invading their side of the street and abandoning your own, then holding them responsible because your side is a mess.
The Mission Purpose Synergy process is designed to bring our awareness back to ourselves, so that we may do the dirty work of our own inner housekeeping, and develop the ability to authentically offer an unfettered space in which we may commune with others.
If you’d like to learn more about how you can bring your life into synergy, take me up on my offer for a Free Talk today. Remember, your love belongs to you first; all else that you seek will be drawn to you from there.