May 24, 2015

Hidden Resentments

People tend to keep certain cards quite close to their vest, whether to the best or worse. These are cards we don't share for different reasons, but mostly because we feel they would do more damage than good. But it is so? What motivate us to keep for ourselves negative opinions or believes we have of others, instead of sharing them and clearing the air between us?

There's this group of people where everybody is really friendly towards each other. I've always assumed they were really good friends, and on the surface it looked so. However, as I've got to know them better, often having conversations on a one-on-one basis, it turned out that none of them really liked the others, always having rather important objections about the rest. Curiously, all of them resented the others because they felt all the others imposed on them, minimized their jobs, all of them assumed the others thought in a negative manner of them, an often they thought the others lied or made up excuses to get out of some commitments, tasks or so. So why they kept meeting and making plans together?

Perhaps sometimes we feel it's strategic to remain in the supposed good graces of others, maybe because we don't want to lose our belonging to a given group, specially if being alone in a given environment means we would be exposed to harsh conditions, or because belonging to a given group mean we have access to benefits we otherwise won't have, or just because we've been in a given group so long that we don't want to be without them anymore. In these cases, perhaps, we make a pro-con analysis and we come up with the decision that we are better if we continue suffering the bad because the good is better. We convince ourselves that we are making a commitment by bravely enduring what bothers us of others. But are these analysis always correct? Are we really making the measurement, or are we pondering with already a result decided and fixing our measurements in order to fit that measurement?

I think that often that's what we do, and in some occasions - specially when we talk about relationships - our actual friends do tell us about the shitty situation we are in, and yet we convince ourselves that still, things are not as bleak as our friends tell us. Even though they are.

The thing is that separation, breakup, is hard. It's always hard, no matter how much you prepare for it. We are willing to put up with a lot of things that only fuel our further accumulated, unreleased, unspoken resentment because truth it that we are not brave enough to walk away from a sickening situation. We seek validation in others, try to convince ourselves that though something is already insufferable for us, if others see it as something manageable, then we should manage it too. But if you are the one living and suffering a given situation, shouldn't you empower yourself  to put a stop on it?

There's a magical measure we should always keep in sight: if you catch yourself always complaining about something or someone, then it's time to take that something or someone out of your life. Hard as it is, but nothing and no one is worthy of sacrificing your happiness so you won't be alone or you could reap benefits you won't even enjoy.

Yes, it's hard, and it goes out for everything: your family, your relationships, your job, your projects, your hobbies, your friends... Some of them would be harder for us, some of them maybe easier, but none of them would be painless. That's the true bravely, not pulling up with shit because we "don't walk away from hardship" or "you are not a quitter" or "maybe it would change". Walking away is a form of hardship, which you face in order to make things better. Quitting something that no longer works doesn't make you a quitter, because you are not quitting yourself, you are not quitting your happiness, you are not quitting your integrity: you are standing next to it.

You can change yourself, but you can't expect others to change for you. And you also have to be realistic with yourself: there are things of yourself you can change, but there are things you can't or shouldn't, because they are who you are. No one should ever renounce for anyone or anything to those things that make them who they are. There's no job, no relationship, no family member, no group, no "opportunity" worth denying who you are and what you believe in. No commitment should ever be made on the grounds of sacrificing those features that make up your personality. Commitments should always be respectful of your core elements.

No, we can't live without hidden resentments, I believe. When I started working in the public sector, way back in 2001, I learned that hypocrisy is an important element of the working environment. Little by little I learned to halt my natural tendency to be brutally sincere, and learned to lie, or hide the truth as much as I could, in order to get on with the program. The six months I spent in Hungary in 2012 put me back to my factory setting, and unable to be hypocritical, life at the office became quite hard. In these years that have passed, I began reclaiming those old acquired skills, slowly re-learning the obscure art of pretending to be pleased and pleasant while wishing people dead. I'm far, I know, from the master level of being able to be friendly and pleasant while stabbing people on the back - skill I don't think I'll ever be able to master - but as I walk down the path of this necessary evil, I realize hidden resentments lurk in a dark place of our souls, and they are not good for us. We choose to live with them, for whatever reason we have, but as they rot our spirits, shouldn't we, at least, try and hold as few of them as possible?

Last week the dams opened for me, and I let out resentments I had been holding in my chest for many years. This week - today, actually - they were talked over and a door closed behind me. I won't lie, it was damned hard because with this admission, with this releasing I released also something very, very precious in my life. I'm mourning a sensible loss now. Tomorrow, to mark this change in my life and perhaps find a symbolic milestone, I'll cut my hair. I still don't know how much, how short, but I want to have this symbol, to remind myself now that life goes on just like hair keeps growing, and that this is a new chapter in my life, a new begining and that chances are there for the taking. The loss will be felt, fuck, I'm not made of ice and stone, no matter how much I wish I were, but must keep my head held up high and keep on.

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