Blaming someone else for your unhappiness represents one of the most destructive things you can do to yourself. Blame is an immature choice that pushes a cycle of self-perpetuated victimization. When you ruminate about a person or event that made you angry, eventually that unresolved, built-up anger will devolve to resentment.
Resentment builds bitterness, which can and will overtake your ability to be happy. Unless you change your perspective you will become chronically angry and in a state of perpetual dissatisfaction with your life.
Dr. Leon F. Seltzer, who holds a doctorate in both English and Psychology and authored The Vision of Melville and Conrad and his blog Evolution of Self, enumerated some of the costs associated with an extended stay in Bittertown:
- Your mental and emotional pain will last longer.
- The cycle of “getting even” will further isolate you.
- Dwelling on the past wrongs will keep you from being presents to today’s joys.
- Thoughts of distrust will become paranoid thinking.
- Loss of connection with others.
- Your personal search for purpose will be negatively impacted.
- Your psychic health will suffer (e.g., insomnia, high blood pressure, stress from chronic anger overload).
- You become blind to your own wrongdoings.
- Your sense of wellbeing will become defaced.
The solution: take responsibility for your life. Take responsibility for the life that is a direct result of actions you have made. Even if someone played a destructive or painful role in your life, it’s time to move on and be a part of changing your life for the better. Realize you cannot control the behavior of anyone but yourself.
Making the choice to move forward can come only after honest self-reflection. Understand why you feel resentful towards someone, then view it from a different perspective or angle. And finally forgiveness, of course, is the key to long term happiness. Once you can truly let go and visualize yourself no longer having negative resentful feelings, you will become free and at peace.
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