A mother is walking with her son. She is tall and her son is only half her height. They are both wearing the same kind of blue woolly bauble hat. A flock of smoke blue pigeons are grazing nearby. The couple's collie sees the flock, scampers, slows and stops. He is ready. Mother and son are lost in conversation and do not notice the unfolding drama. He creeps forward, like a trainee tiger, then charges. The flock explode into a flurry of flapping, lifting the pigeons almost instantly to above the surrounding trees. The collie hurries over to where the pigeons were pecking and looks up in amazement. The mother calls the collie with a loud angry voice, her face contorted with rage, but he does not respond.
Your Healing From Bitterness And Resentment
When we feel wronged, when we feel our life is unfolding beyond our control, when hopes are quashed, it is easy to feel bitter and resentful. When I became disabled by schizophrenia I blamed it on my tutor. (See Your Calling Needs To Be Trusted). I was very bitter and resentful. I remember sitting up in bed in the Mental Hospital, where I had been taken to recover, and shouting abuse towards my tutor, (who was 200 miles away in a different country). I think the staff thought this behaviour was caused by a schizophrenic delusion, but I was simply angry.
When I returned to college a year later, unsure if I could survive the rigor of university life because of my newfound vulnerability, I could not even look my old tutor in the eye. Whenever we had the opportunity to meet or make eye contact I avoided him. I never did manage to make peace with my old tutor, at least not in person.
What upset me most was that I had trusted him. I had even allowed myself to be guided by him in what project to do for my design thesis. In my eyes he had broken that bond of trust and had let me down. Now I had to take powerful tranquillisers to prevent me from having destructive hallucinations and to subdue paranoia. Taking the medication was making me feel drowsy, sapping my spontaneity. I had little tolerance of pressure and stress. Levels of stress that others found quite normal would cause my mind to seize and I would slip into dark depression. I also had to live with the possibility that if I experienced a very stressful event I could once again be thrown into madness. Medical authorities advised that I would have to live with the after effects of schizophrenia for the rest of my life. I felt enslaved by the limitations imposed by my disability. I was angry, bitter and resentful. How dare he do this to me!
However, by spending time alone in nature, and by going for walks in the mountains, I began to contemplate the events that led to my illness. Through discovering my solitude I learned to live with my disability and gradually came to see things differently. I realised that I was the one who had decided to trust my tutor and to place his opinions above my own. I had opened myself up to his influence and had willingly placed myself in his power. In the end I had to admit that I had played a prominent part in my own downfall.
Eventually I realised that if I had been more discriminating and more aware, then I would not have chosen this tutor to help me with my design thesis and would not have suffered as a consequence. As a result of these contemplations I became wary of taking risks and more interested in developing my awareness, so that I would not find myself in a similar situation again. I became more reflective and began to study books on personal development.
The episode with my tutor became my wake-up call. I fairly quickly grew into an aware, mature adult, who knew how to handle tricky situations and difficult people. I also became softer and more compassionate.
Before the incident with my tutor I had always felt as if there was some strange glass screen between other people and myself. Despite my bubbly hyperactive personality, I felt fundamentally alone and separate. Once I began to see the lessons for me in the incident with my tutor, the glass screen that had kept me apart from others began to dissolve and I felt a new connectedness. Although I was now a disabled person, I definitely experienced more love and peace. This made it easier for me to forgive my tutor for treating me badly.
Forgiving my tutor has not been easy. I have also had to learn to forgive myself for hating him. It has taken many years and many tears, especially as I am left with a disabling legacy that I am told will last a lifetime. However my newfound vulnerability and awareness has propelled me along the path of mature adulthood and given me wisdom to share with others. Paradoxically instead of being the great disaster it appeared to be at the time, this seminal life event has proven to be my greatest blessing.
Life is not always as it appears on the surface. If we have been wronged, we can allow ourselves to become enmeshed in bitterness and resentment, or we can choose to learn from the radiant inner swan and grow. By learning and growing we are eventually able to forgive our abuser, discover a much greater connectedness and experience a deep, heartfelt joy.
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