Opinion: Wisdom Workout

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Authentic Boundaries

Have you ever tried to water a garden with a leaking hose? The more holes, the less water pressure. Harboring resentment from past or present slights and disappointments has the same effect on your energy levels.

None of us live in a vacuum. We are bombarded with everything from small irritations to full-scale upsets. Resistance, resentment, and plots to take revenge seem to dominate our airwaves. Resentment seems to be the subliminal soundtrack of modern life.

Resentment occurs in our relationships when we expect one experience and get another. We want something positive yet what we get, we perceive as unjust. Anger begins to brew. We often either lose our temper or lose our voice.

Politeness, slow reaction time, inability to accept our anger, and/or fear of confrontation all conspire to block the energetic bubbling of righteous indignation from immediate expression. The blocked energy finds a resting-place somewhere in the recesses of our mind; squirreled away with other incidents of repressed displeasure.

Energy just is. Expecting one thing and getting another creates disappointment and resentment. The definition of depress is to lessen the activity or strength of; to sadden, discourage.

When too much unexpressed resentment stagnates, you begin to feel victimized by life. The quest for a full, rich, productive, forward-moving life takes a U-turn.

Should you handle your resentments by staging a volcanic eruption every time your expectations are thwarted? Probably not, if you like to think of yourself as sane and reasonable most of the time.

The image of you harboring built-up resentment sludge that clogs your energy hose is less than flattering to your ego but is extremely important if you truly want mastery in authentic management of your life.

If you find that you have so much unresolved resentment that your garden hose looks like a Boa Constrictor that swallowed a cow, it is time to expand your understanding of the true purpose of anger and how you can use it productively to learn to take response-ability for the quality of your life.

The emotions of fear, anger, and love are as necessary for your survival as nerve impulses, immune cells, or hormonal activity.

Why do we have anger? In the animal world, it is not a “negative emotion”. An animal experiences anger when some essential need is threatened or frustrated. The specific purpose of anger is that it creates the biological changes to prepare for fight or flight.
Nature provides a secondary resolution of conflict by instilling a natural anger display in animals in the form of: teeth-baring, menacing bodily motions, and threatening sounds.
These display tactics serve a crucial function. Instead of engaging in a physical fight, the conflict is often settled without anyone having to get physically hurt.

If you don’t know where your own boundaries begin and end and you habitually serve the needs of others before ever considering your own, you won’t be able to process and express feelings effectively. Making anger wrong will rob you of the ability to be strong-hearted when necessary.

Imagine for a moment that you have full permission to bare your teeth, clench your fists and growl like a junkyard dog. Now, notice who comes to mind. Congratulations. You’ve just uncovered someone who has been violating your boundaries in some way. Delve further to answer this question: “What is the right action for me at this time?” Accept this gift of knowledge from your inner wisdom base and give yourself permission to follow your own advice. Increased freedom and strength of character will be your reward.

Susan is a local author and consultant in the leadership development field. Find her at susanvelasquez.com.

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