“Resentment is like drinking poison and then hoping it will kill your enemies.” – Nelson Mandela
I’ve lived the majority of my days on earth with something to prove. How smart I am. How much I can win. The list could go on. I have embraced the underdog role to a fault. By trying to prove something to the people around me I have missed the point. I have made this life about me, about what I can accomplish or how people view me.
My competitive spirit took a sharp turn to destructive thinking. It was this thinking that told me that people were against me, I cannot trust them and I can only rely on myself. Even now I find it incredibly difficult to let go of past hurts. Resentment is my spiritual and emotional vice and it’s been killing me for decades.
This “me against the world” mentality – I’m sure its common among hurting people. I’m sure its common among addicts. What is uncommon I think (this is in no way bragging) are the times when I and my fellow addicts can recognize this as a problem. “I’m just really driven.” “I’ve been hurt by people close to me so it’s natural for me not to trust others.” “No one can understand what I’m going through.”
Excuses, excuses, excuses.
I’m out of them. There is no excuse for when I go from victim to culprit. That’s what I did in my marriage and no excuse can justify it. There is no excuse to continue to hold on to hurt, resentment and past pain. Holding on to that resentment always damages me and those around me.
So where does that leave me today? Right now how am I tackling this issue? The short answer is I am still figuring it out. It’s a daily struggle just as my quest for sobriety is a 24 hour battle. Do I still have resentment in my heart? No doubt about it. I resent myself, God and others. The difference now is that I am not actively (and secretly) justifying this resentment. I don’t feel obligated to hide it and seclude myself from others. I am obligated to bring it to light and seek others for accountability and community.
I still often feel like I must prove myself to others. Now I must prove that I am worthy to be sober, or worthy to be called a good Dad. I must prove to friends (former and present) that I am on the right path. I must prove the doubters wrong and prove the supporters right.
That’s too much pressure. Here is the truth: I am His and He is mine.
I cling to this truth every single day. It is this truth that allows me to let go of resentment and the need to prove myself. Jesus already proved everything by His sacrifice.
Because of that I have nothing to prove. Absolutely nothing.