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Resentment vs Compassion

Discussion in 'The Ancient Way - Eastern Orthodox' started by OrthodoxWanderer, Aug 11, 2020.

  1. OrthodoxWanderer

    OrthodoxWanderer Member

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    Orthodox only please.

    The past few weeks have seen a lot of struggles for me in all areas of life, but the past few days especially have been bad at my place of work. Friday I wrote an emotional little rant here on TAW that I deleted; today I wrote an emotional little rant via text to someone that I couldn't un-send. I did apologize and ask for forgiveness (which they did). But, my emotional behavior lately is out of character for me and I don't like it, so I decided to talk to a counselor (a few counseling sessions provided at no charge via work).

    I told the counselor at the beginning of the call that I was looking for strategies to manage stress at work and control my emotions better during emotional situations which we're all going through and aren't going away. I proceeded to tell him what exactly was happening, and told him my goal was to come up with a practical game plan for handling the specific work issues while remaining emotionally detached from them.

    I was quite surprised that he told me that he immediately picked up on a lot of resentment that seemed much bigger and longer lasting than anything in the here and now, and that the anecdote to resentment is compassion. That struck me as an odd response to the very specific workplace situations I am in (which are not a result of a lack of compassion), but he kept insisting that focusing on compassion would help me to see the strategy I need. Most people would actually say I'm pretty compassionate and I've been told many a time that I am, but he said I am not compassionate in fullness if I have a deep well of resentment in me.

    I couldn't argue with him on that point. I am compassionate and do actively try to show it, but yeah I've got resentment for days. I understand that the two can't coexist, which means there's an imbalance I wasn't aware of... So, basically, by the end of the call the session ended up having nothing to do with the reason for the call (work) and everything to do with my spiritual struggles as of late (passions). Interesting.

    So, since I kind of feel like the Holy Spirit called me out on this one...... if anyone has any two cents about resentment as a passion and compassion as a virtue, I'd appreciate it.

    ETA: of course I'll be talking to my priest about this.
     
    Last edited: Aug 11, 2020
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  2. ArmyMatt

    ArmyMatt Regular Member Supporter

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    not to sound overly simple, but virtues and passions (in this case) are practiced. so struggle to be compassionate and not resentful.
     
  3. SingularityOne

    SingularityOne Well-Known Member Supporter

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  4. Lukaris

    Lukaris Orthodox Christian Supporter

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    This counselor saying that you are not “compassionate in fullness” & claiming that you have pent up resentment seems puzzling. It might be good to ask your priest to discern what this counselor means in this questionable assessment. Increasingly what the world considers what make us compassionate or causing resentment differ or are contrary to the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

    I admit I am a rube so take what I post fwiw but I sense a red flag in this ( not bad intent but something strange somehow).
     
  5. Xenophon

    Xenophon Active Member

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    From my understanding of counseling practice, the counselor is supposed to remain in the bounds you set. While he can suggest that some harbored resentment is present and may be correct about it, it seems very odd that he'd avoid the reasons for your call and apparently keep redirecting you. The dynamic seems off.
     
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  6. OrthodoxWanderer

    OrthodoxWanderer Member

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    I'm not sure what to think of it now, I'll ask my priest of course but in the moment it did seem he touched on some things that struck a chord but who knows, the world is so confusing and getting worse. I've never been a fan of counseling tbh because my experience, both for myself and what I've seen in others, is that it tends to make people worse, not better, in the long run (short term it might give the impression it's working). It was just that I really was struggling this week and wanted someone's opinion; I know I should have just gone to my priest instead but I try not to take up too much of his time so I didn't. But I will anyway because all I'm seeing this year is truly how little secular life in America in 2020 has to offer us.
     
  7. SingularityOne

    SingularityOne Well-Known Member Supporter

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  8. ArmyMatt

    ArmyMatt Regular Member Supporter

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    something else I remembered. when dealing with a vice, don't fight it but try to live out the opposing virtue.

    so if resentment is an issue, focus on what to be thankful for.
     
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  9. SingularityOne

    SingularityOne Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Thank you for this Fr. Matt. Is this what St. Paisios means by ”good thoughts?”
     
  10. OrthodoxWanderer

    OrthodoxWanderer Member

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    Thank you Father for that advice. I will do that (or, struggle to do that!).
     
  11. ArmyMatt

    ArmyMatt Regular Member Supporter

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    maybe, I forget where I read it.
     
  12. ArmyMatt

    ArmyMatt Regular Member Supporter

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    amen!
     
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