There was an interesting article in the Wall Street Journal last week-end about the spread of rampant resentment in society, especially among the “younger set.” By younger, I don’t mean the two year old who’s pitching a fit for a candy at the check-out counter; no, these are college educated, hard working, facebook obsessed, young adults filled with toxic jealousy that stews in the petri dish of their own perceived inadequacies.
Yes, they want your lollipop.
Various studies have shown that the repercussions of unchecked, chronic bitterness and resentment “can slow metabolism, immune system function and organ function.” It can also evolve into “Post-Traumatic Embitterment Disorder which can manifest itself as anxiety, depression and fits of rage.” (WSJ-pg C4, Jan 20-21)
Another survey of 10,000 people found that “relative income” was a huge factor in determining self-esteem. Relative income isn’t what you earn, it’s what you earn in comparison to what others earn. So even if you are making a handsome salary, if your friends are earning more than you, your self-esteem drops and resentment builds.
While our present-day, instagram culture is fertile ground for the deep rooted resentment described in this article, experts say the solution is obvious and simple: it’s found in refocusing our attention on what we have vs. stressing over what we don’t (duh) and tapping into our own reserves and resources to cultivate and realize our dreams- completely independent of what others are doing.
Clearly, social media is the rolling paper that enables us to assimilate and toke on all the stuff we feel we deserve but are missing out on. So it stands to reason that taking a break from “following” 250 online “friends” is an important first step on the road to recovery.
Resentment builds walls that block us off from the most important ingredient needed for a happy life: authentic, meaningful, affirming, personal, non-curated relationships with “real” people who care.