How to Get Rid of Resentment
A True Story
on Jan 15, 2021
When I was on a school holiday in December 2006, I read Todd Siler's Think Like a Genius - an enlightening book which I have long since misplaced and lost. Even though I didn't understand the book deeply enough, I remember reading from it that we have to get rid of resentment if we are to be truly creative. And I remember that lesson because of a picture in the book that captured my attention; the picture of a beast that looked mad with rage.
On reporting back to Starehe Institute in 2007 after that December holiday, I scanned that picture of the furious beast, uploaded it into a Microsoft Word document and then typed the following quote below it:
Hatred is a wiremesh that imprisons our creativity. It is an acid that corrodes our happiness.After I printed the document containing the picture of the angry beast and the quote, a fellow classmate in the institute named Paul Karanja was so moved by the print-out that he asked me for a copy. I gladly gave it to him and had another one printed for hanging on a noticeboard in the institute building.
While I am unsure whether I succeeded in turning my fellow institute students away from hatred with that poster on the noticeboard, I am sure I must have been pleased with my initiative. And would you believe me if I told you the quote on the poster was from my own head? Yes, I came up with the quote which I still believe in: that hatred is a wiremesh that imprisons our creativity and an acid that corrodes our happiness.
Paradoxically, despite all that insight I had on the effects of hatred on our souls, I have found myself struggling with hatred and resentment over the years. There are some people I have hated - some for treating me with contempt; others, for cheating me of my money. Like in the year 2008 when I was at the university in JKUAT, there was this tough young woman I hated intensely. Imagine I resented her to an extent that she would be the focus of my thinking when I got out of bed in the morning. I even maligned her to another person.
It was against that backdrop of resenting that tough young woman intensely that I came across a quote by Martin Luther King Jr. while leafing through an old Reader's Digest magazine in JKUAT library. The quote said: "Let no one pull you so low as to hate him."
That quote by Martin Luther King touched me so much that I wanted it printed on one of my T-shirts. So I approached a fellow engineering student at JKUAT to have him print the quote on a T-shirt of mine. Eventually though, for some reasons unclear to me now, I gave up on the idea. But at least the quote stuck in my memory.
Let's face it: we all struggle with resentment as we journey through this crazy adventure called life. We resent people who have treated us unfairly, judged us harshly, spoken to us arrogantly, conned us out of our money or stolen our valued possessions. When I was at the University of Nairobi in 2011, some fellow female classmates treated me with such contempt that I asked myself, "Why are some people so arrogant as if they have the power to keep the Earth from rotating on its own axis?"
If you struggle with resentment as I have done, my advice to you is to strive to replace thoughts of hatred with positive, happiness-inducing thoughts because it has been said our minds can only entertain one thought at a time. So when you catch yourself hating someone, immediately supplant that thought with something positive such as the things you are grateful for. Gratitude is the best antidote to resentment. Try it.
You could also focus on all the good people in this world. So instead of dwelling on that one person who judged you harshly, why not turn your focus on the friend who helped you at some point in your life? It could be an aunt who gave you some money to buy a pair of shoes or a former schoolmate who phoned you and stirred you from apathy with his encouraging words. Take to heart the wise counsel of Dwight D. Einseinhower, an American president who said, "Never waste a minute thinking about people you don't like."
Another way to get rid of resentment is to think of all the sins you have done when you catch yourself hating someone. Thinking about your sins will neutralize feelings of resentment since it will make you realize you deserve to forgive just as you deserve to be forgiven. And who in this fallen world doesn't sin?
The last suggestion I will give you on how to get rid of resentment is to quote the Scriptures when you find yourself hating someone. The Bible has numerous verses on the topic of hatred - one of my favourites is the following one from the book of Ephesians: "Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to each other, just as in Christ God forgave you."
Resentment is, I repeat, a wiremesh that imprisons our creativity and an acid that corrodes our happiness. So as for me, I have decided to exorcise it from my soul by consciously getting rid of any thought that may breed hatred. To borrow the words of Booker T. Washington, I will permit no one to narrow and degrade my soul by making me hate him. Adieu!
FEEDBACK: Would you be so kind as to offer your feedback on the stories I post on this blog? Just click on the "Feedback" link on the menu at the top of this blog and share your thoughts with me. Thanks in advance for your comments.
Sharing is CaringLike this story? Then share it on:
Donating = LovingIt takes so much time to research, write and edit the stories and videos in this blog. If you do find any joy in going through them, please consider supporting the author with a donation of any amount - anything from buying him a cuppa to treating him to a good dinner. Thanks to everyone who is contributing; you rock!
A Brother Born For Adversity
A True Story
on Jan 9, 2021
Of course I have known Joe Kagigite all of my life by virtue of him being my eldest brother. Back in the '90s when I was a small boy, he was such a charming and handsome lad. Some of my classmates in primary school used to fall for his charms and desire his company, something that made me green with envy.
I vividly remember one afternoon in 1994 when I was in Standard One, a classmate of mine named Stephen Kamau ran towards Joe when he spotted him going for lunch. Seeing Kamau run towards Joe made me so jealous that I remarked to another classmate in Kikuyu, "This Kamau likes [Joe] as if he is his brother."
Not only was Joe charming and handsome, he was also bright - at least by the standards of Noru-Moru, a public primary school in our home-area which we attended in the '90s. Throughout his schooling at Noru-Moru, Joe consistently appeared among the top pupils in his class. When I was in Standard Two in 1995, I observed him being called out as the top pupil in Standard Eight by a teacher who would ask him to stand in front of the whole school during the end-of-term parade, together with the other top three pupils in his class.
After observing Joe stand in front of the whole school as the top pupil in his class, I regularly fantasized myself also being asked to do the same. I eventually realized that dream in the third term of 1995. In that third term, I emerged the second best pupil in my class and had the honour of being called out to appear in front of the end-of-term parade. I was so pleased with that achievement that I mentioned it to Joe who heartily congratulated me.
Because of his brilliance and irresistible charms, Joe received quite a huge number of cards wishing him success in the final national primary school exams known as KCPE which he sat for in November 1995. I don't think I got half as many cards as he did when I was preparing for my KCPE exams in 2001. But I still passed my KCPE exams and made it to Starehe Boys' Centre, a prestigious high school in Nairobi.
When I was on a school holiday in December 2004, I noted Joe had several fashionable T-shirts in his wardrobe. I took one of the T-shirts and ran away with it when I reported back to Starehe for my Fourth-form year. Joe was incensed after he found out that I had carried his T-shirt. The following day, he came to Starehe and rebuked me for walking off with his T-shirt which I was wearing that day. Despite his anger, he was kind enough to let me continue wearing the T-shirt.
A few days later, I went to a cyber-cafe in downtown Nairobi and sent Joe an email apologizing for taking his T-shirt without his permission. He accepted my apology as a real brother would. Since then, I have never taken any of his property without his consent, a great lesson learned at an early age.
During my Fourth-form year at Starehe, Joe visited me occasionally to check on me and to deliver something from Dad. I found Joe such an urbane and handsome young man that I felt proud being seen walking with him on the highways of Starehe. At the end of his visits, he would leave me with some pocket money. I saved some of the pocket money to buy a mobile phone.
As my high school career came to an end in November 2005, I found myself with less cash than I needed to buy a cell phone. I told Joe about my predicament, and to my delight, he swiftly loaned me some money which I added to my savings and purchased my first cell phone. For the two years or so when I was in possession of the phone, I valued and treasured it as if it was a part of my body. Unfortunately, I lost the phone one morning in 2007 when I was at the university in JKUAT.
In 2008 when I started going astray at JKUAT by not attending classes and failing to communicate with my family, some of my classmates at the university informed me that my brother Joe was looking for me and was worried by what was happening to me. Being the foolish young man that I was, I continued hanging around the university without caring about Joe's concern for me. Eventually after I was apprehended and taken to hospital, Joe paid me a visit in the hospital several times during which he would counsel me and leave me with something to eat.
After I was discharged from JKUAT hospital in November 2008, I shared with Joe my dream of wanting to study in a top-flight college in America. He supported my dream and soon afterwards, he sent me money to register for the SAT exams which American colleges require applicants to take. Thanks to his generosity, I registered for the SAT exams but guess what! When the exam date neared in January 2009, I found myself feeling so dispirited that I didn't turn up to do the exam.
I continued feeling regularly dispirited as months rolled by. One evening in 2010 when I apprised Joe of how downhearted I regularly felt, he asked me if I knew how long Mandela stayed in prison. Well, I can't recollect what his response was after I replied that Mandela was imprisoned for 27 years. But I do remember he was trying to instil me with hope.
Later on in 2010 when I opened a blog, Joe was quick to congratulate me for my efforts. Since 2010, I have rebranded this blog four or five times to what it looks like now. And every time I rebranded this blog, Joe would commend me and offer some advice. He still continues to give me positive feedback on the stories I post in this blog. As a result of his encouragement, I can now honestly say that blogging has brought clarity in my thinking, a spring in my step and a sense of direction in my life.
My story about Joe would be incomplete without mentioning his love for photography. Yes, Joe has always had an interest in photography. Sometime in the year 2000, before the advent of the now popular smartphone cameras, Joe marshalled my elder siblings and had them contribute money to buy an analogue camera. When he finally succeeded in buying a camera, he took some photos of me which, unhappily, I misplaced over the years.
Earlier on in the last decade, Joe purchased his own digital camera. He lent the camera to me at one time in 2012 for recording a song whose lyrics I had written. When I again requested him to lend me the digital camera some time in 2017, he willingly gave it to me and never asked for it back. What a generous brother he is!
Besides lending me his camera, Joe has come through for me on numerous other occasions in the last ten years. He has been the kind of brother the Bible says was born for adversity. With the much that he has done for me, I feel the best way I can repay him for his kindness and generosity is to make him feel proud of me. So help me God.
NEW! NEW! NEW! If you missed my social media update three days ago, let me take this opportunity to inform you that I have produced a new song that is available in the videos' section of this blog. Just click on the "videos" link on the menu at the top of this blog to listen to the song.