Breaking Out of Jail
There’s no nice way to say this: being in jail would suck. I’m not here today to put a positive spin on prison life — although, more power to the inmate who can. I sincerely mean that; it would make one heck of a story. In fact, if there are any inmates out there reading this blog, contact me. I’d love to hear about your positive prison experience, how you gained a skill, or how prison saved your life. I know those stories exist. I’m completely captivated each time I hear one.
I’m equally intrigued by those of us living in our own self-made prisons. Pay attention, I may just be talking to you.
Have you ever:
- held a long-term grudge?
- resented someone deeply? (mildly?)
- felt self-righteous because of what someone else did to you?
- lashed back at someone?
- deliberately chosen not to forgive someone?
- thought of ways to get even, then acted on them?
I’m not talking about plots so sinister that they actually would land you in jail, I’m talking about the everyday stuff we do when we think we’re protecting ourselves — using our so-called defense mechanisms. As long as I hold this grudge, then I’m protecting myself. As long as I don’t forgive you, then I’m protecting myself. As long as I somehow avenge what you did to me, then I’m protecting myself.
Now who’s in prison? The person who won’t Let Go.
I call this:
The Prison of Self-Righteous Resentment
In the prison of self-righteous resentment, we get to be right. Woo-hoo (said with flat, dry sarcasm). Along with that, we get to be unhappy. We have the displeasure of reliving the infraction over and over.
But we also get a catchy story to tell! One that’s interesting. And exciting. Full of drama, action, and suspense. One that gets us lots of attention. People stop to watch the aftermath of a car wreck, don’t they?
Stop your drama. YOU are the car wreck they’re stopping to watch.
And as long as you are the car wreck, you’re also the one remaining not-so-nice and cozy… in your self-made prison.
Here’s the thing:
You Have the Key
The cell you’ve fashioned may feel more airtight than any chamber you can imagine in the dankest, darkest dungeon, but turn around. Look for the light, no matter how small it is, streaming through the keyhole. You have the key.
(Or the slippers, Dorothy. You’ve had them all along.)
Use your inner key: Trust yourself. Act on that trust, knowing you are strong enough to relinquish the grudge. You’re strong enough to work through your resentment. You’re strong enough to forgive. Because each one of these acts is for the good of you, your health, your well being, your concentration at work, your even temperament with your children, your sleep at night, your inner peace.
It’s for the good of you. And it starts with you, within you. There’s no need for breaking out of jail — you hold the key. Use it and walk out, directly into the light and life that await you. Free yourself.
Let go. Trust.
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