by Gregg Krech


As children, many of us held our parents accountable for their failures.  And as adults, we often hold onto those failures.

In many cases the stories we weave about our childhoods come from threads of disappointment and resentment. We weren’t loved well enough.  Or whatever love we received was negated by the ways we were not loved.

Wearing a garment of disappointment, resentment and anger is a great burden.

It continuously weighs us down as we try to move forward in our lives.

The toxicity of this story-garment leaches into our relationships with our own partners. It affects our fundamental view of life. It buries us in a complaint-based lifestyle in which our attention is consistently drawn to what is going wrong and how the world fails to meet our expectations. We blame others, particularly our parents, for why our lives are messed up.

The antidote to this poison is sincere and courageous self-examination – one in which we are willing to see our own faults, weaknesses and culpability toward the problems of our relationships. 

  • How have we contributed to the problems in our relationships? 
  • Have we always conducted ourselves in the most admirable way? 
  • Do we know what it’s like to make bad choices and cause trouble to others?

Such a self-examination melts the very foundation of self-righteousness and victimhood.  It nurtures our acceptance of our own humanness and the humanness of others as well.

A softened heart, bathed in humility and compassion for others, is the best chance we have of transforming our story and releasing us from the great weight of anger and resentment.

From Question Your Life: Naikan Self-Reflection and the Transformation of our Stories.  Edited by Gregg Krech

(Graphic credit:  Mariusz Szmerdt)  

Gregg Krech has been teaching and practicing with Japanese Psychology for over 30 years.  He is the author of five books about Japanese Psychology, including Naikan and The Art of Taking Action.  He will be conducting the Fundamentals of Japanese Psychology Program as well as the Residential Certification Program  


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