How anger can set you free

I shall allow no man to belittle my soul by making me hate him. 

Booker T. WashingtonDSCF5367

With so much anger seething in our presidential races and throughout the world due to racial tensions and terrorist attacks, perhaps it would be beneficial to step back from our emotions for a moment and reframe our understanding of this feeling. Too often we allow anger to overpower our rational side, resulting in a perpetuating cycle of rage, violence,  and revenge. Our world would be a more peaceful place if we all took more responsibility for what’s going on both outside as well as inside of us.

What makes a man angry has found him out.

 We are always responsible for our feelings and how we react to people and events; always. Any time someone gets under your skin resulting in anger, they are always mirroring back something about you. I used to get annoyed by guys who I judged as being really assertive and cocky. What they were mirroring about me was how I was not asking for what I wanted enough. Instead of me pointing the finger at myself and saying, “I really need to work on being more assertive”, it was easier to point the finger outward and judge them. It was my issue, not theirs.

The person who upsets you the most is your greatest teacher because they bring you face-to-face with who you are. Lynn Andrews

 Sometimes an antagonist is showing us things about ourselves that we judge as negative. Whitney went off one day about how judgmental her mom is. With her judgmental mom in her mind, I asked her to fill in the sentence, “What I see in my mom that I also see in me is__.” Whitney became aware that she too is often critical of others, and thus her mom is just mirroring to her where she has some growing to do.

She pushes your buttons because you let her install them.

John gets frustrated with one of his co-workers because he is so self-centered. When he took the time to look for the mirror, he realized that he felt the same way growing up with a brother who was always self-absorbed. His current friend who didn’t really deserve his anger was triggering John’s old feelings of resentment.

Good thoughts bear good fruit; bad thoughts bear bad fruit; and man is his own gardener. James Allen

The beauty of acquiring this kind of self-awareness is that once you figure out these mirrors, you can choose to handle your issue and amazingly, that person no longer pushes your buttons. They don’t change, you do. Guys I meet who are assertive no longer get under my skin because I worked hard at learning to advocate for myself. Once Whitney became less judgmental, she enjoyed her mom’s company more and their closeness grew. After John made the connection about his relationship with his brother, he didn’t bring those emotions to his co-worker and thus no longer needed to avoid or judge him.

If each one sweeps before his own door, the whole street is clean.

                                                               Yiddish Proverb

If Donald Trump, liberals, racists, or even terrorists are making you mad these days, look within and try to figure out your part in why you are feeling that way. Take full responsibility for your feelings and your reactions to people. It will bring you a tremendous sense of freedom because no one ever again has the power to make you feel anything.

 

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