Life for all of us is a series of social obligations, chores, errands, events and eventually, amid them, endeavors to fulfill some of our aspirations. Running the daily rat race we do not realize when we let stress take the better of us.
Beyond that we function amid a network of relationships where each individual in itself is a live wire undergoing their share of life’s transitions. In such a scenario, there are bound to be mutual differences, rivalries, competition, conflict or downright ugly battles. Disputes often cultivate a scenario of lying, cheating, betrayal, manipulation, anger or pettiness. Differences throw us out of sync with others. When they further grow into strong disagreements, we often feel powerless and frustrated. Failing to get along with others is a typical breeding ground for grudges.
Loud verbal reactions of anger might still make us sit up and take notice of our triggers. But, unexpressed residual feeling of resentment simmering silently in the pain of rejection, humiliation or abandonment is probably the worst kind of emotional pollution that silently poisons our body and soul.
Bitter grudges are sometimes unknowingly nursed by some people for years. Being resentful can become a convenient solace to protect a fragile ego. It sets off a pattern of negative attributes that prevents us from sustaining healthy relationships or leading a constructive life.
A famous Buddhist quote claims that
“Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned.”
Here are ten steps you can take to mend your negative reactionary tendencies.
1. Define the Problem:
We all have our share of pet peeves and aversions. Despite the greatest levels of restraint, there are bound to be some issues we are particularly sensitive to because they threaten the values that define us. You could be frustrated by your colleagues or subordinates who constantly lag behind your pace, or have frequent fights over money with your partner or might have reached communication breakdown with your child; rigorously analyze the tense situations to breakdown the problem to its absolute core. Take help of a professional if needed to uncover the basis behind repeated friction with someone.
2. Talk it Out:
Sometimes all you need to do to resolve a problem is to make yourself heard. But a reasonable conversation has to take place from a judgment free stance without throwing around any accusation or blame. Exercise patience if the other person is irrational or unnecessarily aggressive. If the conversation does not help you reach a truce, work on putting yourself at ease on your own. Put your ego aside and stop fighting to constantly prove yourself right. By imposing your opinions on someone else you are encroaching upon their free will and this is will only add to the tension.
3. Analyze your own expectations:
You don’t want to be selfish. But stick by the rule to help your friends and family members only to the point till it makes you happy to help without any sense of burden. Supporting someone when you would rather not could set you up for disappointment of an unfulfilled payback and hence breed resentment.
4. Engage in Self evaluation:
A few minutes of daily alone time is crucial to an enhanced sense of self awareness.
There are times when you are constantly plagued by thoughts of someone you feel wronged by. Figure out the amount of damage you are causing yourself by seething in anger while the person concerned is unaware and living in calm. Understand that life may not always run as planned and cut short the obsessive thoughts that have you enslaved.
Take the time to consider the strain that others around you might be under. There can be legitimate reasons why some people fall short of gaining your confidence. Being sensitive to other people and their problems will give you fewer reasons to be spiteful.
6. Learn Acceptance:
Some unpleasant arguments may never come with a closure of an apology. Nevertheless, take it upon yourself to move on.
7. Avoid dwelling in the past:
We often discuss our issues with a friend to gain a better perspective, but don’t turn it into an escapist habit where you repeatedly wade in self pity. A repetitive recall of disturbing problems of the past hoping that somehow out of the blue you will get justice will only make you more miserable in the present and prevent you from taking any constructive action.
8. Acknowledge the lessons learnt:
It might be hard to justify distressful situations as a learning experience, but use your hindsight to protect yourself in the future. Build a sense of detachment towards perpetually negative or condescending people. Respond with aloofness to any offensive statement to close down further dialogue. Do not engage to get yourself dragged into another nasty quarrel or a dominance contest. Don’t give anybody the satisfaction of a reaction to make them think they have successfully conquered you by getting on your nerves.
9. Let go:
Habituate conscious forgetfulness to free your mind for positive and productive pursuits. Letting go does not come easily and might take years to grasp. Start by being kind to yourself and control the inner nagging to do something or feel a certain way. Feelings of despair or distress eventually subside. Do not purposely paint yourself as a victim again and again to indulge in helplessness and prolong your misery.
10. Practice Forgiveness:
You have to make a choice between suffering in resentment and healing. Forgiving those you feel wronged by, does not oblige you to reconcile or forget the issue. You identify that you are in pain and eventually let go of it by giving up feelings of revenge or retaliation. Hence, you empower yourself by not letting your pain control you.