Do you know anyone who every time you get into a heated debate they get hysterical? Maybe it is yourself? It seems like getting angry, calling people names, and getting hysterical is now in fashion. It is now okay with so many people because we have examples of this behavior all around us. Today I want to encourage you to reach for higher ground. Reach up to a few notches on the forgiveness scale and decide to practice what can be more difficult, that is forgiveness and cooperation. When someone gets angry or starts falsely accusing you of something, try taking a breath and using a calm voice to get them also to follow suit.
When we let go of those injustices that happen to all of us, then we’re no longer keeping track of them. We let them go and forget them altogether. I know that is difficult to do. But did you know that when you let go of the injustices, your blood pressure drops, it helps your immune system to function more frequently and so many other delicate balances in your body come in to order? For myself, all of this came into view when I realize that when I hold on to those grudges and injustices, I am the only one that is angry and depleting myself of energy. The other person or persons have no awareness of it, nor are they giving it another thought. So I asked myself, why am I doing this then? Somehow I need to resolve this anger and disappointment and move on.
If we don’t do this, it begins to affect our lives personally, professionally, and all of our relationships. Pretty soon we’re complaining about the person, talking wrong about them and moving into a contrary arena that is non-productive and likely damaging for us and those around us. I enjoy reading Harvey Mackey, whose column last week spoke about this topic, and to whom I give credit for these ideas. In his column, he talks about an article by Nando Pelusi in “Psychology Today” magazine, “Injustice Collecting.” Nando says that there are high emotional payoffs for us when we collect and remember these injustices. We think that we feel better letting someone have it verbally, or dumping our anger on someone else because of another’s behavior. In actuality, the opposite is happening. The other person is observing our behavior, remembering it, and recording it for their caution when dealing with us. It not only makes us look bad; it puts those around us in the wrong spot. Now they have to listen to us, then try to move away from the negativity and move on, yet still remembering the experience that they had with us.
Harvey Mackey cites the following suggestions from Nando:
- Make a list of injustices. Write down the things that weigh on your mind. By making a list, you will get your mind to focus productively.
- Stop thinking in all-or-nothing terms. Ask yourself whether the injustice you are experiencing has to affect all aspects of your life. Try to see how injustice might help you find a new direction or live in a different and better way.
- Ask yourself if your life can still be meaningful – despite the injustice. If not, Nando says you have to realize you are choosing to refuse to get over something.
- Will being upset change your situation? Ask yourself this question if you seem stuck in a quagmire of your anger.
- Frame your situation accurately. Is something unfair – or just annoying? Keeping perspective is vital if you want to move on.
- Realize that you are going to come across bad situations. Decide how you will handle these circumstances in the future.
- Question how much this matter will affect you in the grand scheme of things. Try not to fall victim to the temptation of wallowing in grief over something that doesn’t matter that much.
My take on this? When I change my anger and resentments from injustices done to me from others, to gratitude for my ability to tolerate others’ feelings, to help them to rise to a higher level, rather than holding on to what they may have said, then I free my spirit to live life in a much more enjoyable way. Harvey closes his column with advice in this Arabic proverb: “Write the wrongs that are done to you in sand but write the good things that happen to you on a piece of marble. Let go of all emotions such as resentment and retaliation, which diminish you, and hold onto the emotions, such as gratitude and joy, which increase you.”
Let’s work on forgiving others, forgetting it and moving on to free our own spirit.
Yours for a Better Life,