“Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius and a lot of courage to move in the opposite direction. Peace cannot be kept by force, it can only be achieved by understanding.” Albert Einstein
Being an observer, I noticed how many of us get fired up about things that are aggravating or upsetting. We tend to dwell on those issues that anger us. The more we think about it and discuss it, the stronger the flame gets. It makes us want to correct the problem or so we think. So we lash out at the object of our perceived frustration throwing all of our blaze at them. We watch as our opponent burns to ashes. We walk away satisfied. On our way back to sanity we convince ourselves or try to convince ourselves that they deserved it, and maybe even made us do it. we were correct to retaliate.Have you ever noticed that after our storm, we have an uneasiness in our system that won’t go away? We review all the things the person did to us in order to justify in our minds that we were accurate in our angry actions. We even begin to talk about the person and the incident with others so that we can garner up support groups that agree with us thereby confirming our analysis of the situation.
In the end it doesn’t work and the uneasiness won’t go away so we confront the object of our anger again because now we blame them for the uncomfortable feelings we are experiencing. It’s their fault we got so angry. It’s all their blame in the first place. Our actions now color our mood which isn’t the happiest. We snap a quick retort at other innocent people who happen to talk to us. We feel tired and drained, and begin to have a cold or illness coming on. Sleep is restless and the anger and resentment towards our person of hatred increases.
Does this sound familiar? We have all been in that place at one time or another. Viewing it from a far away place, and a far away time makes us realize it gained us nothing, and cost us a lot of damage to our own bodies. We caused misery for the person we retaliated against. One is left with a smoldering fire that simply won’t be extinguished. It almost consumes one’s thoughts.
I had to ask myself if there was a better way I might have handled the whole situation and anger issue. I talked myself through a different scenario. If I had placed even 10% of the blame on myself, sat down and honestly spoke my feelings clearly and concisely, asked for feedback or a response to my efforts, would it have made a difference? Maybe the person that hurt me was having some deep rooted questions themselves, or going through a difficult time in their lives, or fearful of something that wasn’t there. Prior to my reflection, I didn’t stop to think their carelessness or thoughtlessness might not have had as much to do with me as it had to do with their own fears.
One moment of stepping back, reflecting before reacting, compassion before retribution might have saved both of us a multitude of heartache. None of us in honesty, is without some blame. We should never let a small smoldering fire inside of us, increase to the point of no return. In the end it not only consumes our agitator but also us. If I had simply put out the fire with talk, understanding, acceptance and tolerance, I would not have spent so many sleepless nights of anger and worry. I would not have had an angry attitude towards everyone I met. Instead I could venture to say my light of happiness would have burned instead and burned brightly without any pain to myself or others. Even when another does not respond to our overtures of reconciliation, we can keep trying and thus keep peace within ourselves. Keep our own light burning.
“He who angers you conquers you.” Elizabeth Kenny Australian Nurse
“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.” Buddha
“The greatest of faults, I should say, is to be conscious of none.” Thomas Carlyle