Although I have titled this post, “Anger and Forgiveness,” it could also be called, “Self-Healing or Self-Loathing”. As I have written before, WE are the creators of our lives. We are lucky enough to be able to have the free will to choose how we react to every situation in our lives. How we react is totally within our control. Unfortunately, the situation itself may not be within our control. We just have to accept that sometimes “shit happens.”
It is very easy to explain this concept and accept its truthfulness when we are not embroiled in a stressful situation. It is also very easy for all of our “understanding” to fly out the window during times of great stress, when these are the times we really need to remember that we can choose how we are going to react. It is so much easier to ask, “Why me?” and to play the part of the victim. Yet the role of the victim is a passive role. Everything has been done “to you” and you are giving up all control. My question to you is this…who is ultimately responsible for your happiness? Is it the people around you or is it you, yourself?
It is my belief that we are responsible for our own happiness. If we aren’t happy within ourselves, then nobody else will be able to make us happy. We have no one we have to please more than ourselves. As I look in the mirror each morning, while applying my makeup or brushing my teeth, I look at the only person responsible for making my life what I want it to be.
All this being said, it is sometimes very difficult for us to extract ourselves from our difficult situations and think clearly about the choices we have about how we will react to them. It is sometimes much too easy to place the blame and hold on to the anger. This is a dangerous thing to do. It can only result in unhappiness, sometimes even dangerous health issues. Holding on to anger is not good for anyone.
Yes, we all get angry. Yes, we all place the blame on someone who we feel caused the situation (even if it is ourselves who happened to do so). It is hard work and takes a lot of effort to forgive the person we feel caused the situation and move on…as a victor not as a victim.
I have recently had to deal with a situation where I felt someone was to blame for causing a lot of pain and unhappiness for some people I love very much. This was a person who, in fact, I had felt very close to for many years. I wanted to blame, maybe even hate this person. And for a while I guess I did feel those things. Then I found myself reacting badly to the stress of all this anger and hatred. My health was affected to the point that I needed an attitude adjustment or I was going to suffer bad consequences.
This forced me to look inward, at myself, to look for answers. I found that in order to move on and be happy and healthy, I had to forgive. I had to figure out how I could control my reactions to what had happened. It has taken me a few months to get to where I am now, but I think that all the hard work, the introspection and the resulting realizations, were worth the effort. Maybe this was easier for me because I have had a few situations in my life that taught me what I needed to do.
My advice to you is simple. Give up the anger and the hatred. Forget who was to blame. It is counterproductive to your own happiness. If you need help with doing this, seek professional help. We don’t always have to do it alone, but we absolutely need to forgive and move on. If we do not, then we end up hating not only the person we perceive to have caused the situation, but ourselves as well.