I remember once reading a quote about criticising others, that really made me sit up and think. I can’t remember it verbatim but it essentially said that the qualities we criticise and despise in others are often things we really don’t like about ourselves. While googling for this quote, I found this
“The very act of looking for evil in others develops evil in those who look. By dwelling on the faults of others, we are changed into the same image” (Gospel Workers 479)
In the same instance, the more I whinge about something or think badly of something or someone, the worse I feel, and the more whinging and thinking badly I do. It is a really tough cycle to break. But it’s not impossible.
My dad was a bit of a firecracker in his younger days, but it seemed as he aged, he also mellowed. I think he had a lot of regrets, and perhaps had an epiphany in his older age. In the last 3 years I was home before he passed away, he was really quite zen, actually, preferring to keep negativity to himself, and let people live their lives. He didn’t care for gossip, and as soon as I got my back up about something he’d tell me, “Hate is a waste of emotions.”
The first time he said this to me, I probably rolled my eyes. The more I thought about it, the more I realised exactly how true it was. It IS a waste of emotions. Have you ever noticed how much it eats you up inside? To be hateful, to criticise other people, to judge other people, uses a lot of energy that could be put to better use.
So, to play along with Sif, At The Bottom of The Garden I’m blogging about 10 quick fixes to let your anger go, and not let it be a waste of your emotions and energy. Well, 9 quick fixes and 1 really deep and personal evolution.
1. Take a really deep breath. Hold it. Keep holding it. Exhale, slowly. Do it with your eyes closed, and imagine every negative thought escaping your body through your finger tips and tip toes.
2. Get up and walk away. Whatever it is that is aggravating you, remove yourself from its presence. If it’s on the computer, in a magazine, on the TV you can physically remove yourself from it. Likewise, you can turn it off/close it and it’s gone.
3. It’s cliche, but it works, count to 10. If it DOESN’T work, keep counting until you have calmed down. Even if it means you get to 99 before you’re calm.
4. Get the car keys and hit the road. Put the windows down, turn the iPod/radio/CD up and sing at the top of your voice.
5. Blog about it! Sometimes offloading can be helpful. Of course, if the person you’re frustrated with reads your blog this could be counter-active.
6. Go lay down and have a nap. Seriously. Have you ever noticed how much better things look in the light of day? It’s amazing how crazy the night time can make us, and how worked up we can get when all we need is a good rest.
7. Practice Yoga. Bit of a hypocrite here, as I don’t do it, but I’ve got several friends who do, and they swear by it.
8. Read a book or watch a movie. Anything to take your mind to another place and distract you from what you’re angry about.
9. Bake! Or cook, if you’re so inclined. Put all that energy into making cookies or a scrumptious dinner for the family.
10. Number 10, the deep and personal evolution. Realise in your heart of hearts that you do not have control over other people, their words, or their actions, only over how you choose to react to them. Instead of letting yourself get wound up, fired up, fed up, develop the ability to walk away, knowing that you are the bigger person, and you’re going to live a longer and healthier life for it.