Letting go of anger

Discussion in 'Philosophy and Spirituality in the Arts' started by Flea, Feb 10, 2011.

  1. Flea

    Flea Beating you all over those fries!

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    It happens to everyone. We get screwed in some way, and we just can't let it go, at least not for a while.

    I'm going through it right now, mulling a lawsuit to get what's mine, and it's turning me into someone I don't like. I spent hours today talking with local bureaucrats, a couple lawyers and even a private investigator. It's eating me up and ruined an otherwise beautiful day. I want to get this millstone off from around my neck but it just won't seem to go.

    I trained this evening and it helped a lot. I knew it would, so I made the executive decision that I would stop obsessing about it once I got home. Not very practical, but it seems to be helping. One of my classmates' mother is having a major surgery tomorrow, so we just took it out on each other. That helped too.

    Any other suggestions? I'm trying to be spiritual and forgiving about this, I really am. I know I should because I'm just hurting myself and yadda yadda. How do other people here let go of that sense of righteous indignation and anger? I could use some help here.
     
  2. Bill Mattocks

    Bill Mattocks Sr. Grandmaster

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    I hate to say this, but I think it goes with certain personalities.

    I'm essentially too lazy to hold a grudge, and anger just takes a whole lot of energy.

    I also look at it this way (might not apply to your situation)...

    If someone says or does something with the intent of making me angry or hurting my feelings, if I indeed become angry or if my feelings are hurt, they win. That is, they wanted something and they got it.

    But I have the power to thwart their desires. If they get pleasure from seeing me blow my top, all I have to do is not blow my top, and their anger is turned back on them without me doing anything. I win. It's all about control, and I control my emotions (at least I try to). Give someone who dislikes me control over *my* emotions? No way.

    I've actually held grudges for a period of time; it's exhausting. It's not that I forgive them, it's that I can't be bothered. They're just not that important to me.

    As to "getting what's mine"... I just kind of think of the world as essentially unfair; life goes on. The universe screws you over and it really doesn't care. That's life!
     
  3. girlbug2

    girlbug2 Master of Arts

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    I, too have a problem with holding onto grudges and stewing over things far too long.

    Years ago, somebody told me the following truism: nobody ever really gets away with anything. Somebody may wrong me and I can see them temporarily as if they have had no consequences, but down the road it will bite them back so to speak, one way or another. Whether you believe in karma or a just God, this truism has held for every situation I've been in and everything imaginable.

    If nothing else, there is one more angle to consider: imagine being the person who for instance lied or gossiped about you. In itself, that is a kind of punishment. Such a person may present the appearance of being happy and in control of themselves, but really, that kind of action (sin, if you will), is soul-killing. It sucks to have to live with oneself if one is doing evil to others. You have to constantly lie to yourself to mask your own low self image and misery, and it doesn't work.

    Take comfort Flea, there is a God and He is watching. He is absolutely just, but even better, He can forgive anything.:)
     
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  4. Jade Tigress

    Jade Tigress RAWR

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    It's a tough situation and there is no easy answer. I believe your conscious decision to stop obsessing over it is very practical. You will have to face the choice to take this route each time it comes up. Maybe you'll find that by doing that the choice will come up less often. ?

    Carrying anger is not good for anyone and I give you credit for recognizing that and taking active steps to change it.

    I have a lot going on in my life to be angry about right now, but there's one "little" thing that's been bugging me for a few months now. Every time I think about it I feel the boil, and I'm a very laid back person that does not anger easily. I've tried ignoring it and telling myself it's not a big deal, I can't change it, let it go. But I still get angry every time I think of it.

    I am interested to see what others have to say.
     
  5. Carol

    Carol Crazy like a...

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    Commit yourself to pushing the thought out of your mind every time you think of it. Don't waste time getting angry, focus your might on eradicating the thought from your mind. It's the thinking about it here-and-there that makes such thoughts so engrained in one's psyche.

    This is why gambling addicts so many people, sometimes fiercely. A person walks in to a casino, enchanted by the sights and sounds, and puts a dollar in a slot machine. The wheels spins and and say "Free Play", and pays out the dollar that the person spent. The person moves on to another machine, they put in a dollar, the wheels spin and say "Free Play" and return the dollar to the player. This person wanders through the casino, trying several machines, each one says "Free Play" and spits back out the money the person used initially to play. Would the person get hooked on gambling? No, they would eventually thing gambling is boring and find something else to do. By the same token, if the person always lost 100 percent of whatever they put in....100 percent of the time, the person wouldn't get hooked on gambling, they would eventually leave disgusted and find something else to do.

    So, casinos don't hook people by taking 100 percent of their money. Or giving free plays 100 percent of the time. They take it by gradual stimulus to the brain. Nothing here....a little here....a little there....nothing there....nothing again....nothing again...medium payout....nothing again....little here...and THAT is what gets gamblers hooked, and trapped in what is sometimes an ugly cycle. This is why many people stay in unhealthy relationships. Its not because they like being treated poorly by their partner, they hate it. But what hooks them is the little happiness here...the little joy there. That's what hooks the brain, and they keep stomaching out the bad stuff in hopes of their next reward.

    It is a cycle of addiction, and it can be destructive. But you DO have the power to break it. What are addictions? Figuratively speaking, they are internal beasts. They have no arms, no legs, no minds...they can't do anything for themselves. So they trick you in to doing the work for them, and giving them what they want. We all have the power within us to fight back against that best. It may not be easy to do so, and it may not be fun, but it is possible.

    Every time the nagging thought enters your mind...push it away immediately. Immediately. Distracting yourself helps. Immediately dig deeper in to work, or the housework, or turn on the radio or take a walk...but don't ever not for a minute let the beast send that thought back in your head. Even when your tired, or not feeling down, or don't feel like fighting it...you must. The payout is huge, and wonderful, and very very enjoyable.

    The rewards are worth it. You can do it, and we're all behind you. :)

    RAWR!!
     
  6. Bill Mattocks

    Bill Mattocks Sr. Grandmaster

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    One of the phrases I hear the most from people who cannot let go of some injury, injustice, or insult done to them is "I should not have to put up with that."

    Right. You should not have to. In a fair and just world. But this isn't one of those fair worlds. This is an unfair, unjust, world.

    The back-and-forth, tit-for-tat, push-me-shove-you, never ends until someone decides they WILL "put up with that" and calls a halt to it. Otherwise, the cycle of anger, hatred, and destruction never end.

    Yeah, when someone does something vile to me, I should not have to put up with it. But if I do, the problem stops there. No back-and-forth. No endless cycle of anger, recrimination, violence or what-have-you.

    Life sucks. Get a helmet. Move on.

    Of course, when I give this advice to my siblings (who cannot let it go ever), it's ignored. Oh, they pay lip service to it, but in their opinion, it's the OTHER person who should just 'let it go' and not them. So they won't stop. Which means the anger, resentment and sometimes even violence won't stop.

    They argue with me, saying "If I forgive and forget, then I'm letting myself be a victim!" Not so. If you believe you're a victim, you're a victim. If you just don't lock yourself into the endless cycle of tit-for-tat, you walk away the winner. I guess you're the victim if you just can't stop seeing yourself in that role, though. If YOU think you're the victim, then yeah, you are. Nobody makes you a victim, we do it to ourselves. Besides, nobody said to shake hands and be bestest buddies again. Just drop it and walk away. No need to forgive, no need to forget, just drop it. But for my siblings, that's just WAY TOO HARD.

    Frankly, I think my battling siblings are stupid when they can't let go of a grudge. They only hurt themselves, and they surely do beat themselves up right proper. How smart is that? But that's just me, I guess.
     
  7. MA-Caver

    MA-Caver Sr. Grandmaster

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    Good answers one and all.

    I have a terrible temper. I roar and rage and all of that... when nobody is around.
    As it was noted (here in the thread) holding on to it is not healthy, emotionally, mentally and physically. Once I have my "private tantrum" I'm nice calm peaceful placid laid back and all that which people would want me to be.
    My mind is clearer and I seek to find reconciliation if at all possible.

    Get what's mine? Whatever it is... you probably didn't need to have it to begin with.
    Someone has wronged you and you want retribution for that wrong. Gotta look at WHY you want that retribution, before deciding you deserve it.
    Take the long view of it as well. Once you have your retribution is it worth holding on to? What will it be worth (whatever it may be) a few months on down the road, a few years? Really look at it. If you're just wanting to satisfy the now, and honestly, nobody is going to care 10 years from now... is it really worth getting what's mine?

    Lots of people (rightly) advise "let it go, let it go... it's not worth it..." But it still doesn't right the wrong, it still doesn't make one feel better. It's not always easy to immediately forget... this gets more difficult with the severity of the wrong AND how much attachment and what kind of attachment we have to whatever it is that was wronged about us... (pride, name, honor, material item, friend, family, et al.). Slander, theft, humiliation, betrayal, deception, and all others are type of wrongs others can do to us. How much we attach ourselves to whatever, emotionally, or how much we value whatever it is, will determine how angry we are about it.

    If it is something that is illegal then of course report it to the police, we already know that. Bringing a lawsuit against someone ... hmm... again gotta look and see just how much importance we have attached to whatever it is that we're suing for.

    Of course you're going to burn (inside) every time you think about it. Talking about it helps get rid of the burn. Eventually like all fires... when denied the fuel... it'll burn out or at least smolder down to a small ember.
    Build the bridge... build it and have it there to allow you to get over it when you're ready to.
     
  8. Bill Mattocks

    Bill Mattocks Sr. Grandmaster

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    No, it doesn't right the wrong. But here's the thing. Wrongs don't always get righted. Losing yourself in the quagmire of what you 'deserve' or 'do not deserve' is a pit of quicksand from which it can be difficult to escape.

    I hear you - and I've heard that exact same sentiment before, so I know it's legitimate to feel that way and lots of people do. "It doesn't make it better." Right. Nothing does. What happens after that realization is what makes the difference. Get trapped in the never-ending cycle of how you're not being treated fairly, or just walk away. Yeah, it hurt. Yeah, you lost. Yeah, it's not fair. Now what?

    And frankly, as much as I want to hold on to a grudge sometimes, I've always found that it's just too much work. They call it 'nursing a grudge' for a reason, you know. You have to keep it alive intentionally or it just fades away on its own. I only have so much energy to give anything, and that's more than I can spare.
     
  9. Flea

    Flea Beating you all over those fries!

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    A very interesting way to put it.

    In my defense, along with all the energy I'm involuntarily (?) putting into this, I've made a point of spending significant time doing positive things for myself - making a giant pot of soup, going back and forth to the bike shop outfitting myself for commuting, and catching several rare days of sun. The emotions are still there though, killing my appetite for the soup and robbing me of the sleep I make a point of trying to get.

    I don't think it's very realistic of me to try to force myself to stop being angry, but I am doing my best to distract myself.

    The one thing that has stopped me from filing in small claims court is an achilles heel unrelated to the situation that would make it far more expensive to sue than not to. That, and the witness who saw the whole thing told me something yesterday that indicates that the would-be defendant isn't actually playing dumb. I'd go into the details, but that would be contrary to my commitment (marginally effective as it is) not to stir my internal pot any more.

    Thanks for all the input. I know what you're saying is true, it's just hard for me to access it through all the emotion and adrenaline right now. I'll get there.
     
  10. Bill Mattocks

    Bill Mattocks Sr. Grandmaster

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    That's where I get the idea that people are just fundamentally different. I have to force myself to remain angry. If I don't keep the fires going on purpose, they just go out on their own. I guess I just don't really care what people think of me, when it comes to it. They hurt my feelings, they did me wrong, they treated me badly, they took advantage of me, they stole my money...and so on. Yep. And I'm not stupid, I won't let them do that again, we're not all buddy-buddy now. But I just haven't got the energy it takes to stay mad. I just don't care enough to be mad. Yeah, they suck. They're going to suck whether or not I direct my anger at them. Nothing changes when I'm mad, except I'm mad. I just don't see the point.
     
  11. Flea

    Flea Beating you all over those fries!

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    Oh, and Carol? You're absolutely right about the addiction analogy. I'd go further and say that in my experience it isn't an analogy, it's the real thing.

    Much of my life I've been a completely insufferable female-dog on wheels because anger is such a rush. Most of the time I wasn't even aware that I was blowing up at people. Then one day I was gearing up for a blowout and it came to me out of the blue - I'm not a very happy person. Then in another split second, my larynx still engaged to hurl that first word of bile, I realized that whatever surface thing I was angry about was symptomatic of something deeper. I stopped myself and walked away after dropping that first syllable, and thus my journey began.

    I appreciate your bringing up that point. Maybe I'm having a relapse! :drinkbeer What do recovering addicts do when they fall off the wagon? Today sounds is a good day to find out.
     
  12. bushidomartialarts

    bushidomartialarts Senior Master

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    Here's an exercise that's worked for me.

    Whenever you feel the anger taking control when you don't want it to (as opposed to a session of healthy venting)....pretend that you are an actor in a movie or play, performing the part of someone like Yoda or the Dalai Lama - a risen person who is in total control of his emotions and able to let the anger pass.


    Option two is to paraphrase our Bene Gesserit friends..

    I will not rage
    Rage is the mind killer....
     
  13. Bob Hubbard

    Bob Hubbard Retired

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    I wrote a piece a while back, part tongue in cheek, part serious.
    The Passion of Anger - Part 4 of 5

    My advice today would be to understand why you're angry, and work to fix, correct, accept, forgive, and so on as it applies to what it is that is causing the anger.
    I've been on a personal journey for almost a year now, and seeking to understand and master my own anger is part of that. It's ok to be angry, but don't let it's fire destroy you.
     
  14. Xue Sheng

    Xue Sheng All weight is underside

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    Flea

    You could try a Zen Buddhist approachÂ…

    Accept and own your anger once you do that you no longer need to worry about it. It will disappear

     
  15. Sukerkin

    Sukerkin Have the courage to speak softly

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    Some fabulous insights in the above posts ladies and gentlemen - my compliments to you all.

    Sadly, I am the worst possible person when it comes to this sort of thing - one of the lines in my signature even admits to it. It's a bitter aspect of that side of my personality that makes me a good friend - I never forget the good that someone does for me but I never forgive an evil.

    I fume and smolder for months on end, no matter how much I tell myself to let it go or not to worry about it. That inner Romulan my bike accident released will not listen to the Vulcan I used to be :( and :eek:. Just thinking about the subject now awakens again the flames of a grudge I have borne for nearly two decades :eek:.
     
  16. jks9199

    jks9199 Administrator Staff Member

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    Can you do something positive about the situation?

    Will addressing it via lawsuit, via simply talking to the person about it, or whatever actually do any good? Will it solve the problem, or will the problem remain?

    I'm reading heavily between the lines -- so I may be way off -- but if you repair or correct the damage, your obsession may go away. A lot of the time, feelings are reawakened by seeing the problem again and again...
     
  17. Nomad

    Nomad Master Black Belt

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    Exercise to the point of exhaustion. Hit the bag, run, work on kata, whatever.

    Or get yourself an ice cream.

    Or play with/pet a puppy for awhile.

    Any of the above methods makes it nearly impossible to be angry during those moments. Of course, the anger may return afterwards. When you feel it coming on, do something else instead of dwelling on it.

    As someone famouser than I once said: "The best revenge is living well." The more you let yourself be affected by someone else's actions, the more you give them power over you.

    As for the lawsuit, only you can decide whether or not it's worth dredging through things again (and again, potentially for quite a prolonged period of time) that obviously have a negative influence on you. If it's not something you need to do, I'd say let it go and let karma take care of the people that wronged you.
     
  18. Kacey

    Kacey Sr. Grandmaster

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    Talk to friends - here, in person, where ever you can.

    Hit something appropriate - a heavy bag, a makiwara, whatever you can find. Occasionally there's a fair amount of visualization going on when I do this :). Just remember that anger can mess up your focus and technique, and don't hurt yourself when hitting things.

    Do something positive for yourself - take a hot bath, go out to eat, watch a movie, spend an evening quietly doing nothing... whatever helps you relax and think about other things.
     
  19. Flea

    Flea Beating you all over those fries!

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    I think I did a lot better today. Called up a close friend and vented, then off to Ye Pancake House for a Bigge Breakfaste. Then I went off to help a friend of a friend pack one room of a sprawling McMansion for a sudden cross-country move.

    I still have this evening to myself, but I think I'll do all right. I have a smelly dog who needs a good bath, and a Pliates DVD that's been collecting dust on the shelf.

    I'm coming around to the opinion that you just can't argue with stupid. She's just a flaky bimbo who probably does mean well, but ultimately it's my fault that her off-leash dog went after my bleeding cat. I really thought she was playing dumb until my neighbor who saw it told me that she offered her some pot when I stepped away for a moment. There's only so much I can do with that. And if I did sue, she'd probably offer the serving LEO a hit too. :rolleyes:

    Some day she'll grow up, but nowhere near my schedule. It's her problem, and some day this kind of karma will come back to bite her in the ****. I just hope no innocent animals pay the price when it does.
     
  20. Hudson69

    Hudson69 Brown Belt

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    Maybe you need to process the information and see it from all sides. When I get upset and need an attitude adjustment I run, it is my meditation. I run until I get it straightened out in my head or I cannot run any more.... You said that you and another person rolled on the mats and took out some anxiety. That sounds good but sounds like there is too much thinking about what you are doing (on the mat) to devote enough background thought to process the situation; maybe try something really tiring but with less moving parts?

    And all the mention of God and forgiveness. I have to side with that as well. No matter what happens He is going to be there for you.

    Work it out bro, you probably have a lot of time a head of you and regardless of how long this situation lasts it is probably going to be only a tiny slice of your entire life. Don't let anger make it worse.

    My .02 only123
     

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