Thursday, April 28, 2011

{Penny for My Thoughts} Keeping Your Cool

A loved one and I were talking one day about how several individuals she holds near and dear to her heart have hurt her emotionally lately.  Actually, these people seem to hurt her consistently on a regular basis.  She was really upset of the fact she was harboring so much emotional anger.  Once she vented, she asked me: "How do you do it?  I know there are loved ones who hurt you consistently as well, yet, you seem to shake it off and keep a relationship with them as though nothing ever happened?  What is the secret?"  At the moment, I really didn't know how to answer her question.  Is there a subconscious secret to how I deal with them?  It is a question I wanted to answer for her.

Anger is an acid that can do more harm to the vessel in which it is stored than to anything on which it is poured.

- Mark Twain

The first question to ask is: Do I get angry?  Of course, I do.  Who doesn't when they are hurt by someone they love.  But the second question would be, How important is this person?  If the person is not a close family member and they have done me wrong more than once, I cut them out of my life all together. Plain and simple.  Like the saying goes, First time, shame on you. Second time, shame on me.  Life is way too short to deal with individuals who bring nothing but negativity and ill feelings into your life.  Why spend precious time being upset at someone who really does not realize and value the fact that friendship is a gift.  I pride myself in being a good friend.  I listen intently, do my best to cheer them up when they are down, and keep complaining to a bare minimum, since I know, there is nothing worse than being "that friend" who always seems to have an issue needing to be resolved.  A great friend help each other identify the good qualities in one another.
Bitterness is like cancer. It eats upon the host. But anger is like fire.
It burns it all clean.
- Maya Angelou

But, there are people in our life who, because of familial ties, we can not do away with as easily. It's so sad to know these are the individuals who can do the most harm. Why?  Because, they know no matter how angry they have made you, there is no way they can ever lose you forever.  They have insurance....blood ties.  These are the relationships in which we have to learn effective ways of dealing with our anger.

Don't get the impression that you arouse my anger. You see, one can only be angry with those he respects.  
- Richard M. Nixon

This quote, my friends, is the key for me.  I am a huge quote enthusiast, (my reason for making my weekly Wednesday Words of Wisdom) and this Nixon quote hit me to the core.  The first time a loved one makes you angry it is blinding. Why? Because this is the one person, who, because of your blood relation, you'd think would never hurt you.  We expect our family members to be the ones to nurture us, make us feel better about ourselves, play for the home team. Then, as they subsequently hurt you, you realize the anger is there, but not quite as strong as the first couple of times.  Is it because we are getting used to the idea of this person hurting you? No, not at all.  It's because with each time they do, we lose that much more respect for them.  Even more so, we realize this person obviously cares very little about how they have made me feel, so why go through the exhaustion involved with being angry for them?  Anger is depleting to our positive energy. In the end we are the ones feeling empty and exhausted while the cause of our pain, is oblivious to it, or better yet, could care less about how their actions and/or words have made us feel.

Every time you get angry, you poison your own system.
- Alfred A. Montapert

When we think about the last time we were angry, we can see how Mr. Montapert words ring with extreme clarity.  Think about it....when we are angry, our blood pressure rises, our body tenses, our emotions run amok, sometimes we even suffer from bouts of depression. We wreck havoc on our system.  So why put ourselves through it?   After giving much thought to the question posed to me, I have identified what is it I do to avoid it. And it was quite simple too.
Take the power for them to anger/hurt you away from them. 
We know exactly what makes these certain relatives tick.  After all, they are very predictable.  Usually they follow a pattern.  For example, we may have a relative who enjoys seeing loved ones battle it out.  Nothing shocks the trouble maker more than seeing you are not feeding off of them.  They act as though they are the innocently bringing you information, but in reality they know this will "set you off".  So when they see you are nonchalant about it, Wow! We have rocked their world.  We are not being vindictive in doing this. We are simply avoiding being placed in a situation where anger can brew.  Another example is the relative who remembers events in your life quite differently than you do, and are adamant to prove  "You are wrong". Stop them in their tracks. "Let's agree to disagree" and move on to a lighter topic of conversation.   We know because they are family, we have to interact with them.  The best way to do this with those who can be hurtful, is to avoid the things they can do to cause that pain.  And then, let go of the past pains they have caused.  Resentment can be just as toxic as anger.
Remember, life is too short.  We should be spending the majority of our time with those who want to see us smile, not those who rather make us cry.

photo via Pinterest

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