How To Be Angry?

Anger is a tool that can help us navigate upsetting situations in life. It’s senseless to think that anger is the opposite of compassion since it can materialize from immediate threats, unwarranted optimism, excessive expectations, or social injustices. In fact, anger can fuel positive change when the intense emotions are based on altruism or call for self-development.

However, like any other tool, it should be used creatively with caution. It is difficult to restrict anger, but with practice in daily activities, whether lining up at the supermarket to delays in service deliveries, engrave in your mind that you have a choice to express your emotions through a sophisticated narrative and not in a fuming way. 

Art by Ania Tomicka
  • Recognize that when circumstances are out of your control, anger is not a smart choice
  • Employ “discomfort caveat” – let others know that that you are experiencing anger and potentially your actions might not be clear or even worse, they might be explosive. Apologize in advance. In this manner, the other person will become less defensive. 
  • Slow down to re-consider your response and evaluate whether your anger will help or hurt the situation. This way, you can make a sound decision rather than a fast one.
  • Provocation is inevitable in unfriendly cases, use speedometer technique. The process starts by creating a list of descriptive words that encapsulates your emotions in anger and assign a number to them. For instance:
    •  100 miles per hour explosive state 
    • 60 miles per hour a pissed off frame of mind
    • Ultimately to 30 miles per hour where you feel calm and collected. 

Of course, the intensity varies, so you should have at least 10-speed numbers and ten words summarizing the strength of your anger. If you feel way above your speed limit, then you need more time to slow down till you put on the brakes. Do not forget that creating a visual image reinforces your efforts to manage your anger. Remember, sometimes, no reaction buys time and gives you an upper hand. 

 

Featured image by War Graphics

Positive Vibes in 100 Words

In my next series, I aim to share life experiences, the latest tools, and practices to develop a positive attitude and cultivate constructive thought habits.
A positive mindset is to use your intelligence and knowledge to set goals, manage pressures, and change the negative script to a promising one. The message is to recognize that positive thinking manifests ecstasy in our lives, boosts our health and well-being and shapes a valuable self-narrative.
In that spirit, knowing well that no one can keep upbeat all the time, here are positive mottos to live by in 100 words:

Self-acceptance. Live courageously. Express your thoughts clearly. Explore your ego. Break the habit of instant gratification with fulfilment. Have gratitude in your daily life. Step out of comfort zone and aim for growth. Cultivate resilience which is a formula for happiness. Work with your strengths to experience the state of flow. Give meaning to your life by helping others. Focus by being mindful. Choose to reflect and not to agonize. Smile and laugh and hug. Expect good sensibly. Be kind. Forgive. Move away from blame game & take responsibility. Emotions are data, use them wisely. Embrace the uncontrollable. Live purposefully.

Featured image by Konrad Bak

What Are You Scared Of? Positive Vibes Series: Build Courage

Get up and show oomph! Be bold, be confident, thread your way through what people think of you, the obstacles, and everything that stirs up a weakness. Gird up your loins and get rid of your doubts and uncertainties.

Sounds familiar? Well, often, the voices in our head are loud enough to nudge us to take action. Still, we turn the volume down and list all the things that could go wrong and all the possible sufferings that can happen because we are afraid.

Aristotle (philosopher 384-322 B.C.) defines “fear as pain or disturbance due to a mental picture of some destructive or painful evil in the future.” Even though he indicates that wickedness and stupidity are evils, but they do not frighten us. Or we are not troubled by things that are a very long way off, such as death. What makes us anxious and fearful is when things have the power to harm and cause significant pain.

Fear is seen as an evolutionary necessity that can help notify a person whether they should proceed in their current direction or find another course to increase the likelihood of survival (Cannon, 1914; Ohman & Mineka, 2001). With this in mind, living a braver life is not to act naively, but to break down those potential problems and build a ladder to face the fears.

For instance, feeling anxious about air turbulence when flying is normal but refusing to travel is a debilitating and irrational fear. What constitutes courage is that you voluntarily take action to accomplish your goals when you have identified the potential problems. Being alert and being fully conscious that things might go wrong is to build the capacity to become braver in the face of challenges and setbacks.

In contrast to existing ideas that tell us to keep away from stress, you can leverage your anxiety and stress by rehearsing the tension and fear. Physical challenging experiences, contests, adventure activities are all character-forming pursuits that develop courage. Taking cold showers in the morning, a ritual that activates stress hormones which makes you think clearly, to engage in high-intensity workouts such as cycling, rock climbing, or running that help with your general health or intermittent fasting, are techniques based on the Stoic philosophy of self-denial that builds resilience against everyday stressors.

Now, in highly uncertain situations, evidently, you have no real control. By adopting a mindset that the only thing you have control over is your response, which is fostered by your values and attitudes towards life, you can transform the uncontrollable to manageable.

As Epictetus said: A Stoic “sage” never finds life intolerable, but sees in every challenge as an opportunity to test and improve oneself:

You should look to the faculties that you have, and say as you behold them, ‘Bring on me now, O Zeus, whatever difficulties you will, for I have the means and the resources granted to me by yourself to bring honour to myself through whatever may come to pass.’ (TD, Book One, Ch. 6, p. 18).

Featured image by Igor Morski

Communicate Clearly – Positive Vibes Series

What separates us from other animals is the use of language. Animals do communicate in many different ways, through smell, dancing, or touching. What sets us apart is our verbal expression and, importantly, our ability to communicate clearly.

It is not always easy to communicate your thoughts, the use of words might be misunderstood, and our bodily gestures might be misread. We tend to say nothing and expect others to understand what we are thinking telepathically. We don’t get off our chest our concerns and blame or accuse others of indifference. We get annoyed, feel defensive, and respond in anger because we tend to ignore or hold on to things that we have not been able to voice with clarity, and the list goes on. Well, until we all evolve and become Professor X, it is to our best advantage to learn and hone our communication skills instead of reacting to our unvalidated assumptions.

Regardless of the concept and whether the conversation is personal, professional, or addressing an audience, the pillars to an intelligent and useful talk are based on:

  • Know your purpose
  • Know your intention
  • Know the meaning

Once you have wiped out the haziness through the process of exploration of your intention and how it all relates to you and your audience, make sure that you practice non-judgment. This attitude will reinforce your efforts to express your thoughts with common sense and gives you the wisdom that a broad spectrum of opinions exists. Be mindful that rational explanations or points of view will probably be presented and that they might be totally in contrast with what you believe.

Often, we engage in communication that the result is unknown; hence, it is advised to make every effort to learn more about the anticipated topic while exchanging your point of view. Remember that our goal is to speak to be heard in our everyday conversations with family members, friends, colleagues, or at a business meeting. In establishing real communication, Carl Rogers, humanistic psychologist, believed that people, especially in insensitive and controversial issues, should give up traditional and legalistic kind of arguments and use a non-threatening approach based on shared and common goals. He was convinced that people stop listening or reading to a writer or speaker who makes them angry and puts them on the defensive. Hence to influence people, you should care about communicating with them rather than pointing the errors of their way. 

Last but not least, cut through the noise, the unambiguity, and always ask yourself why you are engaging in a conversation. The magic of questioning your intention unconsciously appeals to your character’s smart, intelligent, and thoughtful part.

 

 

 

Break The Habit of Instant Gratification With Fulfilment – Positive Vibe Series

“I want it, and I want it now,” sounds familiar? Needless to say that it is tough to resist the badly behaving inner voice, which demands an instant reward. Like that piece of magnetic chocolate in the cupboard that somehow telepathically stimulates your tastes buds or browsing aimlessly the social media to get an update on your imaginary friends. Of course, not being able to resist comes with a bold headline, featured as “the lack of purpose and meaning.” 

Sara Shakeel
Sara Shakeel

While the previous statement is a significant blockage, brain chemistry is enormously responsible for reinforcing the unproductive feeling, such as instant gratification. Once you experience joy, your brain is exposed to dopamine, and deliberately the brain encourages you to continue doing what made you feel good. This is called the dopamine reward circuit, which involves several parts of the brain and fortifies good feelings. Hence, unaware of the joy’s source, anything that triggers the gratification releases the chemicals, and the brain perceives it as a pleasure source. 

Sara Shakeel
Sara Shakeel

Now that you know the brain’s basic physiology’s reward system, the next step is to consciously bridge the way for your present self to reach your future self by taking advantage of the feel-good chemicals ferrying in your neural pathways. Having said that, your goals and your future self need not only a vision board but, most notably, a philosophical vision to overcome procrastination or curb instant gratification. That vision, or you may call it inspiration, must be ingrained deep into your values and aligned with your temperament.

  • Make a list of your goals, your resources, your talents, your shortcomings, and your inadequacies. Don’t be shy jot down all the self-descriptive adjectives to see what you need to improve on and what you could solidly leverage to reach your aspirations.
  • Once you have the list in front of you, start an inner-dialogue and try to convince your present self why your goals are important.
  • Attach meaning to your goals by re-examining your intentions. At this stage, the philosophical vision becomes crystal clear.
  • Choose the most challenging goal. Why? Since you have to work super hard to reach it. As Pluto said: “Do one thing and do it well.”
  • In full awareness, accept that life is full of agony, traumas, sufferings, and delays.
  • Tap into your higher intelligence to embrace the benefits of delayed gratification. As humans, we can exert self-control. Make use of it, consider your promise to your future self, know your “why,” and avoid temptations.
  • Every day remind yourself of your intended goal so that you stay on course.
  • Be consistent, even if you feel miserable, put as much effort as possible since a fraction of the required work is better than none.

Staying motivated is not an easy task, so don’t wallow on it if you slip up. It happens, we all struggle, rather than giving in to your impulses again and falling into a vicious cycle, the best way out is to know that new habits take time. With patience, you can put your abilities to work to reach your goals.

Explore Your Ego – Positive Vibes Series

It would be helpful if every time you act upon your impulsive ego, a holographic screen appears in front of your eyes, which would shed light on “why” and outlines the motive! Or, perhaps, you go through an out of body experience to watch how you are entrapped in heedless and primitive impulses, which impel you to be helpless and act irrationally. Possibly, in the future, with the help of technology, you will be able to materialize such visual awareness. Till then, you might as well resort to certain practices that will push you to another level of existence, far beyond hopeless confusion.

First of all, let’s reflect on the sense of ego; whether delving into Eastern philosophy or psychoanalysis, both recognize that uncontrolled and impulsive ego will lead to suffering. 

Moving through different stages of ego to become the best version of yourself is not an easy path. The truth is that if you are lucky, life will sweep you through nasty havoc that will wound your self-identity and crush your image. A breakdown that can lead to a breakthrough by feeding the ideal self. Now, rising from the ashes is to take responsibility for your wellbeing. It starts with realizing that your thoughts are tainted by subjectivity and emotions since your mind has found security in the sense of belonging to the wrong structures, misinterpreted values, and egocentric pursuits.

While you are climbing up the spiral staircase of your spiritual evolution, I suggest you observe and question your motives, your triggers, contradictions, and practice the following transformational self-help:

  • Gain clarity by self-reflection and self-criticism – question your goal; if you feel uneasy about your reactions, cross-examine yourself to align your intent to your essence. Self-analysis is not about beating up oneself or agonizing but to understand the triggers, your role in the event, and blowing away the pollution so that the image of your intentions becomes sharp and transparent. The focus should be on you and not others.
  •  See yourself from another perspective – use abstract thinking to match your motives to your best possible self. That entails imagining your future “Self” in unpleasant circumstances only when channeling your energy to shield your best version. By setting unwavering rules to be of service to all, however, is possible and live as a human, your future “Self” releases toxic struggles and replace the void with contentment.
  • Question the expectations – step back and reassess your approach and your expectations and how they connect to the problem. By re-evaluating the expectations, you will recognize the difference whether they are conventional & reactionary or wise and tolerant.

Remember, you cannot fill the bowl with water if it is turned upside down. To be fully alive is to be well-disposed to “Self” and others. The key is to question your motives every time the destructive “Self”/ “ego” appears. Taking a volunteering leap to an inspired “Self” means using your knowledge, patiently, and for good. Have grit, as the journey is bumpy, and evidently, the spiral staircase will not get more comfortable. You will fall back a few steps, and you will be aware of your limitations. However, regardless of the hardships, this time, with conviction and a humbled “ego,” you know how to get up quickly and how to wipe up the dust. Finally, as you go further, you realize that gratitude and generosity are your mental tools to serve and use your power to benefit others so that you act like an intelligent being.

Featured image by Tom Roberts

Focus by being mindful – Positive Vibes Series

“Mindfulness is a way of befriending ourselves and our experience.”Jon Kabat-Zinn

How can you focus on being mindful of the external activities around you while the busy buddies in your head are jumping on different time machines traveling from the past to the future and mostly making long stops at unpleasant stations along the way? At times, your head’s turmoil becomes worrisome that you need to ship magic bullets in the form of sugar cravings or any other substance abuse to quiet them. It is a challenge to be present and mindful, but it will be amazingly rewarding if meshed into our daily life. Remember when you were a child, delighted to look at an object with your eyes wide open without expecting anything from it. You were absorbed in the experience without any preconceived idea. Just a “beginner’s mind,” no clutter, no concept, no meaning, no assumptions, no color, or shape. You were just fascinated. As Psychoanalyst Wilfred Bion said, “being mindful is like taking photos; we learn to see without memory or desire.”

Stephane Barbery Photography

Precisely, a photograph captures a moment in time, and you will see things as they are, and mostly you see something that you usually ignore. This is to be mindful. You are being immersed in the experience without any distortion by your perceptions. By being mindful, you become receptive and see endless possibilities that exist within the world. As Monet said, “to see, we must forget the name of the thing we are looking at.”

Stephane Barbery Photography

Focusing to be mindful is to learn how not to rush and wait, which involves letting go. “Great understanding is broad and unhurried; little understanding is cramped and busy.” Chuang-Tzu

Stephane Barbery Photography

So how to focus on being mindful? Imagine you are a photographer exploring and embracing every opportunity. You want to seize the moment and see things around you. Don’t bother about the techniques, the light, or the subject; you adopt a “yes” attitude pushing away the blocking emotions. You just let go! You let go of expectations, perfectionism, comparing yourself to others, and be open! By letting go, you don’t rush into judgment. As in photography, you accept the scenery without labeling or categorizing.
With practice and dedication, you will find harmony between your concentration and being mindful. A process that allows you to be highly sensitive to your surroundings, interested, approachable, and open. Your field of view is expanded, and you become aware of something new. Something that you can zoom in, investigate, record it, and zoom out.

Featured image by STÉPHANE BARBERY

Cultivate resilience which is a formula for happiness! – Positive Vibes Series

You can be isolated, knocked down, lose your reputation or your business, your lover may call it a day, well many things can go wrong, and consequently, you want to crawl under a rock and stay there forever! The truth is that heartbreaks, sufferings, and pain are real and part of life. By acknowledging this fact, you realize that quitting or withdrawing to a dark abyss is not an option unless you want to be part of the extinction club’s honorary member.

Kathrin Federer
Kathrin Federer

Human history proves that positive adaptation, better known as resilience, is part of our survival regardless of our different predispositions or vulnerabilities. We dare to learn and face dire circumstances, pick up the pieces, and triumph. While traumatic experiences shape our resilience, the good news is that this quality can be cultivated.

“Everyone faces up more bravely to a thing for which he has long prepared himself, sufferings, even being withstood if they have been trained for in advance.” – Seneca

What Seneca refers to is your ability to intervene and forge your resilience by conforming to Stoic philosophy. The school of thought encourages thoughtful analysis into the dark web of your fears and agonies by distinguishing between what you can control and what you don’t have control over, even more between the reality and our perception of the situation.

Oleg Shupliak
Oleg Shupliak

All this considered, whether you are currently experiencing difficult times or have undergone one, whether you are fearful of what the future has in store, employing a stoic strategy helps you cope with the challenges. Begin with picturing the worst that can happen and trust that you are capable of bouncing back from the unthinkable. The idea is preparing yourself to face the unknown and what could go wrong, and the goal is not about being less fearful but building courage. Tapping into your inner strength and to you emplace systems to build up your resilience.

Initially, reflect on your life vision, the kind of life you want to lead, where you want to be in 3 or 5 years, what is the purpose of your existence. Next, write down the significant past experiences that have shaped your emotions to understand where you are in life. For both exercises, go to self-authoring.com and use their online writing programs to explore your past, present, future by gaining a deep understanding of yourself.

Subsequently, consider exerting the following practical efforts recommended by experts in your life strategy and increase your capacity to recover from difficulties:

  • Develop healthy eating habits and regular exercise to strengthen your overall health and increase the chances of better and faster recovery from injuries or sickness.
  • Practice forgiveness – Nelson Mandela said: “When I walked out of the gate, I knew that I was still in prison if I continued to hate these people.” Forgiveness is a necessary attitude to build resilience and not an alternative.
  • Know that there is no guarantee in life (the only guarantee is that we are mortals).
  • Invest in people and relationships that are supportive and encourage you to get through hard times.
  • Commit to routines – establish priorities and stay with it even when things are out of control. For instance, mapping your day, being aware of the cost of the wasted time, performing tasks that are integral to your goals will weed out the act of procrastination. As your actions become your habits, you can restrain impulses and become less reliant on motivation and take responsibility to move forward. “Foolish are those who…have no aim to which they can direct every impulse and, indeed, every thought.” – Marcus Aurelius.
  • Have back up plans
  • Refrain from putting all your eggs in one basket
  • Transform your resentment to energy and channel it towards your goals

 

 

 

Featured image by Fernanda Suarez 

Work With Your Strengths To Experience The State Of Flow – Positive Vibes Series

Clearly, it is rewarding to work with your strengths, yet, the question is, how do you recognize your strengths? When it comes to assessing what you are good at, the understanding can become fuzzy. At this stage, you are at risk of underperforming or be conceited, which is different from being self-confident. Consequently, this state of confusion brings about indecisiveness, which is useful if you tend to it. How? Well:

  • Uncertainties and doubts raise questions
  • You will start filling self-analysis exercises
  • Spotting patterns that suggest your forte
  • You reach out to pragmatic family, friends, and colleagues to seek feedback
  • Taking note of what you have learned, you draw a self-portrait and create an action plan to make effective use of your strengths.

Notably, the activity should also include identifying your weaknesses. Upon reflection, recognizing your imperfections and improving on indeed become one of your most vital strengths. Make sure that this self-awareness inspires you and creates a commitment to self-improvement. However, the problem arises if you spend your energy trying to improve your weakness rather than exploring and practicing your strengths once you have uncovered them. J.K Rowling focused solely on her creative mind and writing skills instead of improving her lack of organizational skills. In an interview, she said: “I am one of the most disorganized people in the world and, as I later proved, the worst secretary ever.” For instance, in a sport setting, a soccer coach spots the core strength and ensures that the player is placed in a position to accentuate its power.

It is a known fact that when you use your strengths, you will be happier. The evidence lies in extensive research based on positive psychology interventions. The idea that brings your focus on using your “signature strengths” in a new way. A treatment method or “intentional activities aim to cultivate positive feelings, behaviors, or cognitions” (Sin and Lyubomirsky, 2009, p. 468). Hence, if you aim to progress while maintaining and boosting your mental state’s well-being, learn to leverage your strengths to reach your goals. And remember strength is characterized as a trait that:

  • Energizes you
  • Makes you stronger
  • Makes you thrive
  • It engages you
  • Fulfills you
  • Notably, it leads you to be in the zone or a flow state – a mental state that keeps you fully involved and feels with joy so that you are entirely absorbed in the activity.
Jean Michel Bihorel

Featured image by Bruno Birkhofer Photography 

Choose To Reflect and Not To Agonize – Positive Vibe Series

At times we should carefully analyze our thoughts. At times we should peel all the layers of our irrational behaviour. At times we should dig deep to gain insight into how we feel. At times we need the courage to examine the nasty bits of ourselves. At times we need encouragement to carry on. At times we need to find solace. At times we need to forgive ourselves for our imperfections. At times we need to reassess our ways of life. At times we need to break the self-imposed rules and replaced them with principles. At times we need to self-reflect. 

Art by Sara Shakeel

We explore other planets, learn about physics, philosophy, learn to speak other languages, yet, at times we are vague about our reactions, responses or mental process even tough we inhabit ourselves. At times, something hammers somewhere within us that makes us sad, irritated, confused, anxious or mean when difficult situation emerges. Well, there is an evolutionary explanation that is in large part intrinsic to our brain. Over Millenials, we have navigated and took action in the world through quick and instinctive decision-making rather than introspection.  However, in spite of this theory, we can learn to investigate different chambers of our minds to find clarity and be in control. 

Beautiful Bizarre Magazine

An informative description of calming our monkey mind is offered by the School of Life. The essay recommends focused and reflective questions known as philosophical meditations. There are three “What” questions to face. Keep in mind that “Why” questions can highlight our limitations and stir up negative emotions, while “what” questions help keep us curious and positive about the future (Eurich, 2017).

  • What am I presently anxious about? Life is full of uncertainties, alarming situations or minor issues and only by laying them out you can truly understand the source of the chaos in your mind and how you can diffuse them. The writing exercise helps with questions such as “what would happen if the lightning strikes?” First, you unpack the emotions and then weed out your anxieties by imaging that they can happen and in what way you can survive.  
  • What am I presently upset about? Strangely enough, we can get upset with anything. From eating sound to unkind behaviors, at times it feels like everyone is throwing stones at us. It does not matter if it is trivial or serious, the point is to write them down. Pour your heart out, be enraged, sad,… Then act as a friend to yourself. How would you advise your friend in times of fury? What are your suggestions? Amazingly, behaving like a friend, we become generous and kind to ourselves. 
  • What am I presently excited about? List things that made you excited. Choose two and describe your feeling by further questioning what would it be if you were to change your life to feel the excitement. What is missing? What you need to change? 

The philosophical meditation is rooted in self-love. The exercise clarifies your intentions and aligns them with your values and principles in life that allows you to be less vulnerable and composed. It might not erase all your agony but it can guide you to be calmer and less bitter. As Socrates summed up: “Know yourself.”

 

Featured image by Sara Shakeel

Smile, Laugh, Hug, Expect Good Sensibly & Be Kind – Positive Vibes Series

Here’s the shocking truth: very straightforward behaviors such as a smile, hug, and laughter are the fastest way to boost positive emotions, although, there is this huge BUT:  if you don’t feel the sensation do not force it.

Maurizio Cattelan

Nothing is worse than a hypocritical and soul scratching forced laughter that stems from bitterness, resentment, and sheer Janus-faced intention.  It is healthier to be expressive of your true emotions than masking your low spirits by a pretense that “I am a happy jolly person.” Obviously, at times, treating yourself to a necessary smile, laughter or a hug to inspire and encourage yourself or others to keep going is sensible and productive.

Nobody argues that hugging and laughing calm the nervous system, lowers your blood pressure, your stress hormone and positively increases your social connections. However, you should push yourself to aim high by taking conscious decisions to feel good inside. Sometimes, we are confronted with situations where something or someone has made us uncomfortable or annoyed. A fake smile is not the remedy but as Rene Descartes remarked: “Whenever anyone has offended me, I try to raise my soul so high that the offense cannot reach it.”

Salvador Dali

Elevating your soul is not an easy task. How can you control your agitation? The way forward is to align your soul with gratitude, understanding and questioning your motive as well as others. No matter the intentions, being thick skin is not to put up with rude and unkind criticism. Of course, mastering such an outlook in life takes courage, as a very good friend of mine advised, either let it go and smile or confront it by keeping your tone light.  Like a feather, the feeling takes you to cloud nine, where you feel at ease, where your boundaries are outlined and expect good sensibly with a smile.

Naturally, not every day you can be forgiving, understanding, or want to hug or laugh, the road to self-growth is difficult but remember it is worth every step of the way. As long as you are present in your own life and manage difficult emotions like frustration, anger, and disappointment appropriately, you are on the right path. Occasionally, you feel enraged or sad, do not stifle it and let go of self-judgment. You should accept that being vulnerable is part of being human and maybe along the way, you have tied your self-esteem on things and other people to the extent that might bring the worse in you. It is healthy to pull back, replenish and learn to smile, laugh and hug so that next time they will spare your anxiety.

There is another rule when you are at odds and lack the capacity to express with civility, the ideal is to refuel by tapping into your empathy reserve and re-align your behavior in ways that reinforces your generous, gracious and thoughtful intentions. And what better ways to swell kindness and your noble motives but with a smile, a hug, laughter, and kindness.

Forgive – Positive Vibes Series

Forgiveness happens when you no longer feel angry, resentful towards someone or wish to punish them. Forgiveness does not happen overnight. It feels like stepping into a dark empty space, leaving behind the nyctophobia mind at the door. Overwhelmed with anxiety, you move hesitantly, feeling powerless over your fear of the unknown. Your racing heart warns you of the prominent threats. The risk of being humiliated, taken for a sucker, and asking yourself thousands of times over, why you let those rotten-minded people off the hook?

The simple answer is: You want peace and growth. You do not want inflammation in your body. You do not want to suffer anxiety or depression. “If hope gives you wings, forgiveness will often be what you will need to get off the ground.” The lingering idea of revenge is tasty but just like wasabi, it gets you an endorphin rush from the pain and after a second, oops! it dissolves. Yes, sometimes things do not make sense, you try to teach the wrongdoers a lesson by mirroring back or calling out someone for acting shockingly bad towards you, albeit their lack of intelligence, they eclipse their misery and at times bitterness with innocence! 

You want to release the negativity, but keep in mind the progression is slow, you want to blow away the anger but it cannot pass through the first line of defense meshed around you by your ego. You will go two steps forward and then five steps back. Reluctantly you pick yourself up knowing well that the only way is to stand on your feet and continue on the path of self-care with humility.

Digital Artist – Alper Yemenicigil

How? Well, you can choose to practice the five-step REACH model developed by Everett Worthington:

  • Recall – The first step is to objectively recall the misdeed. Do not scrutinize with negativity light nor allow victimhood behavior to take over your entire existence. In fact, wallowing in self-pity makes you perceive the world and people around you through a paranoid mental lens. While it is important to acknowledge that you have suffered but you won’t be able to forgive and go forward in life unless you step out of the victim role. Instead of assigning blame, take responsibility. Stop obsessing about what-ifs and rise above the primitive ego.
  • Empathize – Next, make the effort to put aside your biases and try to understand the other person’s way of thinking and reasoning. Make sure that you do not underplay the wrong but only grasp their inner-struggles, their intentions or mindset.
  • Altruism – Subsequently, consider forgiveness as an altruistic gift. Look back on a time that you transgressed and you were forgiven.
  • Commit – Kindly, commit yourself to forgive. Work on your commitment. Write your wounds in a journal or make the effort to practicing small acts of forgiveness. For instance when someone cuts you off in traffic, do not take it personally, just let it slide.
  • Hold on – Finally, hold on to your forgiveness. This stage is difficult since something can trigger the memory and you are back to square one. Yes, you have been hurt, you have accepted what has transpired, analyzed yourself, learning from your mistakes, recognizing your faults and at this point see yourself as a survivor. It is not about pressing on the delete button but changing your reactions towards its memory.

Throughout the process, remove yourself from despicable situations. Surround yourself with good people. Well-intentioned individuals that take your hand and lift you up. People who will be happy if you succeed and empathize with your sadness. Immerse in laughter, positive activities and hone your social conscious to be useful. Re-connect with your inspired self. The one that seeks knowledge, the one that is creative, the one that hates stagnation. The one that blows out its anger to get as close to indifference towards the offenders, the one that is reluctant to live in regret of dwelling in the past and letting the present and future slip away. The one that is determined and the one that opens its heart to travel the arch from the bruised ego to feeling neutral and ultimately forgiveness.

Lastly, bear in mind that at times the perpetrators are ignorant and will never realize that your forgiveness was self-purification pilgrimage. As a matter of fact, once you reach this state of mind you will be oblivious to their interpretation.

 

Featured image by Toxic Treats