You have only bad feelings. Only negative ideas occur to you. You only want to act negatively. But what if you’re mistaken and something innocent is behind all your assumptions?
How easily it is to feel wronged
There is probably nobody who has never felt hatred of another person. In the same way, there is probably nobody who has never been the target of hatred too. Why does it take control of us, and what do we do to cause it?
Before we explore the answer, let’s clarify the term so that we’re on the same wavelength. Hatred can be defined as, “An intense dislike or ill will.” It can be a short-term emotion, or it can be something that lingers for a person’s whole life. Even if it’s justified and not just something that’s been blown out of proportion, it’s an exhausting emotion that can be incredibly destructive.
This is probably the most painful aspect of hatred. It burns like a fire, which is a good analogy because just like fire, hatred has to be fed and nurtured. It’s relentlessly consuming and it affects everything around it. Because of its intensity it can’t exist in isolation within us, so it seeps out to poison our relationships with others.
You’re hurting me, and you don’t even know it
You have probably come across people who seem predisposed towards hatred. Something in their temperament makes them quick to anger, and these people are often described as having a “short fuse,” because it doesn’t take much to make them explode.
People who hate easily are not willing to find the time to understand their negative emotions. They don’t examine their feelings of being wronged, but instead allow themselves to be overcome by a wave of strong negative emotions. For some people, self-examination is not an option because they would prefer to point the finger at others.
They will always blame others before they will look at their own errors and shortcomings. In their abbreviated thinking, they sometimes even forget why they got angry in the first place. Mostly they just remember WHO angered them and HOW VERY angry they felt.
We examined the topic of how to deal with anger (I used the term “spontaneous combustion”) in my book 250 Laws of Love, in a fairly wide-ranging piece. Today, I would like to focus on the reasons that anger arises. This is because (as you will know well from my books and will discover quickly if you meet me) that I think that prevention is better than cure. It’s always much easier to avoid causing wounds than it is treating them.
There are lots of reasons why anger arises. Today, I focus on the five most frequent.
1. Misunderstandings and Assumptions
People who are unable to ask (because they find it hard to do so) punish themselves with assumptions that they create and that have one fundamental error—they often have nothing in common with reality.
We trust our minds to interpret the world around us, so our ideas are the truth for us. Our assumptions become our reality and we base our actions on it.
For example, we sometimes come up with the idea that other people have bad intentions towards us, perhaps based on some reading of what they say or do will have a look at us. If we don’t pause to examine the logic of this kind of idea then it has free rein to grow into something insidious. If we don’t take the opportunity to test our new belief, by actually talking to the person and gauging what they think of us, then we labour under a very unfortunate misconception.
This kind of assumption is where anger is born.
2. Unrealistic Expectations
Parents know it, and so do the children whose parents have—God knows why—extremely high expectations. Such parents often compensate for their own failures and force their children to perform the activities that they always dreamed of doing. “You’re going to be a violinist; the whole world will bow to you…” “You’ll be a model that every man will court…so don’t eat any more.”
Such parents deform not only the personality of their children, but they also create a punishment for themselves. By inflicting unrealistically high expectations on their children they set them up for failure and set themselves up for the punishment of perpetual disappointment. When their children are not successful, these parents are disappointed, insulted, disillusioned. They wound them, they threaten. For children it is a catastrophic situation—they give all they can and not only is it not enough, but the relationship keeps getting worse. And this is for one simple reason—the parent does not know what reciprocity is. That for every attempt a child makes he or she deserves praise. Because praise is energy, the reward of approval that keeps them trying.
The children of such parents may never realise that their best will never be good enough, and will keep on trying in vain, often well into adulthood to please others, even if it is against their own best interests. By refusing to acknowledge that their children are more than just extensions of their own egos, these self-centred parents create the kind of damage that lingers for a lifetime. With this in mind, it’s easy to see where some of those people with short fuses come from!
3. A Feeling of Isolation
The feeling of isolation doesn’t necessarily come from being alone. You can feel isolated in a crowd, surrounded by people yet ignored; or worse, surrounded by people and mocked. Isolation is the feeling of being left out, not included, separate from others. It can be triggered by something as simple as being overlooked by someone for a social event or not included in their conversation. Some of us are always looking for evidence that we’re not worthy, and if we look too hard and too often, and of course we are bound to have our suspicions confirmed by some oversight which is actually innocent.
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