When things happen that make me uncomfortable, rather than instantly react, I try to see what life is trying to show me. In the past, I used to fixate on the person that ‘wronged’ me or owed me an apology.
The problem with this is that they might never give me one. Or think that I’m to blame instead. How does one go about resolving this, when both parties have completely polarizing views?
Resentment is like drinking poison
Does one hold firmly to one’s ground, because to do otherwise is to show weakness? Do you tell yourself you are justified for feeling angry or resentful towards that person?
Nelson Mandela famously said, “Resentment is like drinking poison and then hoping it will kill your enemies”.
What can anger teach us?
So how does one go about resolving this? First is to recognise that friction is a part of life and of being alive. That when situations occur that are confronting, rather than focusing on the actor of the problem, to take a step back instead and reflect on how it can serve.
Can it teach you something about yourself? Is there a pattern that you keep attracting in your life? Is it an opportunity to set clearer boundaries? Perhaps it’s a testing of one’s character and integrity.
You have the power to choose
In the words of Dr. Wayne Dyer, “How people treat you is their karma; how you react is yours”. Even if you might not believe in karma, you do have the power to choose how you want to respond to any given situation.
Will you choose to be bitter or better?
Ryan Holiday, in his latest essay If you’re Angry, You’re Part of the Problem, states that;
“It is easy to be clever or cruel. It’s much harder to be composed and clear” . . . “To sit quietly with our thoughts, and push ourselves to respond to everything we see with kindness and calmness”.
At the end of the day, only you can decide whether you will go through life bitter or better. The state of your mind and future happiness depends on you and you only.
And while it might seem like a trivial choice, I believe that if we want to see change between polarizing views on a larger scale, it must first start with the small choices on an individual level.