Here it is: the beginning of another new year. All around the globe people are making New Year's resolutions to lose weight, be happier, spend more quality time with their families and so on. I find it rather odd that in a world filled with anger and violence no one makes a declaration to "not be so angry". While it's realistic to think we can be less angry, is it reasonable to expect that we experience no anger at all? And if so, it is even wise? After all, anger, as with all emotions, is a necessary and useful feeling. So why would anyone want to eliminate it completely?
Anger is a symptom of deeper rooted emotions: it originates from being hurt, feeling frustrated or experiencing fear. In a nutshell: our feelings get bruised when we take personal offense to what others are saying or doing. Frustration occurs when we try to force others to conform to our demands and/or expect that life be fair. Fear emerges when we lack confidence in our own abilities to handle life's ever changing circumstances. In essence, when we quell the root, the anger cannot manifest.
So is it possible, then, to live without anger?
First: Practice objective observation. View all situations from an neutral standpoint. Do not assign value (good/bad, fair/unjust) but rather accept that things simply are what they are. On a personal level, refrain from taking offense to what others are saying or doing. Their behavior is about them, not you. Likewise, do not allow others feelings or beliefs about your or how they treat you to define your worth. Only the One who created you assigns your value. Similarly, remove all judgments from others. How you label them determines how you feel about them and if it's unfavorable so will your feelings be. Allow people/things to simply be.
Secondly: See all of God's children through His eyes. Each is a sacred son/daughter of the Most High God and held in the highest esteem by the Father. And in our temporal human condition each of us struggles with our own personal demons as we search for Truth. Separate the person from their behavior. They are two unique entities. As an extension of Divine Love, I am ordained to respond to each member of my holy family with the same perfect Love that God bestows on me. Compassion, understanding, patience, tenderness and kindness: none has to be earned - each is a God-given right.
Thirdly (and most importantly): Spiritual evolution - every situation, every experience, every loss, betrayal, injustice, and trauma has a Divine Purpose. While many have arrived at the awareness that what doesn't kill you makes you stronger, I'm suggesting that these events have a much deeper significance. In each we are given the opportunity to turn towards God, to come to know His goodness and mercy, to rely on Him for guidance, strength, awareness, and healing. We are given the opportunity to utilize the spiritual principles He has blessed us with that support our true nature, which is God-like. When someone is unkind, we learn to forgive. When we suffer a devastating loss, we learn gratitude. Betrayal of the most intimate nature teaches compassion. Each brings us into closer communion with God if we so choose.
Consider your best friend or intimate partner: the true assessment of their integrity and the nature of your relationship is found not in the sharing of joyful times but rather when you enter your darkest moments. All that they have professed to be is put to the test when you reach out to them in desperation and they forsake everything to assist you in whatever way you need. Their love and commitment to you is exemplified by their unselfish actions and your relationship is transformed forever. So it is with God: I can know Him intellectually but only in my pain am I receptive to cultivating that intimate bond that solidifies us for all eternity.
I'm not suggesting that we live in a fantasy world and ignore the challenges that occur around us. I am recommending that we still address the issues but without judgment, resentment, fear or anger. Appreciate all that enters and leaves your life knowing that each has infinite value. Trust in God, confident in the knowledge that your higher good is always His top priority and if it were not bringing you closer into communion with Him then He would shield you from it.
If you adopt and follow these three spiritual tenets, you can exchange anger for peace and live the joyful life God intended for you. Try it. You'll see.
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Janet Pfeiffer, international inspirational speaker and award-winning author has appeared on CNN, Lifetime, ABC News, The 700 Club, NBC News, Fox News, The Harvest Show, Celebration, TruTV and many others. She’s been a guest on over 100 top radio shows (including Fox News Radio), is a contributor to Ebru Today TV and hosts her own radio show, Anger 911, on www.Anger911.net.
Janet's spoken at the United Nations, Notre Dame University, was a keynote speaker for the YWCA National Week Without Violence Campaign, and is a past board member for the World Addiction Foundation.
She's a former columnist for the Daily Record and contributing writer to Woman’s World Magazine, Living Solo, Prime Woman Magazine, and N.J. Family. Her name has appeared in print more than 100 million times, including The Wall Street Journal, Huffington Post, Alaska Business Monthly and more than 50 other publications.
A consultant to corporations including AT&T, U.S. Army, U.S. Postal Service, and Hoffman-LaRoche, Janet is N.J. State certified in domestic violence, an instructor at a battered women's shelter, and founder of The Antidote to Anger Group. She specializes in healing anger and conflict and creating inner peace and writes a weekly blog and bi-monthly newsletter.
Janet has authored 8 books, including the highly acclaimed The Secret Side of Anger (endorsed by NY Times bestselling author, Dr. Bernie Siegel).
Read what Marci Shimoff, New York Times bestselling author, says of Janet's latest book, The Great Truth; Shattering Life's Most Insidious Lies That Sabotage Your Happiness Along With the Revelation of Life's Sole Purpose:
"Janet dispels the lies and misconceptions many people have lived by and outlines a practical path to an extraordinary life beyond suffering. Written with honesty, clarity, sincerity, and humor, this book serves as a wonderful guide for anyone seeking a more enriching and fulfilling life.”
Dr. Bernie Siegel says, "All books of wisdom are meant to be read more than once. The Great Truth is one such book."