When we perceive our lives to be on an inevitable path of continual decline, when we think that our situations are impossible and that we are failures, the likely response is to resign our lives to problems and thereby create more problems. Have you ever noticed this? People who have problems seem to create more than their share of problems. It looks like everything is happening to them or that they are very unlucky. They often appear to be victims of a cruel world where they never have a chance to succeed. In essence, they feel powerless, and this became their reality. The cycle becomes self-destructive because belief keeps creating reality and reality keeps creating belief.
LEAD WEIGHTS OF IMPOSSIBLITY
You shouldn’t blame yourself when a series of things go wrong all at once. If you do, you will surely conclude that you are the victim of bad
luck and therefore you are in unlucky person. Any of us at one time or another could be deluged by what seems to be and unending avalanche of problems. Sometimes a substantial series of problems could have like giant ocean waves wiping us out.
Even the most mentally stable individual can reach a breaking point when too many problems and too much negativity comes his way. The solution is to accept it, go with it, and then get rid of it. Instead of seeing impossible situations as happening to you, see them all as happening for a reason. If you hang on to misery, you create emotional, psychological, and sometimes physical lead weights that pull you down.
Changing the impossible to the possible is a matter of letting go of destructive patterns that restrict any aspect of our lives. The destructive patterns are what I call the lead weights of impossibility. Picture if you will a series of lead weights. Each one weights five pounds. For every impossible or negative thought we have about ourselves, we are strapping on one five-pound lead weight. These lead weights prevent us from changing the impossible to the possible because we are weighed down so much that we can hardly move emotionally, psychologically, or physically. We must ask ourselves how much extra weight are we carrying around right now.
Even though we have many good qualities, our inability to succeed can be impaired by the lead weights of impossibility. Such things as doubt, guilt, anger, fear, and addictions can hold us down. As we try to move forward, we find it impossible because the weights of negativity are almost unbearable. These weights hold us down and keep us from changing our circumstance. Change is almost out of the question unless we figure out a way to release the lead weights of impossibility.
The mind is a marvelous thing. Though the conscious and subconscious, it can either assist us in creating the possible or convince us that whatever we want is impossible. The end result is determined by how we use our mind. To better understand how the mind works, in particular the subconscious, we must first understand its primary function. Although the subconscious can be used to create the possible and guide us to a successful outcome, its primary function is survival.
Through born instincts and programming, the subconscious mind sets up criteria as to what survival means to us as individuals. For each one of us it is different. Some people are concerned about survival in a relationship, some are concerned with financial survival, and for others, it is physical survival. Anything that opposes our notion of survival is challenged by the subconscious. It immediately focuses on the area of perceived danger and alerts us to take evasive action. In essence, it is always looking for perceived danger, similar to the parent who warns a child of safety hazards.
In order to protect us, the subconscious mind looks at every person, place, or situation as a potential source of danger. Another way to define danger is negativity. The mind is always looking within and without for sources of things that could go wrong and possibly hurt us emotionally, physically, or financially. It is saying, “Watch out! You know what happened last time,” or “They told you this could happen.”
The mind and body react, which triggers our flight or fight response. Unless we control our thinking, we continue to react in a negative way and we continue the downward spiral, which can produce anxiety, procrastination, or in some cases, severe clinical depression. The worst part is that this becomes a habitual thinking pattern. We must break out of this negative mind-set that our life is not about creating a successful, happy life, but should be spent defending ourselves against all the
imaginary and perceived dangers that lurk. If this is the case, then our life is only about protection, not creation.
The bottom line is that our thoughts create our reality. If we are focused on the negative or the impossible, our subconscious will direct us to people, places, and circumstances to prove that we are right. In order to preserve security, the subconscious always seeks to prove that what we are thinking is in fact true.
If you think that every time you get into a relationship the person will leave you, that becomes your reality. Your subconscious then searches for people to come into your life to fulfill that perception. Whenever you are among a group of people, you will be attracted to that type of person. If you should get into a relationship with that person, he or she will eventually leave you. Then you can say, “See, I knew it. Everyone leaves me.” If you think that you are going to be sick, your business will fail, or you will lose your money, your subconscious will assist you in making those assumptions a reality.
THE SPIRAL OF IMPOSSIBILITY
When life’s outcomes do not match our wishes, we feel threatened. Our primary focus is on survival, so we are no longer focused on what we want, but what we don’t want. Our motivation is based on fear, and we move away from what we don’t want rather than toward what we do want. Our new goal is survival, and one of the ways we protect ourselves is to defend our current situation and ourselves. We express this by claiming that we are victims of society and other people. Our new intention is not to turn the impossible into the possible, but to defend ourselves and attack whatever it is we perceive to be the cause of our failure. Our energy sphere keeps contracting as we feel jealousy, blame,
self-justification, anger, fear, or the need to run away. This is what causes depression. Until we are willing to change, we are stuck.
PRISON OF IMPOSSIBILITY
Every time we blame something outside of ourselves, we are in effect trying to weasel and out of being accountable. Instead of being accountable, we use weasel phrases such as, “They did it to me,” “I can’t,” “I had no choice,” “I don’t know what to do,” “That’s just the way I am,” “If only…” “Nobody told me that,” and “If things had been different…” These weasel phrases only serve to immobilize us in the present. Weasel statements are all wrapped around one basic belief which is, “I am not the cause, I am the effect.” Said another way; “I am the victim.”
If you believe this, you share a common trait with most prisoners. Studies of inmates in prisons show that only three percent of all inmates believe they are accountable for what happened to them and why they are in prison. It was their parents, poverty, lack of education, a bad influence, or drugs that caused them to end up where they are. When refuse to take responsibility for where we are, we become imprisoned by our own thoughts. We are locked into the past and cannot escape into the future. The good news is that we don’t have to escape this prison of impossibility; we can just walk out the front door once we take responsibility.
Freedom comes when you stop placing responsibility on others for your happiness, success, or financial condition. While this may seem harsh, no one really cares but you. In the greater scheme of things, people are more interested in their lives than they are in yours. They are too busy trying to get out of their own prison of impossibility. If you are waiting for them to help you escape, be prepared to wait for the rest of your life.
This approach can only set up for further disappointments. People can assist us, but we must take the initiative and full responsibility for where we are and where we want to be.
REDIRECTING OUR CREATIVE ENERGY
We know that we can use our mind to create the positive or the negative. Why are we so often driven toward the negative? Basically, it comes down to where we direct our creative energy. Universal energy or intelligence is like electricity running through us as creative energy. This energy is directed through the mind. The energy comes to us as positive energy. Unfortunately, we can also use the same potentially creative energy in a negative manner. This is similar to electricity. We can use electricity to turn on the lights in our homes or use it to electrocute a murderer in the electric chair. We form and mold the energy into creation through the mind. Therefore, we have the choice of creating positive energy as possible energy or negative energy as impossible energy in our lives.
Let’s examine the power of creative energy within ourselves and how we can direct it. First, we must understand that our ability to use it is in direct proportion to our belief and understanding that it truly exists. Great leaders such as Christ, Gandhi, and Buddha knew how to maximize their creative energy from the universal substance and translate it into positive manifestation or results. The basis of all their teachings is that you also have that same creative energy within you. The manner in which you use it determines the results you will experience in your life. Let’s look at some examples. In its simplest manifestation, it can be experienced when you walk into a room with people in it. Have you ever noticed a heaviness or troublesome atmosphere, even though no one has said anything or acted out of the ordinary? You just get that feeling. This is an energy field.
The energy field around us changes as we change emotionally, spiritually, and psychologically. The reverse is also true. The energy fields around us affect our psychological and physical states. Think of the universe as one dynamic energy field that sustains us. If we think negatively of ourselves, we disconnect from that source of energy. In order to overcome the impossible, you must have a sense that you are bigger than any problem you face. The you I am referring to is not the Created Self you think you ought to be, but your Greater Self – who you are.
A simple but profound way to think about this energy is to think that you are at the center of a large sphere or ball of energy that expands and contracts like a balloon. When you are negative, upset, angry, or scared, this energy balloon contracts. This limits your power to change. Alternately, when you are confident, joyful, and compassionate, the energy sphere expands. All the solutions for possibility are open to you. You even look and feel different, not just to yourself, but to others.
All problems in life can be viewed in the context of this contraction or expansion phenomenon. We have been conditioned to deal with life’s problems by contracting our power or energy. The process of contraction and depression continues until with each contraction, all opportunity literally disappears from our lives. This is the true definition of depression. We have the ability to re-pattern our way of thinking. To do this, we must learn to relax, trust, and let go. Then our energy field is free to expand.
CIRCLE OF POSSIBILITY
We tend to take the path of least resistance. Resistance to change is in direct proportion to our comfort zone. We will call this our circle of
possibility. Our circle of possibility is created by the thoughts we have been thinking and the things we have done. Anything new that we have not done or thought before makes us feel uncomfortable. Uncomfortable thoughts or the prospect of doing something we have not done before increases our anxiety level. This in turn makes us feel even more uncomfortable and causes us to believe that what we want to do is impossible. This discouragement, which comes from believing what we want is impossible, often causes us to give up even before we start. When we move past our comfort level, we find the adventure, excitement, and satisfaction we desire.
Have you ever said to yourself, “I don’t want to do that because it makes me uncomfortable?” You’re not alone. This is a normal response when most people are confronted with a new situation. Unfortunately, most people use discomfort as a reason or an excuse for not doing something. To illustrate this, picture a circle around you.
Circle of Possibility
You are in the middle of the circle. The circle represents your circle of possibility. Everything outside the circle represents things that you have not experienced…things that make you uncomfortable. This also is your circle of protection. Just slightly outside your circle are your goals or even problems that come into your life. When faced with new challenges, opportunities, or obstacles, they begin to intrude upon your circle. The tendency is to rush to the outer limits of your circle and set up defenses. In some cases, you’ll pretend that whatever is outside your circle isn’t there. The problem is, the very thing you want is usually
outside your circle. It keeps banging up against your circle until you make a decision to resolve it or achieve it.
Your desire to achieve it or resolve it prompts you to go the edge of the circle and break through. The only way you can get to it is to break through your circle just enough to bring it within your circle of possibility. Once it is within your circle, you can deal with it. Now an interesting thing happens. Each thing you bring inside your circle of possibility expands your comfort zone. In other words, the circle becomes larger and extends beyond your ability to deal with the situation. Now that situation that used to be beyond your limits is within your reach. Not only are you able to deal with it, but you can expand your circle.
The degree to which you are happy or not happy is in direct proportion to how much control your circle of possibility has over you. If it has more control over you than you do of yourself, then you experiences unhappiness, anxiety, and depression. There are four factors that cause us to stay within our circle of impossibility: fear, guilt, unworthiness, and anger. Let’s look at some examples of the lead weights of impossibility and how they make change seem nearly impossible.
We stay within our limited circle of possibility because of fear. We often feel fear even when we are just skeptical or fear disappointment. Fear is the mind-talk that prevents you from hearing your intuition. It is probably the most common limiting emotion. The basis of fear is the flight of fight syndrome. Remember that our mind is always trying to protect us. Survival, not success and happiness, are the primary goals. We fear what we don’t know, and that fear keeps us from taking action. Not taking action keeps us ignorant, and ignorance creates more fear. Thus the cycle repeats itself.
Any time we venture into the unknown, we will have fears. Everyone has fears. For some of us it’s death, public speaking, loss of love, animals, darkness, or flying. After working with thousands of people, it has become clear to me that we create our fears as well as our dreams, and they happen just as we planned them to.
In an interview with pop singer Gloria Estefan after her near fatal accident that involved a severe spinal injury, she said that all her life she had a fear that she would be crippled an accident. She said, “I was afraid I would be crippled and not be able to walk, and I have been afraid of that my entire life. When the accident happened, I thought, it’s finally here.” He fear was a self-created prophecy.
Many people have a fear of making mistakes. A major lead weight is our bundle of past mistakes. We all have made mistakes, but we insist on playing them over and over in our head instead of letting them go and moving on. Perhaps you have gained weight, lost your job, ruined your health, or had a relationship that was self-destructive. Because of these mistakes, you have convinced yourself that you can never be in shape again, never find another good job, never restore your health, or never find someone to love you.
In the process of expanding our circle of possibility, we are going to make mistakes. There is no way to avoid them. However, mistakes should not be construed as total and irreversible failures. Mistakes are a buffer zone in your circle where you allow yourself and others an opportunity to make mistakes without judgment. This will allow you to look at mistakes and self-correct rather than wasting valuable energy on what should have happened or what you should have done. Consider all mistakes as feedback, not failures. Instead, keep the lesson and throw away the experience.
One of the biggest fears is the fear of failure. However, there is really no way you can fail in life. Failure is a relative term and a value judgment. What looks like failure to you may not be failure to someone else. If you don’t earn $50,000 a year, you may consider yourself a failure. However, someone else may feel that if they earn $10,000 a year, they are a success. Failure is determined by the rules we set up in life concerning success and failure. All we have to do is change the rules. More importantly, we must not let others make the rules for us.
Recently, I read a list of famous and successful individuals that had been fired from a job at least once. One of them was the talk show host, Sally Jessy Rapheal. She was fired by approximately twenty radio and television stations before she finally found success with her television talk show. She certainly never gave up. Thomas Edison made 10,000 mistakes before he discovered the light bulb. So just think if he gave up at the 9,999th try, who knows how long we would have had to wait for someone else to discover the light bulb! Do you think Tomas Edison feared failure? I tell people, “If you are not making at least ten mistakes a day, you’re doing something wrong.”
How to Be More Fearless
I believe that life without fear is not an option that is available to us. I prefer to approach it from this manner: Instead of fighting our fears, we can neutralize their power over us by just accepting them and then taking one small step at a time to overcome them. As simple as it may seem, the only difference between successful people and those who are not successful is their response to fear. Let’s face it, we are all afraid. Successful people are afraid, but they take action. They don’t get immobilized by their fears.
Think of overcoming your fear as a means of building spiritual and emotional muscle. As you start each day, contemplate your daily plan and envision yourself going through it, especially when you will be taking on new challenges that worry or frighten you. If you are in balance, with the mind, body, and spirit connected, you can overcome your fears.
If your biggest fear is that you will be a failure, I have good news for you. You can never really fail, because you can never fail as a person. Your job can fail, your finances can fail, your business can fail, your relationship can fail, but that’s not you. All those things are outside of you. They can all be changed or corrected. The problem comes when you start believing that you are what you have and what you do. The solution to overcoming the fear of failure is to recognize that you cannot fail as a person. The key is to separate yourself from what you have and what you do.
Guilt – The Gift That Keeps on Giving
It is critical to recognize the insidious nature of this emotion in that it can have such crippling, long-term consequences. In adulthood, the guilt- prone person can suffer from underlying; free-flowing guilty feelings even when nothing logical supports their presence. Feelings of guilt can manifest in people’s dreams along with guilt’s twin – anxiety. Guilt is one of the first and foremost components of an unworkable moral code that needs erasing if a person wants to live a healthy, balanced life.
When we think or act in a manner that produces guilty feelings, our responses to guilt is to promise not to do it again and/or to punish ourselves by feeling bad. We rationalize that when good people do bad things, they are supposed to feel bad. Feeling bad is the price we must
pay for violating our beliefs about what good people do. In every area of our lives we have beliefs about how good people should think and behave. When we act that way, it proves that we are a good person. When we fall short of the ideal image, our unquestioned reaction may be to feel guilty and anxious.
As a child, you were given a standard of perfection to live up to by your parents, religious teachers, and other role models. As you moved into adolescence, you started adding your own set of beliefs about perfection based on input from your family, friends, peer groups, and the effects of advertising and other well-intentioned sources. As an adult, you try to live according to that model of “good” and “bad”, based on those beliefs.
Unfortunately, we rarely question our beliefs about “good” and “bad.” If our beliefs came from authority figures such as our parents, teachers, or religion, we just assume that what they told us is true. Whether they are true or not, is not the issue. More importantly, we must ask ourselves how these programmed images produce feelings of guilt in our daily lives that affect our self-worth? The important point here is that we must distinguish between when we should change our actions and when we should change our beliefs about our actions. If our actions are producing a negative result, the easiest way to change our actions is to change our beliefs first.
We must determine the validity of our beliefs by asking ourselves questions. Where did I get this belief? Who told me it was true? Did someone tell me in order to control me? Did they really know what they were talking about, or are they just passing their programmed beliefs on to me for my own good?
Instead of feeling badly, we can use guilt constructively by changing our belief so that our energy is not directed toward feeling bad every time we do something or don’t do something that others have told us is bad or wrong. The key here is to understand that good people sometimes do bad things. Bad things can be defined as things that produce a negative result. We must separate the doer (us) from the end result (action). In other words, your actions may sometimes be bad or inappropriate, but you are not a bad person – or a good person for that matter. You are just you, doing good or bad things that produce positive or negative results.
Keep in mind that your Greater Self is neither good nor bad, because at the spiritual level there is no judgment. However, your Created Self is only human and still has imperfections built on false beliefs.
The most formidable guilt-producing statement you can make is, “I could have done better.” That is entirely false. To know better is not sufficient to do better. Knowledge is unrelated to action and is intrinsically an intellectual process. We know we should not smoke, use drugs, overeat, and hurt ourselves or others, but we do these things anyway. The only way this will change is when we come to the point where we realize the pain of our actions is greater than the price we will have to pay to change them. At that point, we will stop doing negative things to ourselves and to others. Guilt only serves to make us feel bad about our thoughts and actions, and it is a poor replacement for consciously choosing to rid ourselves of undesirable actions.
So, when you do things you feel guilty about, just say to yourself. “Obviously, I have not reached the point where I am perfect. I am only human and I am still learning. I am not going to feel bad, but I am going to use this opportunity to remind myself to do better the next time.” If the pain of your actions is great enough, you will not do it again. If you got
away with it this time and did not pay the full price for your actions, you will probably do it again. Just keep reminding yourself that the price is getting too high and now might be a good time to change your thinking more quickly so that you take more appropriate action in the future, without requiring pain to compel you.
If guilt is feeling discouraged, feeling punished, and self-punishing, then we can replace it by being productive, reliable, sincere, cooperative, lucky, involved, tender, gentle and purposeful. Learn to replace stationary and backsliding guilt with positive forward motion. The more you truly become a friend to yourself, recognize your life’s purpose, and engage the Greater Self in your daily dealings, the more you will sense that guilt is relaxing its hold in your mental makeup.
Action will increasingly replace stagnant self-flagellation. Guilt can be a convenient replacement for taking effective action and accepting responsibility. It’s as though we childishly believe that appropriate suffering releases us from capable, adult behavior. As such, guilt becomes a thinly masked form of selfishness. Guilt is a poor substitute for engaging fully in life. As nothing more than self-blame, it is one of the more fruitless, circular non-solutions in which we invest valuable energy.
Allow yourself to release the hold guilt has on you and move on to more effective, self-loving means of changing your behavior. Hair shirts are out…constructive thoughts and concrete actions are in.
Self-worth comes from the Greater Self. If you know your true nature, you will better recognize and understand the true nature of those around you. The more you know about yourself, the better you will understand yourself and others.
Don’t be afraid to let others see a weakness in you. Some people are so horrified at the thought that someone would discover a weakness in them that they will even lie and manipulate in order to cover for themselves. Some people will take this so far that they will even let others suffer consequences for them.
A televised report on human behavior set up the following situation and recorded it on tape. A job applicant was put in a waiting room that contained a table with several party platters of food. The applicant was told not to take any, as the trays were for a celebration to be held later on. A hidden camera showed the woman giving in to her temptation by eating a variety of items. When the prospective employee was asked if she took any of the food, she said, “No.” She was asked again because the interviewer stated that they noticed that some of the food was missing. She still insisted she did not take any food. Another employee was brought into the room. This man had stopped in earlier when the applicant was alone in the room. The employee was asked in front of the applicant if he saw her take any of the food. Even though he said he had not, the applicant, when asked, stated that the employee took the food and not herself.
Is your self-worth so fragile and on such a thin foundation that you fear being wrong? Do you have a problem with saying, “Oops, I made a mistake? Sorry?” I hope not. When we try to cover up our flaws, along with the cover-up, we block any chance of demonstrating our undiscovered, innate strengths.
Twelve Surefire Ways to Destroy Your Self-Worth
- Have a lack of faith in yourself and whatever you believe in.
- Complain, criticize, blame and bring others down. Constantly compare and measure yourself as “better than” others. Hold others down so they won’t get ahead of you.
- Don’t be flexible, be a quitter, and be satisfied with less.
- Associate with weak people. Work along with people who are going nowhere. Worse yet, let them make up your mind for you.
- Be a “know-it-all.”
- Be a taker.
- Use this kind of weak language: “Impossible, tired, problems, unreal, what’s in it for me.”
- Talk about all the things that are wrong with people. Talk too much, and wait for things to happen.
- Take a job with no chance for advancement. Leave right at closing time. Do no more. Do only what benefits yourself.
- Deliberately scatter yourself, spread yourself too thin.
- Satisfy you lack of self-worth by being a workaholic.
- Dwell on things not working out, and imagine that they could only get worse.
What You Can Do to Build Your Self-Worth
If we don’t feel we are worthy, competent, or deserving, every time we try to embrace the possible, our subconscious says, “Remember, you told me – you are a jerk, no one will ever love you, you can’t do anything right, and you’re not good enough. Who do you think you are? We know that you are a powerless victim. Don’t even try.” Then we say, “There is no way I can be, do, or have this.” Your subconscious replies. “Now you are being realistic.” Then, when we don’t get what we want, we say, “See, I knew it would not work out. I was right all along.”
This inner dialogue is more predominant than we think. Many people try to cover it up by appearing confident. Some go to the extreme, bordering on arrogance. In reality, they are merely involved in an attempt to hide the fact that they feel incompetent and unworthy.
Where did all this come from? How did we get this way? Without getting into the usual psychobabble about how most of it came from our childhood, suffice it to say that we were not born this way. Our well- intentioned parents tried to bring us up to do the right thing. Unfortunately, through their conditioning, they determined that the best way to do this was to get us to focus on what we were doing wrong. “Don’t do this. You can’t do that. You’re bad. How could you think like that?” The problem with parenting is that, even though we are well intentioned, parenting is really about passing insanity from one generation to the next. This is because our parents were probably brought up in the same way. Most of us do not examine our beliefs to determine if they are valid or workable. Instead, we just accept that what we believe is true and spend our lives trying to convince ourselves, our children, and others that these beliefs are indeed true. The problem that arises is that we have false beliefs that produce faulty results.
It all starts from our infancy, when our parents mostly warned us of dangers like. “Don’t touch that electrical outlet,” and “Don’t touch that hot iron.” Most parents are busy and in a rush, so most of their time communicating with their children involves a bunch of “don’t do that” messages intended for their basic human need for safety and survival.
Ideally, parents should spend most of their time, no matter how busy they are, building up their children’s psyches with positive messages that reinforce what their children are doing right, not wrong. This includes encouraging their children to do new things well. We need to show them how to try to do new things and take risks, but not criticize their mistakes when they try.
Unfortunately, our early years were likely spent going through a conditioning process that told us that we were basically bad, stupid, incompetent, and sinners. The only way we thought we could prove otherwise, and ever hope to get approval, was to do what others wanted. It was our way of earning our worthiness. We reinforce a pattern that positive or possible thoughts about ourselves would be good, but negative or impossible thoughts are more realistic and comfortable. Every time we have possibility thoughts, we automatically check them against this primary belief that we are not worthy or competent, and the answer comes up, “Error!” Negative or impossible thoughts feel comfortable, and therefore normal and believable.
One thing you can do to build your self-worth is to say “no” to criticism unless you asked for feedback. When people try to criticize you, let them know the manner in which they can approach you with their concern; otherwise, say “no” to criticism. If you want feedback about something you are questioning about yourself, then ask someone whose opinion you respect. However, you do not have to believe what they tell you. It’s
still your life. You can consider someone else’s opinion, but must make your own decisions.
Finally, if you feel too much anger toward someone, tell him or her you need time to sort things out, or do some soul searching. Some people are safe to be around, and some people are not. There are an abundance conflict resolution workshops and books that can detail these – and many more – important communication techniques. It would be a good idea to take additional training on conflict resolution since it is one of the most important parts of effective communication.
Eliminating the Feeling of Unworthiness
Unworthiness can leave us feeling unloved, deserted, melancholy, filled with despair, unimportant, unacceptable, and not cared for. One surefire way to perpetuate feelings of unworthiness is to carry out feeling sorry for yourself to the point of becoming a victim.
We can turn around any feelings of unworthiness by doing some soul- searching, self-evaluation, and some self-improvement that ultimately builds our feeling or worthiness. Some of the qualities that we want to achieve to lift us out or unworthiness are excitement, feeling alive, delight, trust, tenderness, being congruent, perception, balance, and feeling at one with people. If we could have more faith in the people around us, and if we could have more faith in ourselves, the world would be a better place.
Have you noticed that the word anger is one letter short of danger? Anger always seems to be directed at something: at things, at others,
and at ourselves. It is about how we measure up, or actually, how others or we don’t measure up.
Anger manifests itself in us in a variety of forms. Often, we try to escape
from it instead of facing it and resolving it.
Ways We Try to Escape Anger
We have different ways to avoid anger. One way is to hold our anger inside and try not to feel anything. Then there is the old silent treatment. A study of marital relationships found that this one behavior pattern makes it nearly impossible to couples to work things out. What these people need to know is that it is safer to argue it out if necessary (with a reasonable partner), than to lose a valuable partner because they refuse to communicate. They should realize that problems can be resolved one way or another if they will at least talk about them.
The overly quiet type often manifests their anger in worst form. They can easily become dangerous when they finally explode or act out their anger. Whenever we hear of a serial killer, and they interview their next door neighbor, we often here them comment, “He was a quite man.”
It is safer to appropriately express anger than to withhold it. Withholding anger may temporarily help you to calm yourself down, but the lingering problem is still unresolved. The problem must have a resolution. If there is something you can do or must do to solve a problem, face it and do it. Otherwise, the silent treatment is sure to cause more problems.
Some people try to escape their problems and anger with addictions to alcohol, drugs, sex, etc. They soon learn that their addictions will not make their fears and frustrations go away. Anger builds up over a lifetime unless or until we confront it, and do something to release it.
Humor – Your Most Powerful Ally
One of the powerful tools we can use to break through the barriers of impossible situations is humor. Although I am a serious person, I try to see the humorous side of most situations. In fact, some people are taken by surprise when I make a joke about things that are supposed to be serious. Those who know me well have said that, when it comes to humor, “Everything is fair game with you. Nothing is sacred.” It’s true. I often use humor as a means of defusing a situation either by shock value or just by trying to put things into perspective.
I remember one time I was flying into Buffalo, New York. As the plane was landing, the wheels crashed through the concrete runway. Apparently there was a weak spot or a washout under the runway and it couldn’t hold the weight of the plane. Anyway, the wheels went through the runway and literally snapped off! The plane landed on its belly and we went scraping across the concrete. Sparks were flying everywhere and the sound of metal against concrete was incredible. After we stopped, the pilot said we were OK and there was no fire, but we would have to evacuate the plane immediately by sliding down the emergency chute.
Everyone was panicked. People were screaming and crying, but no one was hurt. I don’t know why, but at that moment I thought to myself. Gee, what is everyone worried about? We’re all alive. My next statement shocked a couple of passengers because I said jokingly as I was getting read to jump down the chute, “That’s great, now how are we going to get the luggage out of here?”
Sure, it was a serious situation, but I used humor to help defuse the seriousness of the situation and to put things into perspective. My
message was, “We are alive, so why worry except, of course, about our luggage.” Throughout this book we are going to discuss some serious issues. I just wanted to warn you that often I will try to put things into perspective through the use of humor, or looking at things on the light side. So, make it a fun journey. Let’s try to learn more about ourselves and have fun in the process.
If the following behaviors are indicative of our anger: hostility, hatred, resentment, antagonism, sarcasm, withholding, rejecting, fiery temper, then the following opposite behaviors can free us from it; acceptance, willingness, interest, receptiveness, invigoration, encouragement, appreciation, being tuned in, feeling deserving and forgiveness.
CHANGING IMPOSSIBILITY THINKING TO POSSIBILITY THINKING
It is obvious that impossibility thinking severely limits our lives. All the problems you face in life are caused by your perception. This perception has formed a Created Self that includes personality traits that are both positive and negative. If you want to change any situation from the impossible to the possible, you must first change your perception of who you are rather than what you do, or what you have. What you do and what you have is the result of how you perceive your Created Self. The more you tune into who you are – your Greater Self – the less you will have to rely on your Created Self.