Who Pisses You Off?
Once you know the secret to handling the annoying people around you, even the irritating personalities in media, politics and industry, you’ll find peace within.
You will find the strength to stand up to bullies and tyrants with grace or to properly stand down to those who deserve your respect. You’ll know the difference. Until, then, when under the influence of emotional stress, good guys seem like bad guys and bad guys seem to be good.
Whoever upsets you controls you. But the key to regaining manageability over one’s own life isn’t to defy the actions of your personal tyrants with emotional force or willful resistance. It's to neutralize the power they wield before being overwhelmed by the intimidation.
Surely you know someone who hates the president and is continually upset by his tweets and policies. They cannot so much as see his hair without being strangely overwhelmed by bitterness. Or how about the person who’s easily upset by corporate greed in the news. Who cannot get along at work for all the unending dramas and personality clashes with fellow workers, bosses and subordinates. These are people who are filled with anger, and they are dying.
But they could be growing instead. Unkind, irritating people, their sins real or imagined, are a blessing, not a curse. Like us, they exist in the same stream of life with issues, defects and the need to grow and improve. Each annoying encounter they present us within the stream holds immense opportunity.
The tiniest irritant contains a hidden potential for traumatic emotional shock, but when we meet these with genuine patience, we grow. Good comes from each unfavorable episode, and it doesn't matter how small or how large it is.
You can develop personal immunity to all forms of resentment energy including anger, frustration, and fear. All it takes is a very special kind of awakened consciousness. Not mere self-consciousness. Not self-awareness. But, God-consciousness. Nothing else is worthwhile.
You could disagree with Donald Trump on a policy. But instead of becoming emotionally upset, overreacting as to tear down the whole system, you could act rationally, without becoming sick with anger. Unruffled, you’d simply vote for a new President next election day, the way American government is designed.
You could see a corporation err in its ways and make a personal decision not to buy their products or services – doing your fair part, contributing toward their eventual demise or else change their business model. That’s how a free economy works to the ultimate benefit for all.
You could stand up to your unreasonable boss, your spouse, your children with love, maintaining the composure to say the right thing at the right time, keeping peace and love in close quarters with others.
I say you could. But you won’t unless you are free of anger, that preexisting emotional burden feeding something in you that should be starved instead.
Is President Trump an evil ogre or a blessing to America and the world? If you’re angry, you’ll never know. Are Monsanto, McDonald's and Facebook evil corporate monoliths setting out to pillage and steal from consumers at all cost? If you are in the least bit upset, you can never see whether that’s true, and if it is true, you’d never see how so.
You cannot tell true from false, or right from wrong when you are under the spell of anger. Even mundane decisions like turning left or right are less likely to be correct while falling to the stress of resentment-charged emotionality. Emotional people have extraordinarily beleaguered lives, plagued by physical and emotional duress and secret dissipations.
Understanding the enormous significance attached to the often-misunderstood Proverb, “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another,” helps change the way we view others.
This sage metaphor asserts that packed into our daily affairs with irrational people, who tempt us to resent or who put us on pedestals, there is also the great potential to hone the capacity to endure.
With each stimulating situation met consciously, there is a psychic friction that sharpens the cutting edge of our spiritual blade. With hardly an effort, a forgiving spirit toward others springs forth and an increasingly tolerant attitude develops. It forms a shield of confidence that protects us from future harms people might otherwise inflict, placing us where we can see clearly view both right and wrong without willfully judging either.
It is easy to love lovable people. We need unthinking, annoying fools to love, despite their provocation, otherwise, we do not improve as human beings.
For example, although it has been tried, my children have never been successfully bullied. Not by other children and not by adults, teachers or the parents of friends either. They’re too strong. Not strong-willed but spiritually fortified by awareness.
I’ve taught them how to exploit the ill-will projected by all intimidators, to cultivate forgiveness within themselves. This isn’t suppressing anger. It is simply remaining awake and aware of the temptation to match cruelty in others without judgmental emotional response.
There is a great spiritual irony here because as it turns out, we humans do not grow in spite of adversity. That would be headstrong and willful. Rather, we grow directly because of adversity, when it’s met with conscious awareness, humbly and without willfulness.
That’s all there is to it. So simple. And so undefeatable. There is supernatural strength in not-hating an enemy.
I opened this piece with the flat statement that “whoever pisses you off, controls you.” Who do I mean?
Would you like to get free, to be controlled by no one? Then perhaps it’s time to learn how to get free from the anger that lurks inside, to discard the suppressed and repressed emotions toward people and situations that slowly drain energy, ultimately making you tired, anxious or depressed, and instead, begin to use adversity to sharpen you, like a blade.
The sharper we are, the more confidence we have to clearly see the nature of life’s problems and to receive the strength to gracefully cut through difficulties with dignity. We don’t grow as human-spiritual entities in spite of our adversaries, but rather directly through the encounters with them met without bitterness. The sharpening effect our opponents have on us are necessary for a long, wholesome and productive life.
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