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How to Obliterate Anger, Hatred, and Self-Destruction from Your Life
Diagnosing the Problem
When we don't have exactly what we want, there are two potential reactions: we either accept it, and continue with our lives, or we blame something else for inflicting this pain on us. One of them can lead to sadness, which leads to acceptance. The other one boils inside of us, causing pain, anger, envy, and hatred to rule our lives.
This sucks. Nobody wins when there is anger. Least of all the person getting angry. Stress is a major killer of human beings, and it drastically decreases quality of life for those that continue to live with it.
Beyond that, one of the best lessons I've ever learned was that:
If you dislike people because they are successful, you will never be successful.
When you go out and try to be successful, you will find that your subconscious will sabotage you every step of the way. Every time you get close to being successful, your subconscious will actively stop you from achieving it because it doesn't want you to think negatively of yourself.
It is in your best interest to dissolve anything that resembles this from your life.
Now that we've established that this sucks, let's talk about how to productively get rid of it:
Let's Break This Down
Simply put, anger and hatred often means that your subconscious mind has a habitual response to seeing someone else's success.
I don't consider anger when someone is a genuine threat to your safety to be that destructive of a habit. In fact, sometimes it could save your life (depending on the context). I will address more effective ways to deal with that situation in a later post.
As we've talked about, your subconscious is logical in nature. The premises that it provides are usually wrong, but the structure of thinking is logical and in succession. They are:
- That person is successful.
- That means I'm not successful.
- If I dislike them, that means I have a better chance of making them less successful.
- If that person is less successful, I will therefore be more successful.
This isn't the precise response pattern that your subconscious will have, but it covers the gist of it. People that perpetually are angry think along the lines of "if I get one, and you get zero, that means I win." This response exists because, when we were evolving over the last several millions of years, that was true. In tribes of 70 people, you might have four or five competitors in your age group. If you could subtly make one look bad, you looked at least 20% better. This was huge--it increased very largely your ability to survive and reproduce.
Today, that's useless. Hating someone will never do you any good in modern society, and neither will bringing somebody else down. You're not competing with 70 people, you're competing with 7 billion people. But your instincts remain from evolution--your instincts don't care about your modern day struggles. So let's do what we can to fix this:
Changing the Response
There are several possible ways to address this problem, once it has been properly diagnosed. The first step is, undoubtedly, admitting that you have this problem, and that you would like to change. There's a very good reason that alcoholics admit their addiction at the start of meetings--if you lose sight of reality, you have no hope of interacting with it.
Once that has happened, the best way I've found to obliterate this negative thinking pattern is to completely reverse the expected response:
Other's Success is My Success
My favorite way of dealing with anger, envy, and hatred is to remind myself that "the success of my friends is my success, too." After all, if my friend is successful, I had to be at least a kind of good friend to them for that to have happened. That's an accomplishment for me. Go me. I'm awesome.
Even if it's someone you have never met, the reality is that you have to find a way to be happy about their success. As I've said, self-sabotage is commonly found when you believe that successful people are evil, or if you dislike successful people. If you choose to love them for their success, then you put your subconscious mind on your side.
This isn't easy to accomplish. Some suggestions on how:
- Write down all the reasons you love that other people are successful. Do this often, and slowly you'll see some positive change. Be creative. I like to remind myself I'm capable of anything people have--or haven't--done.
- Relax your muscles when you start to feel angry. It is physiologically impossible to feel a strong negative emotion when all of your muscles are relaxed.
- Smile when you start to feel envious. Smiling makes you feel happier.
- Affirm that their success is a good thing--pretend like you're a proud parent in your head (I'm so proud of them). Believe it.
- Breathe deeply, this will focus your conscious awareness, and help you relax your muscles.
And as always, the more you can apply this perspective when the response is triggered, the more successful your results will be. It's a domino effect, and if you remove the dominoes in the chain the last one doesn't fall.
Man, analogies are fun.
Go forth, and good luck.