When we feel wronged in some way, shape or form (this can stem from another person, a situation, an event, or perhaps life in general) it can be all too easy to cling to the negative emotions evoked. Anger, disappointment, bitterness, jealousy, rage, guilt, sadness, doubt, envy, frustration, feeling victimized…the list of potential negativity is a long one.
An unknown part of the equation is that for most of us (myself included) we actually gain some level of identity from the “wrong doing” and our inner ego actually enjoys it and feeds from it, as we tell ourselves the story over and over, or gossip about it with our friends, family or colleagues! Modern day we also have the outlet of social media as we seek to get feedback from others that we have indeed been wronged, via likes, shares, re-tweets etc.
“I can’t believe Bob did that to ME”.
“Life is so unfair, why is this happening to ME”.
“I’m so annoyed with Laura, she never does XYZ for ME”.
“What’s that guy’s problem?! He’s such a *$%& for treating ME this way”.
“I wish MY life was better, everyone else is so lucky”.
The inherent importance we place on the association with ourselves completely transforms nearly every interaction or occurrence in life.
For example, if you were to hear about a stranger’s bag being stolen, you’d probably either be at worst case, indifferent, best case, frustrated on their behalf. Now imagine replacing the situation with YOUR BAG being stolen…notice how the attachment to “I”, “me”, “mine”, etc dramatically impacts the way you feel about the situation. This can be extended to any scenario!!
Now, the main issue does not stem from the initial reaction to the event or situation, it’s actually harbouring those negative feelings and emotions for the whole day, week, month, year…sometimes even decades, and letting that impact your present, and subsequently your future.
- Can you think of examples where you may have done this?
- Ultimately, do you think holding onto these negative feelings has had a positive or negative impact on your life and the situation?
- Do you feel happier for not letting go and clinging to the negativity?
Personal development and spiritual guru, Eckhart Tolle, has a great way of explaining this, giving us a fantastic tool to raise self-awareness of when it’s happening. Subsequently this enables us to take empowering action that will DEFINITELY serve to make YOU feel much better and improve your relationship with the initial cause of negative feelings (i.e. the person, the situation etc).
He calls it “A Duck With A Human Mind”. When you see ducks fight or squabble, they get riled up in the moment, then they flap their wings for a short while and not long afterwards, normal life is resumed with the ducks happily swimming side by side as if nothing had happened.
How much happier do you think we as individuals, and society as a collective would be, if we could let go of those attachments and negative emotions? IT WOULD BE HUGELY TRANSFORMATIVE!
Now of course, we all have standards of how we want to be treated by others, and you should not accept anything less than that. But the key distinction here is that you have a choice firstly as to whether you walk away or you stay in the current situation (you are the master of your own destiny, no one else), and secondly, choose whether you hold onto the emotions, or whether you let them go.
If you’re having difficulty letting go for whatever reason, ask yourself the questions, honestly;
- What do I gain positively from holding on?
- How does it impact me negatively from holding on?
So the next time a person or a situation makes you feel wronged, remember to “flap your wings” and get back to focusing on things that will serve your greater purpose, and your ultimate happiness in life, the greatest.