Once we can recognize—in the moment—what really matters, we no longer need to force ourselves to remain calm.
King Solomon, the wisest of men, wrote, “A lacking on the inside can never be satisfied with something from the outside.”5
When we don’t like who we are, we cannot help but become angry with ourselves. Then we take it out on the world around us and on the people who care most about us.
a true indicator of emotional health is when a person can respond to the needs of another with care and patience even while in a low emotional state or under physical distress.
If a person has one hundred percent self-esteem, speaking theoretically, he would approach the entire world with love and respect.
While it’s true that he may see you as less, that doesn’t make you less—but if you feel less, then it does make you angry.
The reality, of course, is that we spiral out of control and become weaker with each intense, anger-driven thought or action.
As any master stock trader will advise, we start losing money the second we allow our emotions to influence our trading decisions.
We’ve come to believe that comfort is the path to happiness. Perhaps even more damaging is the notion that comfort is happiness.
If we seek to avoid the pain, though, of legitimate challenges, then we are, in essence, avoiding life,
The more engaged we are in life and the pursuit of meaningful goals, the greater our pleasure and ultimate sense of satisfaction.
Being comfortable and having fun are not enough. Our soul gnaws at us not just to do more, but to become something more.
With this freedom, we can fill our lives with either time well spent or time misused, abused, or utterly wasted.4
Any time we move away from the swift current of life, we become less stable because we disconnect from truth.
Superstition is nothing but a diluted form of paranoia—the desire to make connections where none exist.
Maslow succinctly summarizes this point: “If you plan on being anything less than you are capable of being, you will probably be unhappy and angry all of the days of your life.”
How we feel about ourselves determines how long pain lingers and whether it morphs into suffering.
This explains why an emotionally immature person, one with low self-esteem (or a child, perhaps), becomes agitated over every little thing that goes wrong.
Pain does not make a person unhappy—suffering does, and suffering is a consequence of our choices, not of our circumstances.
If we think about the people we know who have a sense of gratitude, these same individuals are the most joyful.
it isn’t the challenges we face, but how we face our challenges, that determines the true nature of the experience, and this is something we always have complete control over.
Holocaust survivor Frankl writes, “When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves.”
Suffering is, as we discussed, the emotional consequence of ignoring reality and the opportunity for growth.
An individual who controls himself recognizes that he doesn’t control the world, and so he is not anxious.
Therefore we can, as the saying goes, let go and let God, because we know that when we have done all we can, God will do all we can’t.
Life’s challenges are not equally distributed to everyone, but the power of choice is the great equalizer.
how someone treats us—even if it’s our parents—provides a window into their own feelings of self-worth or lack thereof, but it reveals nothing of our self-worth.
the more forgiving you are of your own setbacks—when you let yourself down—the easier it will be for you to forgive others when you feel they let you down.
the only way we can live with intellectual honesty is to acknowledge that one day the sun will rise and set without us in this world.
Too often, we confine our options to a small space, not fully recognizing the range of possibilities that extends beyond our comfort zone.
In the gap between where we are and where we want to be, we find instability—the breeding ground of anger.
Nothing will become of our lives—NOTHING—until we decide what we want out of life and are prepared to make a profound commitment to that decision.
When our goals are tainted by the ego, we play it safe and convince ourselves that we’re playing it smart; but we aren’t living life, we’re hiding from ourselves.
fearing that we will be rejected or abandoned; but we can’t shy away from being responsible because someone might be upset with us.
Acceptance is the healthiest response. This person sees and accepts the situation for what it is and doesn’t become angry or allow his emotions to dictate his response.
The single biggest killer in any relationship is resentment. Resentment is frozen anger from the past that continues to rear its head.
There is no greater way to bond with someone than by allowing them to be a part of your life and give to you.
When you show your vulnerability, a wall between yourself and the other person dissolves, and empathy emerges;
If we imagine ourselves responding in a certain way, it reshapes our self-concept and produces the same changes in the brain that the actual behavior does.
We must visualize what our lives will look like—in five years, in ten years, or in old age—if we don’t change our ways.
Drenching ourselves with total awareness of the consequences is a powerful remedy for impulsiveness.
The only way to rouse our emotional forces is to remind ourselves that we have a higher, more noble purpose.
It is, as we know, not the situation or event that make us angry, but the degree to which we take it personally.
Our memories are highly malleable and possibly never completely solidify—which means that we can strengthen or weaken them at any time.
Breathing deeply sends the message to the brain that the situation is nonthreatening, and that it’s not only safe to relax, but that we are already relaxed.
Isn’t it beautiful that I don’t need to get angry anymore? Feel the joy when you choose to remain calm (or at least in control of yourself).
What need of mine is not being met? Or perhaps, What am I afraid of? Anger and fear are interlaced, so if you’re able to identify the underlying fear, you begin to gain control over your feelings.
“Those who kept gratitude journals on a weekly basis exercised more regularly, reported fewer physical symptoms, felt better about their lives as a whole, and were more optimistic about the upcoming week compared to those who recorded hassles or neutral life events.”
Reminding ourselves what we are grateful for, and acknowledging this every day, puts our focus on what we have, rather than on what we lack.
Don’t overthink, and don’t analyze what you write. No erasing or crossing out. Just write down everything and everyone you are grateful for, as the thoughts come to mind.
Look for gratitude in every area of your life, and you’ll begin to reap the benefits of a different quality of life.
We already have everything that we need to be happy, but if we don’t focus on it, then we don’t derive any happiness from it.
You are an imperfect person, living an imperfect life, and things in your day will be imperfect—and that’s all okay.
It is an opportunity to show the world that you are in control of yourself, and in the process, improve almost every aspect of your life and your relationships.
We can be surprised and get angry, or each time can become an opportunity to fortify our emotional health and transform our character.
Taking responsibility is not about being perfect—it’s what we do when we discover that we have faltered, and how we move forward to make things right after we have done wrong.
It’s unfortunate, but it seems that in many of our relationships, the only time we say something nice is when we’ve done something wrong.
You don’t win anything by proving that you’re smarter than they are, whereas if you acknowledge that they’ve made an insightful point, and validate their feelings, you have everything to gain, even if you disagree with them.
Choosing to respond calmly, irrespective of our negative emotional state, epitomizes mental health.
What’s your favorite line so far?
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