“Holding onto anger is like drinking poison and hoping the other person dies”. That’s what a wise friend once told me and I never forgot it (apparently this is a famous Buddhist quote). It’s so true and accurate and conveys so much. If you hold anger, resentment, grudges or other negative feelings inside, in actuality, you are the one being poisoned and the one who is suffering. Nobody else feels that but you and, most likely, the person you’re angry with is completely unaware of your inner turmoil. You suffer by electing to harbor these negative feelings about somebody or something else. Regardless of what happened and who was right or wrong, you don’t need to hold poison (negative, toxic energy and feelings) inside. Take a deep breathe, exhale and release it. Holding anger (resentment, grudges, etc.) inside does absolutely nothing positive for you. Think about it and be honest with yourself. It doesn’t feel good at all. So, what does one do to change this? Simple… if you’re Smarter Sooner, you’ll LET IT GO.
Born in 1924 in Eastern Europe, my father was the poster-child for carrying anger with him. He never forgot who and what upset him (for little and big things) and he carried it with him wherever he went. He often said that people should never ‘cross him’ and those that did should ‘watch out’. He never forgave people, even for simple things and carried a lot of anger and resentment. As such, the only certainty was that he suffered from drinking a lot of poison over the years. I believe that his harboring of anger and negativity (among other things) created a lot of unnecessary unhappiness and bitterness in his life, in addition to being a complete waste of energy. He didn’t have to bog himself down with this toxicity – it was 100% his choice. And, whether he decided to carry the anger or let it go, it would not have affected or influenced what happened in the first place to create his anger. Growing up in Eastern Europe and suffering atrocities in WWII, among other challenges, was indeed hard. But, none of his history and experiences would have changed if he decided to offload his anger and LET IT GO. All of that was ‘water under the bridge’. And, he would have been a lot happier and liberated in his own life by freeing his mind. Unfortunately, he chose not to and suffered because of it. Don’t make this mistake.
Grudges, anger and resentment aren’t just associated with a tough, early-20th century Eastern European like my father. In fact, we all experience negativity in our modern (and mostly privileged) lives today. It’s ok to experience these things – we can’t deny them and have to be able to acknowledge them. But the same premise applies… you elect how you want to respond and feel. If you want to be angry for extended periods of time after ‘something’ happens, you can choose to do that. On the other hand, if you want to LET IT GO, you can do that as well (and be much better off). In both cases, the same history applies (we can’t change what happens, we can only change the way we handle what happens). Just remember that we miss a lot of the good stuff in life when we are so distracted and focused on Poison.
Human nature makes it hard for us to forgive and forget (see my blog on the power of the Ego for more on this — https://smartersooner.com/2015/11/27/big-ego/). But why would you willingly drink poison? The one who is Smarter Sooner recognizes these instances, controls the ego and walks away from the poison.