I have always been a very controlling person. Even my job title for the past 25 years was “controller.” When others disagreed with me, or didn’t do as I’d asked, my immediate reaction was to get angry, erupting with intense force to get others to see my way or follow my instructions. When things went wrong in my life, I blamed others or the situation as justification for my angry response. Under the influence of this negative emotion, my common sense disappeared and I literally transformed others into my enemies. I was willing to put my job, my relationships and even myself in jeopardy.
Fortunately, about 6 years ago, I came across the Buddhist definition of patience:
“Being patient means to welcome
wholeheartedly whatever arises, having
given up the idea that things should be
other than what they are.”
When I heard this definition, I knew that by practicing patience I would have the ability to greatly improve the quality of my life by learning how to constructively deal with my anger.
There is nothing more destructive than anger. It destroys all peace and happiness in this life and leads us to engage in all kinds of different negative behaviors. Patience on the other hand, is a peaceful and positive approach to handling life’s difficulties though acceptance…accepting things as they are without trying to change them.
I began by accepting small difficulties as I encountered them. I realized that while I can’t prevent unpleasant things from happening to me, I can control my reaction to them.
With practice, my ability to remain calm and happy in the face of difficult people or situations has increased. I no longer need to get angry because things aren’t going my way or because someone has criticized me or disagreed with me…the list is long. Instead, I attempt to accept others as they are, rather than how I would like them to be. When I practice patient acceptance of others, as they are, without judgement, an amazing thing happens. First, I feel calm and composed, a peaceful and positive space seems to open up in my mind. In addition, when others don’t feel judged, they relax, and then I get to see even more of their good qualities.
Anger does not solve anything.
I can only imagine what the world would be like if we all used each and every opportunity to develop anger as an opportunity to practice patience.