Controlling jealousy, anger, and bitterness towards people is central to peace. These are three different categories. I recall a guru who once preached not to fan the flames of these exact three feelings. It is a very hard thing to manage. If that is your New Year resolution to control these feelings, you will fail at God’s Speed without some thought of how to create the mind maps to conquer them, at least to some extent. I personally do not feel comfortable with any of these feelings and strive to be mindful of a way to calm the embers of these emotions. Yes, we are not supposed to repress emotions, but what if you are fortunate to find ways to raise awareness to cultivate good thoughts? I am game for it.
Jealousy. We, as the human race, have the uncanny ability to filter and focus on all negative things if someone shows near perfection or greatness at times. A bit like, “Oh, they have a great house, yes, yes, I agree. But their furniture sucks,” or “Oh yea, he got into Stanford, but it’s just through legacy.” If we don’t create a proper mindset, we may burn with a mega dose of jealousy. Here is how I want to think, borrowing from Robert Greene’s writings: It is a great privilege to admire human greatness. It is the highest potential of human nature where we can think with our evolved prefrontal cortex. It elevates us from day-to-day life and removes us from pettiness. Let’s eliminate poking holes. Once you get this into your mind map, you can execute it and I agree with Robert Greene that it can be intensely therapeutic.
Anger. People can make you insanely mad at times. Anger, I realize can be a good emotion if it acts as a radar to understand yourself and another individual in question with rational objectivity. We become quickly defensive and oppositional if we are challenged and over-criticized as a child. Anger feels unsafe. Once you take stock of your own role in being riled up, and see that you were wronged, the next stage can be to think of gratitude to the other individual’s contribution to getting things in perspective. That way you won’t dish out disproportionate retribution. Often, it is hard to stop reacting as floodgates open for all the things you put up with the person that irritated you till this point, and this may be reaching the category of “the last straw.” A ton of times, perspectives are not on the same page. What you are stewing over is so different than the other person’s perspective too. If you are generally loyal and mindful, you will be plagued with guilt even talking about it to another nice friend. Sense of humor, taking things lightheartedly, keeping things in perspective, open communication about your own weaknesses that are potential parts in inflating the issues, and finally rolling out what made you resentful in a neutral tone directly with the individual who hurt you might help resolve it. I honestly also think that a lot of small issues are better left alone. They will calm down with time while you are busy being the best version of yourself. I also think there are contexts that will anger you with no actual resolution. You will find a way to move on, as you deserve better.
Bitterness. Now, this is a tough emotion that is often nested in toxic relationships or being caught in financial scams or dysfunctional work systems. Even if people are incensed by their parents or whoever else, they want to maintain a semblance of a relationship unless there are scenarios of extreme abuse. I suppose one has to figure out what is comfortable or not comfortable. You can always choose. Triggers are hard to cope with and be open to choices that offer freedom. A beautiful girl said to me recently, “How about glimmers- those that give you joy such as nature, the opposite of triggers.” Yes, looking for glimmers is great, looking for sublime moments of joy in your own life and building good memories with the right tribe and right partner around you is fabulous, to move on. After all, it is your life. Why should you suffer because of someone’s wrongdoing? The inciting folk may have had a hard life which may help you to understand them. But in the end, you suffered. You move on for your own sake. A potential 100-year life is still too short in the scope of the Universe. I often tell my young patients that these feelings simmer with age, and are much easier with time, but then why wait if you can find joy now? Seek pleasantness. Enjoy your inner goodness. Take good care. All will be well.