I was described by a journalist as an being an angry young man almost 40 years ago. Perhaps his opinion of me was formulated by my attire because at that time I wore combat boots, combat pants and a surplus military beret. His interview had only lasted a few minutes.
Was I really angry?
I was very happy to be free and clear of the physical and verbal violence I grew up with. My life was simpler, and, in all honesty, I was happy even amid poverty. The journalist should have perhaps described me as a resentful young man. I remember feeling that I had been treated unfairly by my family and their religion. As a younger person I was resentful for not having the same opportunities as people my own age because of my socio-economic standing. Yet I didn’t walk around under a dark cloud of resentment. I began to learn to let go of the resentment because I had already witnessed what anger did to other people, their lives and their relationships.
I meet so many people today who are focused on the past and who are still angry about past events. Most seem unable or unwilling to let go of the negativity burden of their past experiences. They seek acknowledgement for the emotional and physical pain they once endured at the hands of others in the present moment. Many still battle for this acknowledgement when in reality the battle has been over for years. Still they carry the burden of anger and resentment of their past into their present daily lives.
Displaced anger, unconscious anger is common place. There are many ways we transfer our anger. It can be an unrelated transfer, a direct transfer, a displaced denial, an innocent deception, an aggressive displacement or a cognitive displacement. These displacements and transfers, unconscious or not, will destroy everything, everyone and even yourself in its path.
So, what’s my secret?
I find anger within me or directed at me to be exhausting.
Another secret is that I have always practiced gratitude.
I have learned that to be able to be grateful one must be able to let go of the past, realize that the future has not arrived yet and be able to live in the present moment. This can be readily achieved if we are able to change our optics from a glass half-empty to a glass half-full way of thinking.
We do indeed have a great deal to be thankful for.