Friday, June 24, 2005
Recently asked about the secret of their success, a corporate mogul responded, "My financial success has always been based on sound and fair business practices. As for my personal success, it has always been based on two practices: No forgiveness withheld and no anger held within."
Age-old and time-tested wisdom, to be sure. All physical attributes being equal, there have been more lives (physically, emotionally and spiritually) ruined by what I have developed to be called The Triple A:
ANGST - For the sake of brevity and alliteration, it was easier to begin each element with an A. In this case, angst refers to the simply and needless worry. I'm not talking about the kind of concern regarding real and threatening situations. I'm referring to those worries that occupy most of our time and focus on areas of our life where (1) we're afraid we won't get enough (i.e. wealth, security, attention, affection, etc.) and areas of our life where (2) we're afraid we won't be enough (i.e. self image, dreams of success, etc.). Worry simply adds to unneeded stress and it has a larger detrimental impact on our life than we want to admit.
ANGER - This does not concern justifiable anger; the kind of anger that comes from honest outrage due to a social injustice. This pertains to anger that is born out of an ongoing sense of our lack of control with our life and the life around us. It could be a brewing anger that emerges in expressions such as road rage. It might very well be anger that simmers beneath the surface as we continually feel socially and emotionally disconnected. It might very well be anger that is born out of jealousy and because so, we remain angry at another and withhold forgiveness and compassion as a form of punishment. It might simply be anger that has grown from personal frustration in our life; frustration toward a personal lack of direction, impact, or contact. Regardless, it is an anger that can be worse than any physical disease, for its victim is our very soul.
APATHY - It has been said time and time again that the opposite of Love is not anger, it's apathy. It is a state of being where we can feel totally detached from all going on around us. It can be a painfully numbing experience and rather than remain angry or worry about a situation, it may simply be easier for us to become apathetic about it. Does that mean the situation becomes peaceful or the we have found equilibrium in our life? No, it simply means we are "avoiding and stuffing;" avoiding the walk through fire and stuffing our emotions deep deep down inside. Just as I continue to believe that no person truly experiencing this glorious and majestic Life can be an atheist, I believe that only a person completely void of all emotion can be truly apathetic. Apathy stems from a loss of connection - with self, with others, with the Almighty... and what a painfully numb place to be.
We've all must have experienced each of these to some very small degree in our life. And when we do, it can feel very scary - like staring into an abyss from which there is no return. Now imagine those that experience lives riffed with these elements. It is anger and worry and apathy that causes its toll on so many lives each day and each year. It is the inability to forgive oneself and others that leads us straight to these three elements. And it is the inability to forgive that does not allow the anger to release itself in constructive manners.
The inability to forgive leads ultimately to self-anger, which leads to a greater inability to forgive, which leads to a greater level of self-anger... and it grows and grows until it is uncontrollable... it spirals larger and larger... But ironically, as it spirals larger and larger, it spirals ever inward, destroying all in its path; all the love and humanity and patience and faith that one might possess.
No forgiveness withheld and no anger held within. It remains the secret of personal success and a recipe for healthy living. It is cleansing. It is release. It is healing. It is reconciliation.
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