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Over the Christmas break I got extremely annoyed with someone for whom I felt I had just bust a gut. I went around with a face like thunder for long enough for my wife to become very concerned. Now, I work hard at improving myself and part of the challenge is to manage my own emotions. This means that I was going seriously off the rails because I was letting someone else control them for me.

Not good. In fact, very not good. Now there are a number of approaches to this kind of problem

1) Vent your feelings on someone else. Not good. That doesn’t solve anything.

2) Kick the cat. Trouble there is – we don’t have one and anyway Helen loves cats and I love Helen.

3) Cut the person out of your life. We’ve done that with some clients simply to make doing business a more pleasant experience, but this case certainly didn’t warrant that extreme.

4) Talk the problem through and clear the air. Trouble with this is, if you’re so damned mad you’re likely to be too aggressive and then there’s a fight on and that makes matters even worse.

5) “Let the children play”. Ah! Blessed wisdom from the little book “Light on the Path”. I’ve mentioned it in a previous post. Now, how strange. I know that is where I read that pearl of wisdom and yet when I ran a search through the book on the word “children” there were no matches. So, I guess this was one of mine. And that means it becomes my job to explain the deep meaning of this simple expression –

Allow others to be themselves, to find their own way. Even if their way is not a path that you, yourself, would take or feel comfortable with. The freedom that you give them gives you the freedom to be yourself in turn.

You are not them and they are not you. Each of them is, like you, a child. You have no more right to judge them than they have to judge you. Let the children play.

The next day it was gone. All of my anger, all of my negativity. I could think of the upset and what happened with complete equanimity. I had taken another small step forward in my life.

 

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