Have you ever noticed that your anger is usually directed towards your partner, your parents, your children, and your best friends more than anyone else in the world? And do you know why this is the case? How come we end up punishing so often the ones we claim we love so much? In what follows I will explain why and I will also give you five basic steps towards breaking the cycle and start channeling love instead of anger and resentment.
If you have a relationship with someone, you inevitably create expectations. They are supposed to look after you, they have to be responsible, they should care about you, etc. And of course, every time they violate your laws and can’t deliver on your expectations, they score a black point in your memory bank. And you of course keep score very diligently. The more black points you accumulate in your bank, the more resentment you live with and this resentment is directed towards the person you are supposed to love (unconditionally?). The level of resentment you are holding onto will determine the amount of drama you create every time your loved one does something you don’t like. They spill the milk, you create drama. They don’t call, you create more drama. They fail to apologize, yet more drama.
In contrast, if someone you don’t know very well and have fewer expectations about (i.e. someone you haven’t kept score on) does all of the things mentioned above, you are more likely to brush it off and forgive. Why? Because you are not holding onto resentment toward that person (yet!).
In effect, you end up punishing the ones you love (thinking it’s payback for all the disappointment they’ve caused you), and loving the ones you don’t know yet (until you’ve gotten to known them better and figured out that they are not perfect either).
Is there a way out? Of course, there is! Follow these guidelines and you can experience life differently:
- Adjust your expectations!
- Accept that no one is perfect and everyone is allowed to make mistakes!
- Don’t take other people’s mistakes personally! People do what they because of themselves, not because of you!
- Feel love and compassion towards the people you claim you love! Don’t put pressure on them to do and to be what you expect them to.
- Forgive and forget! Let go and let God!