Anger and resentment are easy to feel… they are destructive too.
“Why is this happening to me?” “Who’s fault is this?”
Those were common questions I asked for many years of my life. I felt trapped by my own being, yet always looked externally for a way to make things better.
Was I angry because my dad died? Was I angry because I got picked on at school? Was I angry because nobody seemed to be able to make everything ok?
It took me years to peel back the layers of my life; to understand the real questions…
Underneath it all, the person making me most angry was me.
The person I most resented was myself.
It couldn’t really ALL be my fault could it? Was I the one to blame for all the crap that had happened in my life?
Not only did I refuse to take responsibility, I also ignored the positive things. I labelled myself ‘depressed’ and that meant I was no longer allowed to feel happy.
I know it sounds stupid, but if you’ve been there, you know…
I am writing this on a day when the UK’s Royal Air Force jets are starting to bomb Syria, an attack on Islamic State militants.
This has got me thinking a lot about peace.
War is not, and never has been a way to make peace; why do so many of us make war with ourselves?
Most of the world’s violence is NOT in war zones…
For example, a child dies from violence every FIVE MINUTES, yet 3 out of 4 of these deaths happen in countries that are not at war.
The UK Office for National Statistics data shows about 700,000 cases of recorded ‘violence against the person’ for the 12 months ending September 2014.
This equates to almost 2,000 recorded incidents per day or 80 per hour. It includes about 66 rapes per day.
Researchers from the University of Surrey published data in 2009 suggesting between 70% and 90% of rapes go unreported and I suspect similar may be true for many other cases of violent crime (such as domestic violence).
This is just the UK. Scale this up globally and it is easy to see that violence committed as an act of war is a small percentage of the problem.
In order to achieve world peace, we must first make peace with ourselves. Next we must create peace in our homes, schools, workplaces and communities. Then, it can spread.
If you feel anger, blame, guilt or shame it is time to let go. Time to forgive.
You cannot change the past, you can learn from it.
Everything in life happens for a reason. Accept it, learn from it and grow into the best you possible.
One of the biggest shifts you can make is to stop asking the question “Why is this happening TO me?” and replace it with “Why is this happening FOR me?”
…and instead of looking for someone or something to blame, just accept where you are and have the courage to change the things you can.
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