How I Overcame My Anger to Be Better for My Family

“Where there is anger, there is always pain underneath.” ~Eckhart Tolle As a special-needs parent, it feels that I am in constant anger and fight mode. I am fighting with my children on the home front. I am fighting for their right to get access to services. I...

Dealing with Online Hate: What to Do When People Are Mean

“The less you respond to negative people, the more peaceful your life will become.” ~Unknown I work for a website that creates videos on lifestyle, fashion, food, travel, fitness, and more. Our channel has a massive following from all walks of life, and we receive a...

10 Things I’ve Let Go and How This Has Set Me Free

“I do not fix problems. I fix my thinking. Then problems fix themselves.” ~ Louise Hay Looking back on my life, I came to understand that perfection was my worst enemy. I was raised in an environment of high expectation, and every day in school...

How I Found the Gift in My Pain and Let Go of Resentment

“Change is inevitable, growth is intentional.” ~Glenda Cloud How much time slips by when you’re living in the pain of resentment? Do you ever question if your bitterness has held you back from living your true destiny? Is blaming everyone else sabotaging your life and future? It’s only now that I can admit to the years I wasted pointing the finger at everyone else. It was easier for me to say it was their fault than accept responsibility for my own decisions. For me, attaining perfection was validation to my success. If it wasn’t achievable, then it was obviously someone else’s fault. Until one day, I took the time to watch the Tony Robbins’ documentary movie, Guru, for the second time. Amazing when you watch something again or read a book twice, you get something different out of it. There was a young girl struggling with the lack of love she received from her drug-addicted father. After admitting that it was her father’s love she craved the most, Tony Robbins led her to a breakthrough perspective. He told her if you are going to blame him for everything that went wrong, like not being daddy’s girl, then don’t forget to blame him for making you a strong woman too. He reminded her that she was allowed to blame him for not being around but not to forget to blame him for teaching her how to cope at such a young age. Suddenly, I felt a shift within me. I connected to the anger deep within me, and somehow it no longer felt so heavy. What was happening? Unexpectedly, I realized the pain of my resentment was actually a gift. I have carried a lot of emotional weight in my heart, some of which still remains. My heaviness is rooted in childhood memories of hurt and confusion. At the blissful age of eleven, just when I thought life was pretty safe and stable, I had the rug ripped out from underneath of me. Infidelity and unfaithfulness had crept into our home and turned everything upside down. Everything I knew faded away, as my mother threw his things around, screaming and crying. She was so emotional, and I couldn’t help but feel sorry for her. Her anger was wrapped up in sadness as she packed up all of my father’s belongings into black trash bags. One by one out the door, like little pieces of my heart that she was just bagging up and throwing out. She set them out on our front lawn, and I stood there grieving. She didn’t see the little girl in the corner crying along with her. Someone forgot the little soul who was being traumatized by these big emotions. No one stopped the chaos for a minute to realize my heart was breaking too. My memories of Christmas traditions and Saturdays at the grocery store never came back. Everything changed, and I hated this new life. From then on, everyone was always seemed sad around me. I recall listening to my grandmother try to comfort my mother as she wept in her bedroom for weeks. I can still see the shame in my father’s face as he came and visited us every once in a while. The raw vulnerability and pure helplessness I felt during those years were probably the most painful parts. The sense of being abandoned and left with all these intense emotions to deal with was so demanding. The pressure of trying to figure things out with no sense of direction left me with an underlying sense of unhappiness all the time. It was then a seed of undeniable pain was planted. I would spend years nurturing this seed like it was my life’s purpose. Growing up I appeared to be okay with the change, but the days of confusion were simply endless for me. My new normal was abnormal, and the finality of the chaos ended when I accepted the idea that my parents would never get back together. My mother was left trying to hold it all together, and it was a struggle to watch over the years. For the sake of her children and with the little strength she had left, I watched her work tirelessly to preserve the memory of a good life. Despite her dedication to her children, the inevitable happened: Her little children grew up. We created our own version of our childhood memories and our seeds of hurt began to bloom. It’s a shame how pain, resentment, and fear have a way of spreading like wildfire within us. It shows up in the friends we hang out with, the partners we choose, and the weaknesses that destruct us. When things fall apart, it’s hard to think clearly, let alone follow a path of success. It’s far easier to point the finger and hand out slips of blame to anyone close to you. But after years of feeling heavy, I was tired. I was ready to let this baggage go. That evening, I reflected on what Tony Robbins said to the girl, “If you are going to blame people, then blame them for everything.” This is how I transformed by resentment into gratitude: If I was hardened by the things I did not get as a child, then I must be grateful for the life skills I now possess. The resourcefulness I have gained throughout the years is immeasurable. I do not say that out of arrogance, but out of pride. I used to resent the lack I grew up with, but now I am so thankful because it nurtured my resilience. The desire to want more fostered an enormous amount of determination within me. If I blamed my parents for a tough childhood, then I must also thank them for teaching me how to be a great mother. The insatiable craving of wanting to feel loved, noticed, and important gave me the skills to connect with my son on the most fundamental level. I know the value of establishing and maintaining this relationship with him because that’s all I ever wanted growing up, a close connection to my parents. If I was saddened by the years of confusion my life, then I must acknowledge the beautiful clarity present in my life now. The tears shed were not in vain. Instead, they washed away a distinct path for me to travel. I can see the gift of my writing. The dreaded confusion gave birth to my innate ability to connect to other’s pain and articulate what they feel. If I allowed the pain of my sadness to grow, then I must not forget to appreciate the goodness in my life. I know what it feels like to be sad, but this led me to experience happiness on a whole new level. I find joy in really simple things like a good cup of coffee. I can feel bliss when I am with my husband doing absolutely nothing. Most of all, I can live with a sense of true contentment in my life. If I found fault in everyone for all the things I thought went wrong in my life, then I’m indebted to all these people eternally. The agony I perceived as targeted was destined to be part of my life. The people I couldn’t forgive, who fostered hate within me, I now love even more. It’s because of them I now live a fulfilled life with more to come. You see, this is all part of life’s plan. The people we despise, the rage we harbor, and the bitterness we nurture are actually the tools we need to grow and evolve. The goal in transformation is to gain a higher level of awareness in our lives. There is no achievement in staying stuck when the goal is to walk through these milestones. The problem does not lie in another person; it’s the fixed perspective you are perpetually protecting. Do not prolong experiencing real joy. Time is fleeting. Transform your bitterness into sweetness, and your purpose will reveal itself it you. Dig deep, not to find fault in others, but to find the gifts within your soul; therein lies the gift of your pain and the beauty in all that you have suffered. About Jamie Hannigan Jamie Hannigan, at forty-one years old, decided to pursue her true passion for writing by sharing her insights on life with others. Through her blog posts at www.jamiehannigan.wordpress.com, she strives to connect with her readers on a personal level, offering a deeper look into some of life’s complex situations. She makes every effort to build lasting connections with everyone she meets and believes that every soul is destined for greatness. See a typo or inaccuracy? Please contact us so we can fix it!

5 Powerful Mindset Shifts to Stop Worrying About What Other People Think

“Care about what other people think and you will always be their prisoner.” ~Lao Tzu We carefully pick out what we wear to the gym to make sure we look good in the eyes of the other gym goers. We beat ourselves up after meetings running through everything we said (or didn’t say), worried that coworkers will think we aren’t smart or talented enough. We post only the best picture out of the twenty-seven selfies we took and add a flattering filter to get the most likes to prove to ourselves that we are pretty and likable. We live in other people’s heads. And all it does is make us judge ourselves more harshly. It makes us uncomfortable in our own bodies. It makes us feel apologetic for being ourselves. It makes us live according to our perception of other people’s standards. It makes us feel inauthentic. Anxious. Judgmental. Not good enough. Not likable enough. Not smart enough. Not pretty enough. F that sh*t. The truth is, other people’s opinions of us are none of our business. Their opinions have nothing to do with us and everything to do with them, their past, their judgments, their expectations, their likes, and their dislikes. I could stand in front of twenty strangers and speak on any topic. Some of them will hate what I’m wearing, some will love it. Some will think I’m a fool, and others will love what I have to say. Some will forget me as soon as they leave, others will remember me for years. Some will hate me because I remind them of their annoying sister-in-law. Others will feel compassionate toward me because I remind them of their daughter. Some will completely understand what I have to say, and others will misinterpret my words. Each of them will get the exact same me. I will do my best and be the best I can be in that moment. But their opinions of me will vary. And that has nothing to do with me and everything to do with them. No matter what I do some people will never like me. No matter what I do some people will always like me. Either way, it has nothing to do with me. And it’s none of my business. Ok, “that’s all well and good” you may be thinking. “But how do I stop caring what other people think of me?” 1. Know your values. Knowing your top core values is like having a brighter flashlight to get you through the woods. A duller light may still get you where you need to go, but you’ll stumble more or be led astray. With a brighter light the decisions you make—left or right, up or down, yes or no—become clearer and easier to make. For years I had no idea what I truly valued, and I felt lost in life as a result. I never felt confident in my decisions, and I questioned everything I said and did. Doing core values work on myself has made a huge impact on my life. I came to realize that “compassion” is my top core value. Now when I find myself questioning my career decisions because I’m worried about disappointing my parents (a huge trigger for me), I remind myself that “compassion” also means “self-compassion,” and I’m able to cut myself some slack. If you value courage and perseverance and you show up at the gym even though you are nervous and have “lame” gym clothes, you don’t have to dwell on what the other gym goers think about you. If you value inner peace and you need to say “no” to someone who is asking for your time, and your plate is already full to the max, you can do so without feeling like they will judge you for being a selfish person. If you value authenticity and you share your opinion in a crowd, you can do so with confidence knowing that you are living your values and being yourself. Know your core values, and which ones you value the most. Your flashlight will be brighter for it. 2. Know to stay in your own business. Another way to stop caring about what other people think is to understand that there are three types of business in the world. This is a lesson I learned from Byron Katie, and I love it. The first is God’s business. If the word “God” isn’t to your liking, you can use another word here that works for you, like the Universe or “nature.” I think I like “nature” better, so I’ll use that. The weather is nature’s business. Who dies and who is born is nature’s business. The body and genes you were given are nature’s business. You have no place in nature’s business. You can’t control it. The second type of business is other people’s business. What they do is their business. What your neighbor thinks of you is his business. What time your coworker comes into work is her business. If the driver in the other car doesn’t go when the light turns green, it’s their business. The third type of business is your business. If you get angry with the other driver because you now have to wait at another red light, that’s your business. If you get irritated because your coworker is late again, that’s your business. If you are worried about what your neighbor thinks of you that’s your business. What they think is their business. What you think (and in turn, feel) is your business. Whose business are you in when you’re worried about what you’re wearing? Whose business are you in when you dwell on how your joke was received at the party? You only have one business to concern yourself with—yours. What you think and what you do are the only things you can control in life. That’s it. 3. Know that you have full ownership over your feelings. When we base our feelings on other people’s opinions, we are allowing them to control our lives. We’re basically allowing them to be our puppet master, and when they pull the strings just right, we either feel good or bad. If someone ignores you, you feel bad. You may think “she made me feel this way by ignoring me.” But the truth is, she has no control over how you feel. She ignored you and you assigned meaning to that action. To you, that meant that you are not worth her time, or you are not likable enough, smart enough, or cool enough. Then you felt sad or mad because of the meaning you applied. You had an emotional reaction to your own thought. When we give ownership of our feelings over to others, we give up control over our emotions. The fact of the matter is, the only person that can hurt your feelings is you. To change how other people’s actions make you feel, you only need to change a thought. This step sometimes takes a bit of work because our thoughts are usually automatic or even on the unconscious level, so it may take some digging to figure out what thought is causing your emotion. But once you do, challenge it, question it, or accept it. Your emotions will follow. 4. Know that you are doing your best. One of the annoying things my mom would say growing up (and she still says) is “You did the best you could with what you had at the time.” I hated that saying. I had high standards of myself and I always thought that I could have done better. So when I didn’t meet those expectations my inner bully would come out and beat the crap out of me. How much of your life have you spent kicking yourself because you thought you said something dumb? Or because you showed up late? Or that you looked weird? Every time, you did the best you could. Every. Single. Time. That’s because everything we do has a positive intent. It may not be obvious, but it’s there. Literally as I’m writing this post sitting in a tea shop in Portland, Maine, another patron went to the counter and asked what types of tea he could blend with his smoky Lapsang Souchong tea (a favorite of mine as well). He hadn’t asked me, but I chimed in that maybe chaga mushroom would go well because of its earthy flavor. He seemed unimpressed with the unsolicited advice and turned back to the counter. The old me would have taken that response to heart and felt terrible the rest of the afternoon thinking how this guy must think I’m a dope and annoying for jumping into the conversation uninvited. But let’s take a look at what I had in that moment: I had an urge to try to be helpful and a core value of kindness and compassion I had an interest in the conversation I had an impression that my feedback might be well received I had a desire to connect with a new person on a shared interest I did the best I could with what I had. Because I know that, I have no regrets. I also know that his opinion of me is none of my business and I was living in tune with my values trying to be helpful! Though, I could also see how from another perspective that forcing my way into a conversation and pushing my ideas on someone who did not ask may have been perceived as rude. And rudeness goes against my core value of compassion. That leads me to the next lesson. 5. Know that everyone makes mistakes. We live in a culture where we don’t often talk about how we feel. It turns out we all experience the same feelings, and we all make mistakes. Go figure! Even if you are living in tune with your values, even if you are staying in your own business, even if you are doing your best, you will make mistakes. Without question. So what? We all do. We all have. Having compassion for yourself comes easier when you understand that everyone has felt that way. Everyone has gone through it. The only productive thing you can do with your mistakes is to learn from them. Once you figure out the lesson you can take from the experience, rumination is not at all necessary and it’s time to move on. In the case of tea patron-interjection-debacle, I could have done a better job of reading his body language and noticed that he wanted to connect with the tea sommelier and not a random stranger. Lesson learned. No self-bullying required. At my last company I accidentally caused a company-wide upset. A friend and coworker of mine, who had been at the company for a few years, had been asking to get a better parking spot. One came available as someone left the company, but he still was passed over. He’s such a nice guy, and as my department was full of sarcastics, I thought it would be funny to create a pun-filled petition for him to get the better spot. I had no idea that it was going to be taken so poorly by some people. It went up the chain of command and looked like our department was full of unappreciative, needy whiners. And our boss thought it looked like I used my position to coerce people into signing it. He brought the whole department together and painfully and uncomfortably called out the whole terrible situation and demanded it never happen again. I. Was. MORTIFIED. He hadn’t named me, but most people knew I created it. I was so embarrassed and ashamed. But here’s what I did: I reminded myself of my values. I value compassion and humor. I thought I was doing a kind but funny act for a friend. When I found myself worrying what other people must now think of me, I told myself that if they thought poorly of me (of which I had no evidence) all I could do was to continue to be my best me. When flashbacks of that awful meeting came back to mind, flushing my face full of heat and shame, I remembered to take ownership over how I felt and not let the memory of the event or what other people think dictate how I feel now. I reminded myself that I did the best I could with what I had at the time. I had a desire to help a friend and an idea I thought was funny and assumed would go over well. I realized that I made a mistake. The lesson I learned was to be more considerate of how others may receive my sense of humor. Not everyone finds me as funny as my husband does. I can make better decisions now because of it. And after a short time the whole incident was forgotten. Stop worrying about what other people think. It will change your life. — For one week only, you can get Sandra’s self-empowerment workshop, along with 19 other life-changing online tools, for 95% off in Tiny Buddha’s Best You, Best Life Bundle. In this course you’ll learn how and why we have automatic emotional reactions of fear, anger, and judgment to stressful situations, and how to change this to choose how you respond to any situation. Includes five instructional videos, four downloadable worksheets, and a bonus guided meditation. You can get the bundle here. About Sandy Woznicki Sandy is a stress and anxiety coach and mindfulness meditation teacher helping women who deep down don't feel good enough and are overrun by stress or fear. Her coaching and free resources like the Stress Detox Course help women to live more fully and freely. She’s happily married to her goofy husband and loves connecting with nature in beautiful Maine. See a typo or inaccuracy? Please contact us so we can fix it!

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