Increase your self-confidence. The more confident you are the less
hurt you will be by criticism and rejection. The less hurt you are, the less
angry you become. You are also less likely to be prejudiced. Self-confident
people are probably self-accepting; self-accepting people are probably
tolerant of others, i.e. less hateful. See method #1 in chapter 14 for self-
concept building methods; you can come to see yourself as thoughtful,
tolerant, understanding, and forgiving.
A part of confidence is believing you can control the inborn tendencies and
childhood influences that make you bad tempered. Don't be a slave to your
past; you can be smarter than that. If you are prone to feel powerless, you
need to build your self-efficacy by demonstrating to yourself that your temper
is controllable. Plan some self-help projects and work for self-control (see
method #9 in chapter 14).
Differentiate thoughts from deeds and the person from their
action. My actions are not me; part of me, maybe, but not all of me. Haim
Ginott (1965, 1971) and Samalin (1991) make this so clear with children.
Your son's room, filled with month old dirt, dust, dirty clothes and decaying
food, may make you furious but that is different from saying to him, "you are
a filthy, lazy, defiant, no-good punk." A dirty room doesn't make him a
completely despicable person, as the statement implies. Likewise, there is an
important distinction between thoughts or urges and actual deeds, e.g.
feeling like hitting someone differs drastically from actually doing it.
Every human being should be respected. The Quakers might be right, God
may be in every person. No thought or feeling is awful, it doesn't hurt anyone
until it gets transformed into action. So, accept everyone as an important,
worthy person, regardless of what they have done. Be tolerant of all ideas
and feelings. Concentrate on solving the problem at hand rather than on any
personal affront you may have suffered.
Live a non-aggressive, loving, and forgiving philosophy. There are
many possibilities: Christian "love thy enemies" or "love one another" or "turn
the other cheek" philosophy is one. Other approaches are the Quakers',
Gandhi's, and Martin Luther King's non-violence philosophy, and the Kung Fu
or Yoga philosophy of detachment and acceptance of the inevitable. Also, Carl
Rogers and humanistic psychologists speak of "unconditional positive regard"
for every person. Similarly, Martin Buber (1970) prescribes reverence for
others, as implied in his title, I and Thou. This involves a deep respect for
every person, considering them priceless, irreplaceable, vital, and a
fascinating, unique miracle to be cherished, even if you don't like all that they
have done. Every person has a right to be different, perhaps a responsibility
to be his/her unique self.
To be wronged or robbed is nothing unless you continue to remember it.