Christmas, the time at the end of the year which should be filled with peace and harmony. The time to reflect the year, the entire life. Time to become aware again of the important things in life, which are usually not material.

One aspect in this reflection game is anger. How many times last year have you been angry about something, about somebody? Honest answer please. More than a couple of times probably, maybe even once a day? More? What do you usually do when you are angry? Do you show it? Do you express it? Do you act on it? There is a huge range of possibilities. I am probably at the lower end of this range. It takes some effort to make me angry and hence I am not angry that often, rarely actually. On top comes that I do not really express anger as others might expect. Most of the time I stay calm and simply swallow. This has the effect that I am seen as calm and positive and a nice contemporary. Is this good? Well, at least for my environment and maybe even for me, short-term. But I am aware that this is not the best long-term strategy. I am working on this. and I know people at the other end of the scale which end up in rage even without reason. But that’s their nature, same as I have mine. This is nothing to judge about. There is no good or bad. The point is what you make out of that, how you act on your nature. You can consciously forgive to reduce the anger or you could attack and answer with revenge.

But what is anger? What triggers it? Does it come out of the blue? Anger if obviously the feeling you experience when something is not the way you want it to be. Why should you be angry if everything is nice and fluffy? Anger follows usually unmet expectations. Something or somebody does not behave as you expect it. But instead of checking our expectations we decide to become angry. Well, it’s much easier to search the problem in others or blame others. Why spending the effort to analyse where the anger really comes from? Yes, it is more effort to question the expectation itself. Why did we expect something to be in a certain way or somebody to act or behave in a certain way? Most of the time we do not even consider to communicate our expectations, but we are fast in complaining when they are not met. 

So one way to reduce anger is to work on your own expectations. But I agree this does not work out in all cases. What to do then? Well, one option is to hunt the bastard down and to kill him in a rage of revenge, or something like that. Does this help? Maybe at times, but most probably not, especially not if your victim has a similar attitude then yours. It’s not to hard to see the high potential of escalation in such a setup. Never give up, never step back, never surrender. The world has to feel my anger and has to burn! Will this make you feel better? There is a small chance it does, short-term, but only until you are hit back or your conscience catches up the activity chain and you will feel bad again. This time not about the origin of the anger, but rather about yourself and your lack of self-control. On the plus side, you have achieved a change and might it even be the exchange of a bad feeling with another bad feeling. Congratulations.

So what would I advice now with an imaginary raised index finger? Actually nothing. You are as you are and why should I claim any right to ask you to change? So I won’t. I simply describe what works for me in such a case and this is forgiveness. Simply forgive and all is good. Easily said and actually this is the option which requires more strength than any other. So many people rather prefer to defend their wrong expectations and to die at the battlefield of honor. Feel free to do so.

When pulled to such a battlefield it is not easy for me to drop all my armor and to hand over my weapons. Some people will attack you nonetheless, this happens. But you will be surprised what the majority of the fighters will do then, well, after looking confused at you. Doing the first step has the potential of being hurt. But do you think fighting will not harm you? Stop dreaming. There is a pretty good chance to get killed in the fight. There are always people who are better than you in something.

Forgiving is hard, but it releases your oppressed mind. Simply let go of the expectation and accept that things or people do not always act as you would wish. Most of the time people are not aware of your expectations and I believe that the majority of those cases never had a bad intention in mind. So why punish them and yourself because of unmet expectations? Simply let go the pressure and forgive.

Why do I write this down here these days? It’s Christmas, the time for forgiving. Why not giving it a try? Why not starting right now and here? The ability to forgive is the key to your own happiness and satisfaction. Give it a try and you might be surprised about the result.