The world is so full of anger and spite. To save our mental health and emotional well-being we need to live and let live. When you hold on to anger, it is toxic only to you, no one else. We have entered an age where stress is ubiquitous. For some people, the only way to manage their inner conflict and unhappiness is to project those negative emotions onto others.
Projection of anger and inner misery
Think of your emotions as an energy parcel or package. When we don’t know how to regulate our own emotions they tend to build up and become unmanageable. I see this all the time in my private practise. Clients who have begun to show physical symptoms due to the inability to defuse their emotions. When we do not adequately deal with our stress, our body takes the strain.
For example, typical examples of the body dealing with mental distress is irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), aches and pains, headaches, insomnia and general unease in your body. Some people are diagnosed with functional neurological disorder (FND). This is a general term for many unexplained physical symptoms. Many mental health professionals believe that these physical symptoms are a result of negative mental energy, such as stress and anxiety that has not been adequately dealt with.
Projection negative energy
Social media has become a popular and effective way of pushing negative energy onto others. It is so easy to hurt and upset others online and hide behind a screen of anonymity. Twitter is among the social media platforms where vitriol is spread like wildfire. We need to Live and Let Live because no one is perfect and there are many hypocrites out there. The irony is that the accusers who spread nastiness are often culprits themselves of the very behaviours they accuse others of. Try empathy, many people have reasons for doing what they do. It doesn’t mean it’s right but there are few people who are actively mean and dangerous, apart from dysfunctional, unstable toxic individuals.
If we could learn to deal with our negative emotions ourselves rather than projecting onto others, the world would be a better place in my opinion. Of others is at an all-time high and the woke movement has legitimised bullying others. When we judge others and hurt others, we let go of some of our inner pain BUT it is only a temporary solution.
Learning to regulate your emotions is a far better way of creating peace in your life. If you don’t like something, turn it off or ignore it. Of course, we all have values and there are some things that we cannot ignore. We should all live in line with our values but we can still live with integrity. You don’t need to spread anger and negativity in order to follow your values.
How to self-regulate your emotions
Take time out from the world. Sometimes it’s useful to live in your little bubble for a day or so and attend to your self-care, and nurture yourself. Focus on what is good in your life by practising gratitude. When we focus on what is good in our lives it’s an instant boost of positivity. It is immediate and effective but we don’t do it enough. Our brains default to the negative as a way to keep us safe in the world, and gratitude takes practise and effort.
Practising mindfulness means that you’re in the moment, you are focusing your five senses on what you can see, hear, touch taste and smell in your immediate surroundings. Mindfulness calms your brain and all of the maddening thoughts in your mind. Thoughts lead to emotions and if we are worried we tend to catastrophise or make assumptions that can take us away from the real truth. We become agitated and then act on that inner conflict.
Learn to disengage from your busy brain and constantly remind yourself that you’re thoughts are not facts – they are based on your fears and insecurities. When you’re in your min,d you’re often in Enemy Territory, so let go and focus on the reality around you. Go for walks in nature, spend time with people you love or who inspire you and make time to play with your pets and laugh.
Acceptance and tolerance
Instead of resisting the fact that life is hard and that no one is perfect, accept that the world is unfair at times and unjust. This doesn’t mean that you have to like the imperfect world as it is or be passive about it, but acknowledging that life will never be fair at all times will allow you to move to the next step. Accept that it’s best for your sanity to live and let live. Don’t concern yourself with what is unimportant. Don’t take the bait. Don’t get triggered. Every trigger is an opportunity for distress and a lowered quality of life.
The next step is acknowledging that life can be a struggle instead of wallowing in the pity of it all. You can then begin to problem-solve and move forward, learn to live and let live. Think of sitting on a sailboat, there is no wind and you are desperate to get to the shore. You are blowing on the sails with all your might and becoming exhausted in the process. If you just sat back and accepted that there is no wind for now, and you made the most of your time on the boat, you would find that you would eventually end up at the shore. With less resistance, you can focus on a better quality of life and accept the ebbs and flows that will come your way.
Live and let live – it’s the only way to reduce anxiety
There is a well-known saying that you cannot please all of the people all of the time. It is a fact of life that no matter how kind and nice you are you will always be someone who doesn’t see you that way. Ultimately you have to do your best to live your life with integrity and not to stoop to the lower levels that others allow themselves to drop to.
Make a point of liking who you see in the mirror every morning when you brush your teeth irrespective of the messy nasty world around you. Liking yourself and behaving impeccably will boost your self-confidence.
When we behave in ways that do not fit with how we would like to see ourselves, we end up experiencing cognitive dissonance. This is an uneasy feeling of conflict whereby the way that we behave is not aligned with our values or how we wish to be. You can avoid this by being kind or tolerant. Try to understand why others do what they do rather than labelling them immediately. I do this and it has increased my levels of tolerance.
It’s not a perfect solution – nothing is perfect but people behave in certain ways for specific reasons. They may feel unfulfilled in their own lives, they may have experienced regular rejection and failure or it could be some other negative experience that has left them angry and I’m happy.
Bullies are often sad inside and are dealing with their own unhappiness and misery. Not that this justifies their behaviour but sad, mean people aren’t happy people. Happy people feel no need to destroy or damage others. Think about that.
Photo by Marcos Paulo Prado on Unsplash