Clearing Away Animosity – More Serene Living

MP900387602It is after Yom Kippur – the Day of Atonement.

Hopefully we were inscribed for a year of good and plenty.

If we did the three major things to nullify a decree – teshuva / repentance, tefillah / prayer, and tzedaka / charity – we likely will be inscribed for good.

G-d forgives transgressions against Him. But he cannot forgive for someone who was hurt by another. One must ask forgiveness from the person.

Asking for forgiveness clears the air and heart from guilt feelings.

At times we ourselves are hurt.

Someone stole from us. They acted inappropriately. They insulted us.

It is normal to feel animosity.

But the noble soul will try to overcome it and move on.

Removing Animosity

Here are some ways to remove feelings of animosity

– Think of what you gained by feeling animosity towards a particular person during the year. Did it make you a better person? Did you feel better? Did you become more noble? Apparently not.

By seeing that you gained not from the animosity. Or lost, because you lost the time that you could have done things more productive. Or that you lost by giving yourself a heart ache when the other person did not care, you can motivate yourself to neutralize these feelings of hate. And replace them with neutrality.

– Think of the acts against you as an atonement for previous wrongdoings. This can be used as a lesson to improve.

– Chalk the minor inconveniences and insults as the price of living a normal life.

– Think “my personal happiness is more important than having this animosity. Thus I forgive.”

– Forgive and Forget.

– If you feel someone is unjustly gaining, and thus you resent this – ask yourself “is this my problem?” if it is not move on. If it is do something tangible to right the wrong. If someone stole from you, bring them to a Beit Din – Jewish court of law and settle things. But to hate silently rarely rectifies things.

– Perhaps they received a position because they had qualities or prayers that were stronger than yours. You have other qualities that are greater than theirs that allows you to excel in your current position.

– Use this emotion as a springboard to improve yourself. If you are resentful because someone got a position instead of you. Work twice as hard, and perhaps you will also be promoted.

– Look at what G-d wants from you. G-d wants you to have a peaceful relationship with others.

– Pray to Hash-m / G-d that he will help you overcome your animosity and allow you to make peace.

– Turn Yourself into an ice-cube. Remove all feelings from your heart – good and bad. Flush them out. Then take back only the good feelings.

– Pinpoint a spiritual reason of why someone did bad to you. i.e. if someone stole from you, perhaps you stole from someone else. Correct that and forgive the other for teaching you to improve.

– The world is tailored for your good. Perhaps you needed that “tweak” to improve yourself, your life, or your outlook.

– G-d sometimes downgrades suffering for a person. Instead of having to lose 100k in the stock market, He might allow someone to insult you. See their act as a manner to spare you from a greater suffering.

– Or give them credit for teaching you a lesson in life. Perhaps you were a guarantor in a loan, and they defaulted, causing you to pay back the loan. Now you were taught a valuable lesson – be more careful before you guarantee a loan. Your $500 lesson, could have saved you from losing thousands of dollars that you would have guaranteed in another loan.

– Remember the commandment to “love your fellow like yourself.” There is also a commandment not to hate your fellow in your heart. (A book by the Chofetz Chaim – Called Ahavat Yisrael -“Loving Your Fellow Jew” – explains their importance.)

– Challenges may open the door for new opportunities. You lost a job because of someone else. You may find a job with greater potential.

– Chalk up their bad action to a bad day. Perhaps they had a rough day and they took it out on you. It is not you that is the problem, it was that you were the person who just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.

– Take a step back and see their wrongdoing in their perspective. Perhaps they have low self esteem, which caused them to act against you.

– “Let it go.” Don’t regurgitate bad feelings. Replace them with good feelings. Think of all the good things the person did for you.

– Think that when you feel feelings of animosity towards a person, you give them control of yourself. You don’t want to give so much control of yourself to another person.

– Confront person, privately at a calm time to explain that he or she hurt you. Ask them why they did the act that hurt you. Try to make amends.

– Misunderstandings occur. you might think that someone had a bad intention, when they did not. Maybe they took your coat because they thought it was theirs.

– Judge the average person’s actions favorably. (Those that are known to regularly do bad – you need not judge favorably. But you still must act respectfully towards them,)

– Believe in yourself. Think that you are a bigger person that you don’t stoop to their level.

– Try to pay bad back with good. When you do something good for another you feel better about that person.

– Or try to look at the good actions of the person to wash away the bad feelings.

– Remember that G-d does only good. Things that happen may occasional be uncomfortable, but ultimately they are for the good. So, unintentionally the person did you good. Think “Gam zu LeTova” – This is also for the good.

– Be creative in finding ways that what a person did to you came out or could come out for the good.

Although you can remove the bad feelings, it doesn’t mean you must be naïve. Learn from your past experiences, but remove the bad feelings from your heart.

All pains and challenges are learning experiences. They help us to grow. What one person uses as a reason to become discouraged, another uses to grow and become better.

This attitude makes life a life of continual improvement, growth and good.

See the good.

Believe in the good and it will be good.

Believe it will be good and it will be good. (Tzemach Tzedek)

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  1. Pingback: Ripping Up the Scorecard – Peaceful Living without Grudges | Jerusalem Life

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