Understanding helps us to react properly.
When a child is crying – we may become upset they disturb our sleep.
But perhaps they are in need. In need of comfort or a drink of water.
If we focus on ourselves, our lacking – sleep in this case – we become upset. If we focus on the other, we help to render the life of another into a better life.
One way for a person to remove bad feelings is to understand that another has problems and challenges and needs, just like you.
Put yourself in their shoes for a moment.
Once done, you can more easily empathize with the other.
Don’t Speak or Listen to Derogatory Speech
The Torah has laws that allow a person to see the good in a fellow Jew. Laws of Lashon HaRah / not speaking badly about others – allow us to live more peacefully.
Lashon HaRah is speech that is 100% true – but it is derogatory. The Torah forbids speaking badly about a fellow Jew, unless there is some kind of Toelet / useful outcome. Like if someone is asking you about a potential suitor for their daughter, one may tell them information pertinent to the match – to avoid that the daughter gets married to an unsuitable suitor.
Or if you want your child to avoid bad activities or character traits of a friend, you can talk with them about that person.
Another way to cleanse yourself is to avoid Lashon HaRah / derogatory speech about others.
Lashon HaRah is like fire. You might not have had bad feelings for a person, but because you heard something bad about them you develop them.
I would venture to say avoid listening to things that cause you worry. If all the bad news reported in certain news sources causes you to be fearful in life, avoid it. Get your news from a source that informs without causing you to fear daily.
Avoid speaking badly about others to cleanse yourself of bad emotions.
Be Active in Jewish Community & Torah and Avoid Judging people
Two ways to remove negative emotions is to be active in the Jewish community to help others and at the same time to avoid judging others.
It says in Pirkei Avot (Chapter 2, Mishna 4)
Hillel says “Do not separate from the community. And do not be sure of yourself until the day of your death. And do not judge your fellow until you arrive at his place. And do not say something that is impossible to understand [assuming] that in the end it will be understood. And do not say “when I will be free I will learn [Torah],” perhaps you will not [ever] be free.
Being part of the community allows you to use your talents in a productive manner. To channel your energies for a greater good. This helps you to develop a positive attitude to helping others.
“Don’t Judge a person until you arrive to his place.” – Don’t condemn the person, condemn the actions.
Judge those worthy favorably
It says in Pirkei Avot (Chapter 1, Mishna 6)
Yehoshua son of Perahia & Nitai the Arbeli received it from them. Yehoshua ben Perahia says: Make a Rabbi of/for yourself, & acquire for yourself a fellow [to learn Torah] & judge each person favorably.
The Torah also says to Judge a person favorably. If it is a generally good person, you should udge them favorably. If they are a generally bad person, you can assume their action is bad.
Some may say if you don’t speak badly about others, you will be naive, and the people will continue their bad deeds. That point is addressed, in that you should respect people but suspect them – until you really know them. If you want them to improve, so speak to them directly privately in a nice, gentle way for them to improve their ways.
Focus on the Positive
A Good G-d
G-d is good. He does only good to us. Some, ignore or choose to focus on the negative. But if you look deep enough you will see the good in even a difficult or challenging situation. Sometimes you don’t see it right away. Sometimes you need further study or conultation of others that have Daat Torah / Torah Outlook in order to see it, but underlying all situations is good – for you or for the world. If you take an honest, non-biased look, at a situation, putting all self-interests aside, you will be able to more easily see the good. If one person got a raise and you didn’t – perhaps he was coming on time every day to work, while you came late.
See the Good in life
Fine – if your boss is mean, you do have nice children. If your children are giving you pain, it is an opportunity to bond with them on their own level and establish a better relationship with them.
Fix the Situation
Better to do than to complain. Fix the root of the problem not just the symptoms. If your husband is mean with you, find ways to improve the relationship or split.
Pray for Your Good
If your co-worker got a raise and you didn’t, if this upsets you, you might have resentment towards the boss. Instead of praying for the detriment of the boss, pray for the good of yourself.
Know it is a Mitzvah to be Happy
G-d wants you to serve him with happiness. A person’s general mood should be happy. If you are down, remember that you are a great person and G-d beleives in you – that you can reach your potential and you can be happy. You just have to take the first step.
– Understand People
– Don’t Speak or Listen Derogatory Speech
– Avoid Judging people
– Be Active in Jewish Community & Torah
– Judge those worthy favorably
– Focus on the Positive
– A Good G-d
– See the Good in life
– Fix the Situation
– Pray for Your Good
– Konw it is a Mitzvah to be Happy
*A book about Lashon HaRah in English is The Power of Words by Rabbi Zelig Pliskin.