I’ll admit, I have a lot of hate and anger inside of me. I can’t help it. When I see people I love being wronged, or when I’m wronged, I can’t help but feel it’s incredibly unfair. But it consumes you, changes you. You become obsessed with it, you feel the anger in every fibre of your body. And most importantly: it’s not healthy.
How are you supposed to live a satisfying life if all you’re thinking about is anger and hate? You need to process your emotions, validate them, and eventually file them away to move on. But here’s the million dollar question: how?
Forgive them—or at least forget
Maybe what they did to you was really shitty. Maybe it was unforgivable. But hating them isn’t going to change anything: all it will achieve is making you feel worse. Don’t let them win. Forgive them, because they don’t know better—or if you can’t, forget, and move on. Because really, when you forgive them, you’re really forgiving yourself and allowing yourself to let the hate go.
We’re human: we make mistakes
Remember that. Maybe things were said and done in the heat of the moment. Maybe they regret it, and maybe they don’t. But it’s important to realise we all make mistakes. Why should we hold a small mistake against someone? If you were in the same position, you’d want them to be gracious towards you.
Don’t live in the past
I know it’s hard. I know you’re probably obsessing over it. I know any slight mention makes your blood boil, and your chest heat with an overwhelming sense of injustice and rage. No matter what you do, you can’t fix the past. And even if you do get some form of revenge, it won’t make you any happier, and it won’t change what happened.
Open yourself to the future
Use that rage to fuel your passions. If anything, kill them with success. The best revenge, after all, is success. Open your heart. Try new things. Take one step at a time to make your dreams come true.
Allow yourself to feel
If someone has done something terrible to you, you have a right to feel angry—so don’t feel like a bad person for it. But, like with any emotional experience, you need to address it the right way. Don’t bottle it up—talk to loved ones, a therapist, or even write. You need to process your emotions, validate them, and let it go.
Learn from your experiences
Think of it as a learning curb—think about the kind of person you want to be. Think about how you want to be treated—and treat others that way. Every adversity has a lesson to teach us—and we must be stronger than it.
Send them love
Generally, if people do bad things, there’s a reason: they’re damaged or they too have been wronged somehow. That isn’t fair, and it doesn’t justify their actions, but it does explain them. Maybe getting revenge and making them feel bad will make you feel momentarily superior. But in the long run, it will only make things worse. Life goes on, and hate only breeds more hate. Don’t let it eat you up from the inside.
Replace it with something you love
Negative voice in your head? Obsessing over words said to you? Keep repeating the incident over and over? Replace it with something else. Something you enjoy, something you love, something that makes you happy. Let your happy memories set you free.
Think about what I’ve written. Acknowledge your feelings. When anger strikes, remember you deserve more than a hate-filled heart. The world has enough hate in it—it doesn’t need any more. Let yourself move on—it will free you.
Care for yourself
You are number one. Do things you love. Get a massage, have a bath, get a manicure, do a hair mask, drink a glass of wine, read a book, watch your favourite shows and eat your favourite, nutritious food. Always put yourself first, and surround yourself with positive people who will help and love you.
Do the clichés
Scream into a pillow. Go to the gym and work up a sweat. Write an angry letter, and tear it up or burn it. Get all your emotions out in a positive way that isn’t hurtful. We don’t need more hurt in the world.
We aren’t always innocent, and maybe things could have been handled better. But you always—no matter what—need to forgive and love yourself. You are strong. You are a good human. Be the change you want to see in the world, and who knows: maybe if you respond with love instead of hate, you’ll change someone’s world.
I still believe there is kindness in this world. Even though we are engulfed with war, disease, suffering, death, hate and torture, I still believe there is hope.
A few days ago, I somehow popped my tyre while driving. Don’t ask me how. I just heard a massive BANG and there it was. A flat tyre. Now, normally I would have called family friends to come and help me. The only problem was: I now lived three hours away from them.
Oh, dear! I thought. How is it possible that I can write thousands upon thousands of words and analyse philosophical ideas, but I can’t change a damn tyre?
I was freaking out—and kicking myself for not learning to change a tyre sooner. That was when a random guy asked me if I was okay—and he helped me, with no thought of himself, not even accepting my offers of money as thanks. I was bewildered—and grateful.
Similarly, a few years ago I was at a petrol station, and my cards declined—one of which was supposed to contain child support payments from my father. I tried $20 on each. Declined. $15. Declined. $10. Declined. Even $5—once again, declined. I was humiliated to the point of trying even $2, while counting up ten cent pieces from my wallet. And that was when a man stepped out from behind me and paid the rest of what I owed.
“Don’t worry about it, mate,” he said. “We’ve all been there.”
And then he left without another word.
A tyre and some money; for them, it may not have meant much. But for me, it meant the world. Could it be that there are genuinely good people out there? People who are willing to help others with no thought of themselves?
My mum once told me a story about how she saved a woman from a rather dire car crash accident. She crawled into the overturned car to pull the woman out of the wreckage. At any moment, the car could have burst into flames: but she did it anyway.
I can’t say if I’ve saved a life—I’d like to hope someone else would have intervened if I hadn’t. Two years ago I was holidaying in Vanuatu at a place known as the Blue Lagoon—essentially, a very deep, very blue swimming hole. A mother was there, waiting to catch her two girls who were jumping off the wharf into the lagoon—only, it was much deeper than she anticipated. She began to struggle. She began to call for help—scream for help. I had no idea what I was doing, I just knew I had to do something. Grabbing the girl—who couldn’t have been older than five—I slowly made my way to where I could touch the ground, banking on the idea that I could hold my breath for longer than she could. The mother cried, thanking me. Did I save her? I don’t know. But I did something, and that’s my point.
Something is all it takes, no matter how small, to change someone’s world. Small acts of kindness, small acts of bravery—that’s all it takes to change the world. So, what will you do? All it takes is one tiny step. Will you take it?