Do you believe that you must absolutely have recourse to anger when it comes to stand up for yourself or for what you believe is right?
In other words, do you believe that self-affirmation is inseparable from anger?
What if I told you that not only is it possible for you to stand up for yourself and assert your rights with calm, serenity, and unconditional acceptance of others, but that you can also do all of this without making yourself miserably angry? That it is all a simple matter of perspective, a simple matter of understanding the laws?
Let me explain.
Our human reality provides us with two categories of laws: universal laws and human laws.
Universal laws refer to the laws of nature. Whether we agree or not with these natural laws does not make any difference at all. As a matter of fact, not only do these natural laws apply without any consideration to who we are, where we are, and when we are, but there is absolutely nothing we can do about them. In other words, universal laws simply cannot be violated—simple as that. For example:
- Water freezes at 32°F (0°C) and boils at 212°F (100°C)
- Dogs bark, horses neigh, and cows moo
- Objects with mass attract one another according to the phenomenon of gravitation or gravity
Human laws refer to the laws that we proclaim in order to live as harmoniously as possible in society. These specific laws tend to change according to who we are, where we are, and when we are. Unlike universal laws, we always have the possibility to violate human laws, although doing so will often lead us to suffer more or less negative consequences. For example:
- Criminal law, traffic law, and civil code
- Hockey, baseball, and football game rules
- Internal rules of the Smith family
Now, as we have seen in my previous article titled “Anger Can Lead to Procrastination – Part 1,” anger is the result of a thought that we often hold unconsciously in our minds. This thought consists in believing that:
- One should not behave as he does, or that
- One should not have behaved as he did, or that
- One should behave as he does not, or that
- One should have behaved as he did not
Let’s also notice that an anger-creating thought always includes:
- A command or order—for example, “he should” or “she must”, or
- An interdiction or ban—for example, “she should not” or “he doesn’t have the right to”
That being said, when we claim that one must or should behave according to our wishes or desires—whatever the nature of these wishes or desires—you will most probably agree with me that such an absolutistic statement obviously refers to the category of human laws.
But aren’t human laws relative and violable in themselves?
In other words, do others absolutely have to act according to our wishes and desires simply because we say so, simply because we want them to do so, simply because we think it would be better if they did so?
Who do we think we are? God? Moses with his Tablets of Laws?
That’s great food for thought, right?
You see, when we erroneously think in such absolutistic terms, not only do we make ourselves miserably angry, but chances are this emotional state will also lead us to behave in more or less violent and aggressive ways. We will say or do things that we will regret later, thus creating more harm than good for ourselves, for others, and for the world. Needless to say this mistaken paradigm of ours does not really get us anywhere.
Wouldn’t be more profitable for us—as well as for others—to think in terms that are more in alignment with reality and practice unconditional acceptance of others? Let’s simply begin by acknowledging others the right to act according to their own desires and wishes even if we do not agree with their behaviors, even if it doesn’t serve our purpose, even if it is harmful to us.
Don’t get me wrong! In no way I am saying that your newly acquired calmness and serenity have to transform you into a doormat! Not only is it fully appropriate to stand up for yourself and for what you believe in, but I strongly encourage you to do so.
The point here is to simply keep in mind that self-affirmation is separable from anger and that it is possible for you to stand up for yourself and assert your rights while remaining in a state of calmness, peacefulness, and serenity.
© Chantal Beaupre 2011
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