Forget the Bull Shit and chart your own path to success and happiness. Part Two
(How I overcame my anger habit)
In my previous post I spoke about just how damaging our “brules” can be.
To recap; a “brule” is a bullshit rule that we accept as fact. The “brules’ by which we live our lives are often fed to us by other people and adopted by us as fact.
The thing that really makes a “brule” though is it has no substance nor value. “Brules” are merely assumptions that we make about the world that are limiting at best and damaging at worst. They always prevent people from prevent people from reaching their true potential.
Examples of societal brules include:
“You HAVE to get a degree to be successful.” Post-secondary education is a good thing, but there are plenty of people who have become huge successes without a degree.
“Overweight people can’t be healthy (or attractive).” This too is untrue. There are plenty of attractive, fit people who carry a few extra pounds. It is only recently that we started to worship super skinny women and ultra muscular men but we are now coming to realize they are not the bastions of health, happiness or fitness that we once thought them to be.
“What will the neighbors (or parents, grandparents, teachers, or anyone else) think?” Honestly who cares? Everyone has an opinion about everything and very few of them are more valid than the rest.
As individuals we not only have to contend with all of societies brules, we all have our own, private bull shit rules that keep us even further from success. These include:
“I am not smart enough.” “I am too old (or too young),”or “people don’t like me.” Over the years I have heard hundreds of self-limiting brules’. These are the things that really hold people back in life. Accepting any presumption that you are afraid, weak or incapable is not good at all. I have personally worked very hard to shed mine and helped many others eliminate theirs.
As stated brules can severely hamper our prosperity, our happiness, our relationships and even our health.
For years I had my own secret brule that I carried like a stone around my neck.
I struggled with my temper and although I wouldn’t say I it was terrible every once in a while I would fly off the handle and get angry about something. On rare occasions this anger would erupt into generally childish behaviour that sometimes degraded to yelling and swearing. While these fits of anger were uncommon they were still totally unacceptable from my point of view.
But the occasional fits of outward anger were not the only problem. In reality I got irritated fairly easily but was fairly good at hiding it the majority of the time. As a result stifling my emotions I suffered needless stress and anxiety. Given that I didn’t like to be irritated so I took to avoiding situations where that might occur.
I had a bullshit rule around my temper. I accepted it as a fact that I could do nothing about it and thought I was genetically predisposed to have a bit of a temper.
At first glance my brule seemed fairly reasonable; after all there were many other people in my immediate family who, at times, demonstrated a similar lack of control.
As a result I spent years I fighting a war in my own brain; on one hand I knew I was a better person than my anger made me feel, on the other hand I rationalized my behaviour as being a part of “who I am.”
I had fallen for a bullshit rule. I accepted my temper as a matter of genetics and upbringing.
One day I simply made a decision. I decided that I no longer wanted to be engaged in an ongoing inner battle with myself. At that moment I chose to eradicate my temper along with the negative energy that went along with it.
To reiterate; I did not wish to battle my inner nature; I wanted to change it.
My goal became to create an inner calm so deep and wide that nothing could touch it. I wanted to create a peace so perfect that I literally became imperturbable.
Once that decision was rendered moving forward was relatively simple and over the last several years I have continually moved toward having a calmer mind and happier spirit at every level.
Below are the steps that I have taken that have helped me create a greater level of inner peace than I have ever enjoyed before.
- Create space for reflection
Most people are so busy that they literally do not take the time to sit in solitude and reflect.
It is only through reflection and introspection that we become aware of our personal truths and begin to question our assumptions. Through reflection we can determine which of our assumptions do not serve us or the world we live in.
It was through my daily meditations that I determined that my anger and irritation was a personal choice that I habitually took in response to specific situations. Knowing that anger had become my default response to certain situations I realised that I had the power to take action.
It was a direct result of my quiet times that I identified the fact I had been excusing my anger and irritation as a matter of heredity and upbringing.
- Questioning my perception of reality
For me an integral part of reflection is learning to question the reality of my own presumptions. I don’t just think about my perceptions, my actions and my intentions I actively question them. It is only through active questioning that one arrives at truth.
Once I began to question my anger I realised that I did not respond to every situation in the same manner. Some days it seemed I was relatively easy to irritate and other days I was super calm and relaxed under very similar circumstances.
Realizing this it became even more clear to me that genetics and upbringing were not a factor.
When I realized that anger and irritation were conditional responses that occurred only under certain circumstances. I then knew that my response was within my control. I realized that my irritation was present only in the company of certain people or when I was tired, or suffering through an unusually high period of stress.
- Accepting personal accountability
As individuals nothing in our personal lives changes until we accept total accountability and decide to make change.
Personal accountability is the corner-stone of all personal growth and nothing in my life would have changed unless I had decided to change it.
- Practicing radical forgiveness
Given that most of my irritation was centred around people one of the best things I ever did for myself was to engage in a daily habit of forgiving anyone who I felt even the slightest negativity toward.
As part of my daily practice I search my mind for any situation where I might have hard feelings towards another person and I forgive either them or myself.
Over time I have gotten over every last hard feeling I ever had toward any person. Given that I feel no ill will or anger toward any person the irritation and anger I felt toward them has completely faded away as did all the stress and anxiety that went along with those feelings.
The adoption of these four practices has helped me overcome the brule I had around my temper. In fact they have empowered me to deal with any and all of the other brules that were negatively impacting my life.
I invite you to spend some time and look over your life. What are the things that are preventing you from living the life of your dreams?
Is it possible they are merely brules?
Let me know what you think.
If there is anything that I can possible to assist you please feel free to contact me.