So the first thing we need to do is to get rid of this word.
The idea isn’t to never get angry, the idea is to take positive constructive action with my anger, instead of negative destructive action. Anger is a normal feeling and most natural, but it is imperative that we learn how to use it properly. ( and then finally, rid ourselves of it)
Here is a fact that you can take to the bank: “When you “pit” yourself against another person, you ARE NOT going to change their mind.” You might get someone to consent to defeat, but you are not going to change their mind. It’s not going to happen. Can you recall a time when you’ve seen this happen?
Perhaps you have seen someone “switch sides”, but… from my vantage point, both sides are pretty much the same.
When dealing with someone who has a made up mind, I allow them to have their made up mind. I know that a confrontation would lead nowhere, so I don’t bother. People who fight and oppose each other in an angry way, …. they just want to fight. People get addicted to this kind of behavior. Politics, religion, any kind of group can decide that “Our way is the only way”, and you can try all you want to, but you cannot change their minds.
But this doesn’t mean that I cannot say anything at all.
In one of my books from the Yogananda Institute, there is a story that Swami Kryananda tells about Paramahansa Yogananda;
Yogananda is in a shop, and the clerk is really nasty acting. He doesn’t greet people, he is frowning, and basically acting like the world is against him because he has to be there. (We’ve all seen this guy) Yogananda pleasantly walks up to the man and says, “It is a real shame that you are missing all of this. You have it made, working here in this nice store, and people come in and out all day every day from all over the world. You could do a lot of good, but instead you sulk and frown. And who knows who you could meet here?”
A year later, Yogananda walks in to the same store and the clerk rushes to greet him and thank him for the “little talk”. He exclaimed that Yogananda had been correct and that ever since that day a year ago, he had held a new outlook on life.
Me? When someone has an attitude or acts like a jerk towards me, I can instantly become a jerk too. That is just my first reaction. It has taken me years to learn how not to react that way, but I still have to watch myself. While growing up, I learned that I’d better meet attitude with an attitude of my own, and it has been a lot of work, changing that about myself. Just because someone else has a nasty attitude does not mean that I need to have one too. Why should I feel nasty, just because you do? That doesn’t really make any sense.
The thing to notice about the Yogananda story, is that he met a hostile attitude with a loving attitude. If you have an instant angry reaction, you just can’t do that. What Yogananda did was not “confrontation” as described by Webster’s, it was communication!
The first step for me was simply to not meet anger with anger. I say “simply” because it is a pretty simple concept, but it took me years to reach this stage. What I did in the meantime was to keep my mouth shut.
Do not meet anger with anger. Even if it means just being quiet and turning away. Even if it means ejecting yourself from a situation. In the early days of our marriage, my wife and I would sometimes have “discussions”, as many couples do, and sometimes I would just walk out of the house. This of course served to upset her even more, until I explained to her what I was doing. Two angry people are going to make nothing but more anger. I would eject myself from our discussion and go somewhere and calm down and get my bearings. Then I could return calmly, and progress could be made between us.
In daily life, things happen so fast, that often I would just not say anything to people. I learned to just “let it go”. If you are angry, if you have an attitude, or if you have some sort of belief or agenda, you are welcome to it as far as I’m concerned. No skin off my back.
My three rules are
1) I don’t fight.
2) I don’t argue.
3) I am not going to try and talk you into anything or convince you of anything.
If you follow these rules, people who like to argue and debate and try to convince other people, will soon depart from your life, and you won’t miss them a bit. It is actually quite relaxing!
Now in life, I am much different than I used to be. I did finally reach a place in which I don’t meet your anger with mine. As soon as I reached this place, I saw that I could now make big differences in other people’s lives.
One lady sat and told me of her troubles, her worries, and all the things that were going wrong for her. I leaned back in my chair and said, “You know, I saw you on CNN this morning!” She glared at me for a moment, and then burst in to laughter. She still thanks me for that every time we see one another. Instead of patting her on the back and agreeing with her misery, I found a way to humorously point out that what was going on with her was small stuff. She got it, and this simple moment made a big impact on her life.
Sometimes people don’t get it. There are people who get rubbed the wrong way by me, though that is never my intention. The clerk in the Yogananda story could have easily “not gotten it”, but he did. We do not control what other people do or how they feel, or what they “get” and “don’t get”. All we can control is ourselves.
So forget the idea of meeting anger with anger. Forget the idea that we can control other people. The people that I see who make the most noise about politics and religion and how we need to change the world, seem to be the people with no inner peace. This is because they are “confronting”. This is because they are meeting negative with negative.
Let us first and foremost, before we start in on the government or the church, or anyone else for that matter, cultivate peace within ourselves. Let us cultivate peaceful compassionate communication. This is how you can be “Nicely Confrontational”.
Kyle Shiver has a bachelor’s degree in Spiritual Healing from the Yogananda Institute, and is also a Holistic Health Practitioner. Kyle is a Reiki master, energy worker, meditation guide, and uses several other different healing modalities in his work with others. To make an appointment call 912-495-8520 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org