Ask Parvati 31: Relationship Complications – Part 3, Transcending Anger And Low Self-Esteem

BY Parvati

(Continued from Faith and the Unfaithful)
Question: How can I transcend anger, lack of confidence and self esteem when I know it’s the ego playing tricks in my mind?
My answer: The process of transcending anger, lack of confidence and low self-esteem are a slow and deep process. Lifetimes slow. If his Holiness the Dalai Lama says he has transcended anger, well there is hope for us all. Yet we must remember that he is in a state of Buddha Mind. So it takes a lot of time and practice!
My experience tells me that learning to meet life with humility is a very powerful tool to cultivate self-esteem and self-confidence. When we are willing to learn from our mistakes and painful situations, we begin to see life as a gift, as a supportive process, rather than something “happening to me”. We then feel we have choice, and the ability to create a life we love. If we are willing to admit our own faults and shortcomings, we can feel more compassionate for the shortcomings of others as well.
It is natural to feel angry when someone hurts us. But it is a reactive reflex, like you would get if you stepped on a lion’s paw. Anger is not a considerate and compassionate response. If we are willing to go deeper, slowly, with mindful practice, our human tendency to have that knee-jerk reaction will subside. We will develop more God-like qualities, such as understanding, compassion, wisdom and love.
Compassion requires the cultivation of self-love, so that we can see ourselves in others. Through the eyes of compassion, we would see the ignorance in others as the same ignorance we also have. We may not be acting it out in this moment, but we certainly have that potential. So really, we are not that different. When we see our similarities rather than our differences, forgiveness begins to happen. Then there is undemanding, connection, humility, love. Anger cannot live in that kind of environment. But this takes time and practice. It does not develop overnight.
You may find the six blog entries I posted on anger very useful. You can begin with Part One and follow the links at the end of each post to go to the next section.
(Continued tomorrow with Letting Go of Wounds)