About four years ago I made a conscious effort to stop losing my temper, particularly with my wife and children. Leading up to this moment, suppressing the anger around others was not as difficult. Perhaps my ego aided in that as I cared a great deal what other people thought of me. But unfortunately for my family, after a full day of "suppressing" the dam of emotion would usually break. It would typically manifest in the form of yelling about dirty rooms or criticizing over their inability to get along with each other (we have four young, energetic children).
To put my commitment into existence I taped a paper on the wall of my bedroom that said "No more yelling". The idea was to put a mark on that paper every day I kept my temper in check. I tried everything I knew to improve but was making slow progress. Two years later as we packed up our belongings to move to a different home, I took the paper off the wall and painfully grimaced as I saw only 2-3 marks on the paper. "So much for that" I thought to myself. But my commitment continued.
Then a few months ago my effort was rewarded. I had received various thoughts or promptings about changes to make in my life and in following those, came across some material that slid everything into place. In short, the material discussed one way of tracing painful emotions (such as grief, fear, anger, sadness, etc) down to the underlying thoughts that gave life to the emotion. Once there, I could then imagine myself "with" the thought and contrast that to being "without" the thought. With the thought, I would feel contraction, anger, frustration, helpless and so on. Without the thought I was simply....there. Free to act.
For example: walking into my home after a day of work and finding toys and clothes strewn around a room would elicit some anger and frustration. In working on that emotion, I might find that the underlying thought was that my children SHOULD clean up their messes. After all, I had only told them that about a thousand times. Then another thought of "they must not respect me or care about me" since they "know how much I care about keeping the house clean".
These thoughts that happened to be judgments were never apparent to me. They were lurking deep down inside. They had been a piece of me for so long that they were no longer conscious; but rather they were in my subconscious thinking. I quickly realized that those thoughts I was attaching to were not only false (meaning I couldn't absolutely know that they were true since I don't live in the minds of my children) but they were also judgments about them. Plain and simple, my judgment of my family was leading to the anger I was feeling. It wasn't anything THEY were doing. It was me.
Now, I could argue that if they would just do what I wanted then I wouldn't be angry, so it really appeared on the surface as though they were causing my anger. Causality. But how could they be responsible for a thought or judgment that I was creating in my own mind? They don't think for me, I do. By allowing the thought "they should..." to stay put in my mind, I was creating the suffering, manifested through anger and frustration. And if I was creating it, that meant I could also un-create it.
The shear act of recognizing that I was causing the anger through my own judgments in effect tore down a wall to a new way of being. Coming from the spaciousness within me that was created by removing the judgment allowed me to then act from a place of love and create new possibilities with my children and my wife.
Interesting possibility: when we as humans are NOT judging each other, love naturally fills the void left in the space vacated by the judgment. We ARE love and service to others, and it flows naturally when judgment is not restricting it. In any conversation I have ever had with anyone about what they truly want, we always land on love and service to others. Every. Time. That's who we are at the core.
Since that earth shattering experience for me, anger is practically a thing of the past. It still sneaks in there from time to time. But I quickly review my underlying beliefs when it shows up and zero in on the thought that is causing the anger. The culprit thought is always false (or rather I can't know for certain that it is true) and always a judgment. New openings and ways of thinking have come from that "freedom" which have created miracles with my family and others.
Love is not passive. Freedom from judgment is not passive. You don't need stress, anger or judgment to be actively engaged in this life. They might feel comfortable as motivators since we've been using them for so long, but I propose that they aren't the kind of motivation we want. Trust the energy and desire that come from living from a place of love and then rejoice in the miracles that happen all around you.
I invite everyone that reads this to review their own lives and watch for those unwelcomed feelings of fear, anger, grief and the like, and then spend some time with it to identify the underlying thoughts. When you find the judgment, acknowledge it and then turn away from it. Peace will follow and you will be empowered to live from love rather than judgment.
Please understand I am not saying that emotion in and of itself is a bad thing. I am simply proposing that some emotion could be seen as warning signs, like a check engine light in your car. That type of emotion is often unwanted and driven from or intermingled with judgment. In contrast, some of the most poignant and sweet experiences of my life have been accompanied by tears and strong emotions and can be a beautiful aspect of our lives. For example, I recently have been grieving the loss of several dear relatives. Unwinding the judgments from all the thoughts going through me has allowed the negative aspects of certain emotions to dissipate, leaving the enhanced emotions to remain and enrich my life.
Whatever your beliefs in life, this can be a game-changer. It has been for me. It can enhance the good beliefs you already have. For my own belief system, this has opened up a new world of understanding the truths and principles I have believed all my life, while also adjusting my understanding of them to be more purely in-line with them. I'm now seeing each of the tenets of my faith from new angles and from various perspectives which allows for deeper worship. For you, it will likewise bring greater clarity to the good you believe in and allow you to BE that good in the world.
This is who you are. You ARE the GOOD!
Please note that this is my own experience, and any suggestions I provide are simply possibilities for you to consider and apply if and how you see fit. I respect your freedom to disagree with anything I propose and love you for your independent thinking. My aim is for you to see new possibilities that you can then play with in your own life if you so choose. Enjoy!