If you asked me, “Do you admire yourself?” I would most likely say no.
If you asked, “Do you admire parts of yourself?” I would say, definitely yes.
That’s because there are always parts of ourselves that we admire, whether we allow ourselves to notice it or not. If you’re finding it hard to notice the good qualities about yourself that you admire, I have a shortcut for you. It has to do with learning the hidden gifts that can come with bad feelings.
Let’s say that someone does something really, really inconsiderate. You get infuriated. How dare that person act in such a despicable way? You hate the fact that there are such nasty people in the world. You hate that terrible person. You hate it when stuff like that happens to you, and you don’t deserve it.
Publius Terentius Afer, who lived around 160 years BC, wrote, “I am human, and nothing of that which is human is alien to me.”
I got his quote from Maya Angelou, and she thinks it means that each human is capable of doing what any other human does. We have all the same components, and no matter how awful it is, we’re actually capable of doing it.
I agree. I think that we blame others for being what they are when we have no idea what caused them to be that way. Even though that nasty, inconsiderate person is really behaving badly, you’re actually capable of behaving just as badly. You’re just choosing not to. In my view, the anger that you feel points to a clue about something admirable in you.
I believe that for at least some of us, the degree of outrage you feel points to how hard you’ve been working to avoid being that bad person with the bad behavior. You try to control those negative behaviors in yourself. If you’ve spent a lifetime inculcating good habits, patience, and manners, you’ll probably be really annoyed by someone who just doesn’t care and spews his or her nastiness on everybody carelessly.
So go ahead and feel your anger. You probably won’t see the gift it’s going to leave you right away. Let it run its course and try not to amplify it by engaging in a big fight. Eventually the anger will flow back away from you like a wave because that’s what emotions do. Just don’t forget to pick up the beautiful lesson that anger has left for you like a shell washed in on the wave.
It’s the gift of knowledge about yourself and knowledge of your own values. Before you go on with your life and just forget about the whole incident, remember to say to yourself that you’re grateful for your efforts and achievements in behaving well, even though you have the same feelings that nasty people do from time to time.
You’re probably the kind of person who consciously tries not to hurt others. You monitor what you say, you try to see things from the other person’s point of view, and you try to word things in a way that doesn’t offend. If you see someone suffering, you try to find a word of encouragement or leave a nice card on their desk when they’re not looking.
And that’s really a sweet trait that deserves admiration.
Experiencing that bad behavior and the anger you felt can serve to enlighten you about the effort you put forth every day to create more peace in the world. Admire that trait in yourself. Give yourself a little credit for not behaving like the person who just acted so badly. Take the time to appreciate yourself for not reacting with the same idiotic display that the other person dumped on you.
And remember that the more you can appreciate the good traits in yourself (and other nice people) when you see them, the better your life will be over time.