On Conflicts, Grudges, Anger, and Spirituality
Article ID: 8858
Age Group: Adult
Days Up: 3,485
Times Read: 5,102
Author: Lady Gwyn
Posted: January 9th. 2005
Times Viewed: 5,102
Many things happen in our lives that denote change. A common example is just a disagreement between people. Another is a relationship ending and a new one beginning. No matter what the conflicting situation, anger is a common emotion. It is easy to conjure and slow to dispel. It usually stems from a condition of pride that has been injured and our perception of what "someone else did to hurt me." Many times, this is the case: someone did set out to hurt feelings, or meddle in a positive situation for someone, usually because of their own insecurities about themselves. Sometimes it is just the situation we've put ourselves in and haven't taken responsibility for our own actions. All humans are guilty of both of the above situations, even if just a minor occurrence.
One of the best things about Paganism is that you do have a choice. Even when the situation involves the law, you do still have a choice - either follow the law or not. It's your choice, based on what results you want. When it comes to our spirituality, we have a choice. We can be casual about it, knowing it will always be there when needed, or we can actively stay connected to deity through words and actions, showing reverence and love towards the entity you believe has given you this life to live. Again, depending on the results you want with your life, you make a choice.
I have a term that I use to describe our display of emotions and rash actions to those emotions that stem from a conflicting situation. I call it the "human condition." This is separate from our spiritual life, in the way that we, as humans, tend to completely ignore our spirituality when we feel we have been wronged by another human being. All the lessons, studying, faith and beliefs tend to fly right out the door when emotions start running hot. We are right and no one is going to tell us that we aren't. We are in control of our lives and no one can tell us how to live it. I love that person and his or her actions hurt me all the time, so I'm going to act out and make them stop, or I'm going to do something to hurt them back.
This is where our lessons, studying, faith and beliefs need to rule US. Our convictions and faith in any religion, especially in Paganism, should be the foundation of our soul. These guidelines in our faith are to help us live through these situations in our lives. And there are others out there that can share or help with the burden, but your deity is not going to put these people in a position to help you, unless you take the time to honor and love the one who allows you to have these strengths and put faith in a being that is higher, stronger, wiser, and smarter than you are.
Our lives are not the Jerry Springer show and our paths will be crossing from time to time - letting go of a grudge, asking forgiveness of that person or even forgiving yourself will enrich you and help you tackle the intersection you are struggling to get through.
Here is a suggested sequence of events to participate in to get through anger or a potentially explosive situation.
- Stop the words from coming out of your mouth before you say something that will make the situation worse.
- Let that person know that they hurt you and tell them you need time to find out how and why it hurts so you can discuss it with a level head later on. Let that person know that you do value their friendship (this is why you feel so hurt - because you care how they treat you and how you treat them) and because of that you need this time and hope they will do the same. This is when you don't let your emotions get the best of you.
- Find a healthy way to express the anger or hurt away from that person.
- DON'T become an emotional vampire - enlisting other's emotions and offers of friendships to drag into your situation. If you need some emotional help, the place to turn is a spiritual counselor, a clergy member, or your deity. Healing has to happen here for everyone; sucking energy from others will harm them.
- Meditate and ask your deity to help you find a way to work through the problem and let go of the anger. Open up and allow deity to flow through your soul. This is also a time to question your motives and explore whether there may have been something you did or said that caused the other person to react the way they did. Accepting fault in ourselves opens the road to change and growth.
- Give it TIME - the answers may come to you soon or it may take months...no matter how much time passes, all parties involved will have time to let go of anger. Time does heal all wounds, but don't think that your absence will make you grow apart as friends and that it is irreparable. If that person was truly a friend, it will all work out, no matter how long it takes.
- When you've received an answer and feel ready, approach that person and let them know the growth you've attained through the experience and that you would like to get together to see if the friendship can be salvaged. If they aren't able or willing to do so, then you have a decision to make and probably some sadness to get through, as well. It is all part of change in your life and you have to learn from it, as well as find a positive way to work around it. If they are no longer a friend, you'll need to find ways to keep this new hurt of rejection from allowing an outburst, as well. Hateful feelings will only serve to hurt you. Use it as a learning experience. Recognize that their unwillingness to be cordial is their problem, not yours.
- Always be kind and cordial to that person in the future. Never bring up the problem or conflict in current disagreements. It should be water under the bridge as far as you are concerned. You should have a much better opinion of yourself than to be rude to anyone, even if they haven't been so nice to you. Who knows? Your open and outward actions that prove that you are refusing to hold animosity towards them might just make them realize how silly it all was and patch up the friendship in the long run. If not, then it is their loss, not yours.
- Know that you have your priorities straight and hold hope for that person to let go of the grudge and have a positive learning experience from it someday. (Even if you just hope it once, you've shown yourself that you can let go of the anger.)
Always remember that it is OKAY to be angry, it is the way you deal with it that makes all the difference on your path. The above steps work and they are steps that follow a Pagan guideline of belief and faith. Acting out and having a desire to "get back" at another for the hurt they have caused, whether it is a break up in a relationship or a deliberate action to hurt you, will only prove to them that you want to stoop down to their level and continue engaging in emotions that can have an end result of destruction.
Here are some examples of unacceptable expressions of anger:
These are just a few of the examples that I've been a part of or have observed, mostly during my first and second marriages and divorces, some in the more recent past.
- Writing them a nasty letter and sending it to them (write one if you have to, but discard it without sending) .
- Talking badly about them to others.
- Telling their parents how rotten they were. (When did they get involved in the conflict? They don't need to know.)
- Making it the responsibility of all your common friends to know every little detail.
- Being an emotional vampire to others to make you feel better. You only want to draw energy and strength from someone who is willing and able to give it; taking it from someone is harmful and will only be harmful to you. In either situation, it is borrowed strength and does not come from you and your connections with your deity. True healing strength is what comes from within, given to you explicitly as a blessing and gift to signify growth.
- Trying to destroy the other person's friendships.
- Trying to fix other people's problems and ignoring your own.
When working in a job or career, we run into all kinds of people that we may not get along with, but we have to work with anyway, so learning how to incorporate your faith and beliefs into your daily relationships can only help, not hinder.
When Pagans in a group situation have a common goal, but have a hard time working together because of current or past conflicts, it is time for those people involved to make some hard decisions in their lives.
Here are some questions to ponder when making a decision on how or whether to work with that person in the future:
There are some members in all groups whose lives have "gotten in the way, " so to speak. Relationships have blossomed, friendships have fallen apart. Close friendships have endured, and some relationships have not. First and foremost, for a group to be successful in its combined efforts, everyone should be comfortable and trustful with others in the group. That is a given. Somehow this can always be achieved. Sometimes it takes a tremendous amount of self-control, forgiveness and simply moving on with life. One thing we know about being Pagan is that change is inevitable. Things will change. As a Pagan, we must go with the flow and find the best way to work with the change - alter plans, find another way, etc. And more often than not, change given to us is the proverbial crossroads in which you will find a spiritual growth spurt - all part of creation's plan to teach us a lesson. I know I've been smacked upside the head numerous times by my deity and told to grow up!
- What is my priority in wanting to work on this interest? Is it my spirituality, my relationship with the people involved, or just a way to feel like I belong?
- Do I want to continue holding myself back by holding a grudge?
- How do I work through these feelings?
- Do I want to work through these feelings?
- Can I work with this person without bringing up the past conflicts when we have a difference of opinion on a current project?
- Can I compromise?
- In what ways can I compromise?
- Is my spirituality important enough to me to get past all this and move forward?
- Have I gotten past the problem and can I be sociable or friendly with this person?
- If I haven't gotten past this yet, is it important enough for me to find something else to be involved in? Is there a different project that that person is not working on that I can do instead?
- Can I change the situation? If not, what can I do to make this a positive experience for me and make the right decision?
The human condition likes to get in the way a lot and conflicts between people will arise. This is the point where you need to make a decision. And it is your decision to make. The purpose of the group is to move forward with goals and work together. If for any reason you find it impossible to work with a particular member there are some decisions that you have to make. Priorities will need to be straightened out and your spirituality needs to come into play.
It will not be the group's role to straighten out a situation. Boundaries and rules have been set up for the group to be successful and those boundaries and rules must be respected. It is your decision whether or not to follow them, it is your responsibility to act like an adult and decide what the outcome will be.
As you know, emotions are not bad, and you do have a right to feel a certain way, but holding onto something negative can only breed negativity. As a Pagan, you deserve much better than that. Make it happen.
With Love, Peace, and Goddess' Fondest Blessings!
Rev. Lady Gwenolyn Fae
Location: Spring Hill, Florida
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