“The one thing you can’t take away from me is the way I choose to respond to what you do to me. The last of one’s freedoms is to choose one’s attitude in any given circumstance.” Victor E Frankl
Anger and Bargaining
When we are faced with the confidence sapping uncertainty, when self-doubt springs from an unknown source, its birth cannot always be blamed on either the situation at hand or our teachers. There are more things at play within us. So, when we react with anger, when retaliation uncoils as our response, it is useful to look to other causes.
Identifying the root causes of our emotions is complex – certainly the science isn’t well understood. Why are certain traits/behaviours/emotional tendencies transferred through the generations and why does trauma in one generation poke its head up in one sibling, but not another?
The immutable fact, however, is that we as individuals, ultimately have the capacity to unwind the trauma, disengage from its epigenetic grip, choose our own course to freedom from the missteps of the past.
As Victor Frankl said in his wonderful book, Man’s Search for Meaning:
“Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.”
It’s a sort of bargain, a conversation we all need to have with the past, but with a firm view of the future. It’s an imperative for us all – to understand the impact of suffering on the people who gave our generation a chance, be the distress a result of war, famine, discrimination, persecution, and there has been plenty – to recognise the source, neutralise its impact, and move to a balanced view of our place in the world and the world’s impact on us.
Bargain with the past to ensure a resilient future.
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