Negative Feelings Exercise by Fr. Anthony DeMello, S.J.

From the book “Awareness” by Fr. Anthony DeMello, S.J.:

“First get in touch with yourself for a few seconds and become aware of your presence in the room and become aware of the kind of thoughts that are going on within you.

Think of somebody you’re living with or working with whom you do not like – who causes negative feelings to arise within you. Now let’s help you understand that. To understand what’s going on – first understand that the negative feeling is within you. What you understand will change.

You are responsible for the negative feeling. Not the other person. Somebody else in your place would be perfectly calm and at easy, in the presence of this person. Can you get in touch with that? Now say to this person, “I have no right to make any demand on you.” As you say that you drop your expectation – “I have no right to make any demand on you.”

I’ll protect myself from the consequences of your actions, moods, or whatever – but you can go on right ahead and be what you choose to be!

See what happens when you do this – And if there’s a resistance to saying that – my how much you’ll discover about yourself.

Let the dictator come out the tyrant too! You thought you were such a little lamb did you. I’m a tyrant – I want to run your life. I want you be what I expect you to be. Expect you to behave the way I want you to behave–and you better behave that way or else. Or I shall punish myself by having negative feelings. That sounds so wise doesn’t it?

PS: Fr. DeMello also has this to say about someone who feels they’ve been let down by someone else:

“Come off it, you never trust anyone, you simply trust your judgment about that person. Most people look to the other person and say, “how could you let me down” when the truth is they don’t want to say to themselves, “My judgment was lousy!”

Bye for now.

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