The story goes …
The Buddha Gautama (563 – 483 BC) was sitting with a group of people. He was teaching. As a group they were discussing, learning and helping each other spiritually.
Off to the side, there was a bystander.
At one stage, Buddha found himself on the receiving end of a massive outburst of anger from the bystander who - for some reason - was really angry.
The Buddha listened patiently while this stranger vented his anger.
Buddha then turned to the group and asked: “If someone gives a gift to another person who then chooses to decline it, who owns the gift? The giver or the person who refused to accept the gift?”
After awhile, the group says, “the giver”.
“Then it follows that if a person chose to unload their anger on us, we can choose to decline or accept the anger. We can choose whether to make the anger ours or not. By our personal response to the anger from another, we can choose who owns and keeps the bad feelings.”
Let's fast forward to now.
At times you will – probably – be on the receiving end of someone else’s anger …. From your children, partner, neighbour, family, friends, work mates etc… At some point in the future, it’s likely you will be in the presence of negative behaviour towards you, or even simply around you.
As the Buddha explains … you will always have the freedom to choose how you respond to that anger.
You can choose whether you accept the anger or decline it and let it sit with the person who is angry.
You have the freedom to choose how you respond to the anger and the negativity around you.