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10 Ways To Forgive The Person You Want To Kill

Recently by James Altucher: Falling in Love for the First Time

I know exactly what I’m going to do. Don’t tell anyone. I’m going to put on a ski mask, find where they live in Brooklyn, show up at their door when they leave for work about six in the morning, and hit them with a baseball bat. I might not even wear a ski mask. I want the person to know it’s me.

And what did this person do to me? In this particular case, something small. Not even worth talking about. He blocked an opportunity for me that I no longer care about. But still, he did it. He did it to hurt me. And now I’m angry.

It’s not like other people in Brooklyn. People who maybe aborted my baby. Or people who fired me from a job. Or people who wrote articles slandering me. I barely think of them. It was nothing like that.

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What a waste of time, this anger thing is. It inserts itself into the oddest moments. It turns daydreams into nightmares. It turns nightmares into waking up in the middle of the night, heavy breathing, sweating, an erection.

And that’s this one person. What about the other people. “I did this, this, and this for him, and now he won’t even do X, Y, or Z for me.” I can sit here all day long with that. What a waste that would be. I can make a big list. I can be angry all the time if I want.

There’s my favorite Zen story: two monks by the river. A prostitute trying to cross. One of the monks carries her across, sets her down, then the two monks keep on going. The monk who didn’t carry her gets more and more agitated. Finally, “why did you do that? You know we are not supposed to even touch women like that!”

And the monk who carried her said, “I left her by the river. Why are you still carrying her?”

That’s the secret of productivity and forgiveness. To always think, why am I still carrying her?

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But to elaborate further (like I do), I’m a strong believer in several methods of forgiveness.

A) Taking a break. I’m upset RIGHT NOW. So take a timeout. “I’m going to think about this later when I’m maybe more rational.” i.e. not three in the morning, waking up from a dream about a baseball bat. Blood all over my midnight hands.

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Always think of the exact moment you schedule for yourself. 3PM today I will think about it. Then see what happens then.

B) Understanding. In the incident I’m thinking of this morning I know why the person is upset at me and did the things he did. I went on two dates with his wife long before he even knew her. So even though I’ve never done anything to him, he has some anger towards me. There’s nothing I can do about it. He feels he is the victim. But I don’t have to be a victim.

C) The Alien Technique. I like to wake up pretending I’m an alien. My mission from the mother galaxy is to land in random bodies across the Universe and figure out where I am and solve their problems. Today I woke up in this body. Odd, I feel anger about something.

I explore it in my body. Oh, it’s nothing. Better to focus on getting this body in shape, happy, productive. I have 24 hours in this body. Who is this beautiful woman lying next to me. What food can I eat today? What’s the best things I can do with it. Clearly the wrongs I suffered in the past are not worth spending time on. I’m an alien only here for 24 hours after all.