Question: I am having problems with my expectations of people and feeling disappointed when they do not act in the way I think they should towards me. Currently I’m experiencing a lot of anger with a person I considered such a good friend who I feel is manipulating me and causing a situation to be much worse. I have been doing my best not to go to these angry places, but is there an acceptable place for anger and disagreement with friends?

Answer: Disagreement with others is a naturally occurring condition and not to be avoided simply because it causes anger in us or some other negative reaction. On the other hand, anger and negative reactions toward others always arise within us from some unconscious expectation or demand we carry about that person. Our pain is that what we are identified with — how they should treat us and what that makes us — gets thwarted. Negative states such as anger are destructive not only to the nature that embraces them, but are counterproductive to our wish to be in agreement with one another. If we could see how poisoning and punishing anger and other aggravated states of self are, we would never have to ask if they’re acceptable for us… any more than we would ask if it’s good for us to jump off a cliff!

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