empathy

Empathy is my emotional miracle drug. Correctly applied, it can resolve almost any external conflict I find myself in, and many internal ones as well (most of which, if I think about it, have their genesis in some external source, anyway).

It's the ultimate injection of fresh perspective. Slip out of your own shoes and into another's, and suddenly it's a lot harder to be angry with them.

Sometimes it takes imagination. It can be difficult to generate compassion for someone that I don't like, or whom I feel has hurt me. But if I make the effort to truly understand what life is probably like for that person, based on what I know of his or her daily challenges, I find my own negativity toward them suddenly feels cheap, ugly, and unfair. And once I'm forced to face that, I've essentially shamed myself out of my right to those negative emotions. Take it easy on so-and-so, Ellie. It's probably a lot harder to be him/her than you realize. 

Then poof! Gone are the negative vibes, clearing a space in my head for, well, anything better.

It's a pretty handy little trick. I just wish I remembered to use it more often.