Just as I was getting "back-on-my-feet" as a recovering-Mormon, I was diagnosed with a debilitating psychological disease (schizoaffective disorder). I had to abandon my graduate work and dream of being a Phd history teacher. The disorder (along with the nature of the powerful drugs I take to mitigate the disease) make holding down a steady career impossible.
It was Buddhism that gave me hope. Here was a spiritual path that didn't do missionary work, or demand absolute loyalty. A path that gave me concrete exercises, practices and methods that I could implement to actually get results, and turn hope into reality.
Christianity wasn't helping me anymore--just pray, they said. I don't know about you but I need something more practical than prayer. I need results. I know, radical idea, huh? You don't just pray when you get sick and hope that you'll win the "spiritual lottery" and have the Almighty Man in the Sky miraculously heal you. No, you want results, so you go to the doctor. That's what Buddhism is for me--the doctor that gives you exercises to do to improve your healthy--both mental and physical health. But, anger is still a thorn in my brain sometimes.
It's difficult to experience so much abuse from others and not let it anger you. It's hard to forgive when people do you wrong because instinctively my initial thought is that to do so would mean opening myself back-up to be hurt by them again. But, doing so is actually the worst thing I could have done because it prolonges the pain. I'll use the Thich Nhat Hanh analogy of picking up a hot-coal (anger or hatred) to throw at your enemy to get revenge.
Well, of course, as soon as you pick up the hot-coal (become angry or vengeful) it burns you before you to hurt your "enemy" with it and you quickly drop it out of pain. Meanwhile, the person who wronged you is untouched, and you're the one left with an even greater, deeper, throbbing-pain. No one gets hurt by our anger except ourselves. Buddhism helped me realize that by not forgiving others, I was giving them control over my peace and happiness. I had inadvertently tied my mental and emotional stability to the whims of their egos. I had surrendered my sense of happiness to, ironically, the very people that had hurt me initially!!
Forgiving is as much about our happiness as anything else.
I still struggle with my anger and annoyances but it's nice to have some tools and exercises to help get me back on track when I slide-back into old habits.
~i bow to the buddha within you~