We were shocked to find Liam Neeson trending this week for his controversial comments in an interview with The Independent. When describing how he felt after he found out that someone close to him and been raped by a black man, he said he headed to the streets hoping a black man would start on him so that he could kill him. He eventually came to his senses thinking, “What the f*ck are you doing?”. Now he is ashamed of this “awful” behaviour and said he has learnt a lesson from it. His comments came as he talked about film roles about revenge saying that he understands “that need for revenge, but it just leads to more revenge”.
The world was shocked by his disclosure and sparked fury in the black community and on Twitter, which is understandable. Many felt his comments were racist. But Liam is only human, and in admitting how he felt at the time and being honest it highlights an important lesson, as one person on Twitter pointed out.
Liam Neeson had a terrible impulse that he didn't act on, that he knows was terrible, and that he learned from. If we're going to cancel people for being TEMPTED to do wrong, or for struggling with something before coming to the right conclusion ... well, we're going to be busy.— Eric D. Snider (@EricDSnider) February 4, 2019
His confession highlights that we all have primal instincts and impulses. He talks about growing up in the Troubles in Ireland where violence begat violence and that for part of him it was a natural reaction to what that revenge. He knew it was wrong, but something connected deep inside him, a primal urge to protect those around you. It’s true that the urge that Liam Neeson revealed is the most extreme urge, but we all have them – whether its anger problems or addiction such as drug or drink. Sometimes they come from mental habits and reactions. The urge to react as we have in the past, to lash out in anger or live out the most childish side of our personality rather than the mature adult we are. But reacting the way we always have just leaves us with the same problems.
There are five stratgeies we can use to avoid giving into these urges, whatever your vice.
Rather than giving in to the urge or craving, give it time. Take a breather. Even if the anger is still there, you may be better able to handle it if you wait 5 or 10 minutes.
Escape The Situation
Remove yourself from the situation that is triggering you. Leave the argument and take a pause, or leave the house for a little bit till things have calmed down.
This is an especially good tool for people with addictions. If there are places where you are used to drinking then avoiding visiting them as they may be triggering. If you end up in the situation anyway, there is always the escape option!
Get busy! Take control and dont just sit and stew. Whether its watching tv, exercise or just taking a shower these things can be used to distract yourself from obsessing.
Substitute The Behaviour
If you have anger issues, substitute your anger with a walk. If its cigarettes, eat a piece of fruit when you get a craving. Make sure whatever you substitute in is something that is easily achievable, and over time it will replace the bad habit.
Habits can be hard to beat, but they are 100% beatable. Ex-footballer John Barnes has come out in support of Liam Neeson, applauding him for his honesty.
“As much as people are now jumping on this bandwagon of how terrible this is, what he’s done is he’s come out and he’s told the truth.”
Liam Neeson was honest about his past behaviour. He could have kept it hidden, but he chose to reveal it even though he is disgusted and ashamed of his thoughts and actions. His revelation shows us that no matter how ashamed you are, learning and growing from your mistakes and changing your habits is possible.