Okay you’re pissed. And you’re trying really hard to not react, lose your cool, or overdramatize the situation.
I could give you some gentle Buddha quotes to ease your temperament, but I doubt they’d help right now. A punching bag would probably be more useful. Or maybe some kitten therapy.
If it makes you feel any better, you’re not the only person that feels angry. It seems that anger is a staple of this American life and it’s reliably on the rise.
Esquire and NBC put out an interesting sociopolitical study and found that 68% of their audience reads or hears something on the news that makes them angry at least once per day. They go on with percentages relative to race, religion, and political affiliation – interesting, but to be taken with a grain of salt as always.
With all the happenings in this world and all the negative emotion they stir, it’s easy to see why we’re all on edge, ready to snap at each other over spilt milk.
But anger doesn’t make us feel good, and we know that being angry does nothing useful for ourselves or the rest of the world.
(I can’t help myself. I love Buddha quotes.)
Why you’re so angry
You’re angry because people didn’t do what you expected them to do. And as you know, expectation is the number one killer of all relationships.
You’re also angry because you couldn’t control the situation. Even if you don’t tag yourself as a control freak, you are a human. And that means that you have gremlins inside you that wish to control your environment, including other people. And you know very well that in order to control your anger you must let go of the need to control everything.
We get angry when things don’t go our way. Just like toddlers. But we’re not children – we’re grown ass people responsible for our own feelings and happiness. And that means we can’t have temper tantrums and whine our way out of things.
Since we can’t control our circumstances or other people, we do whatever we can to satisfy our need for importance. We need to know that our feelings matter and so we find other ways to satisfy the gremlins.
Anger makes you feel powerful
Since anger can’t *poof* the situation into what we want it to be, we turn toward empowerment. We allow our anger to be our authority.
See, our need for control is essentially a power struggle with the rest of the world. Our gremlins want us to be in control of everything internal and external. And when we aren’t in control, our gremlins feel threatened, as if someone or something is trying to take away our power.
But superiority is an illusion. We’ll never have it. Which just perpetuates our anger.
So we choose to hold steadfast onto this notion that a display of anger instills power, fear, authority over circumstance and people. And when someone pisses us off, we choose anger as our weapon in a desperate attempt to salvage our self-worth.
Yet we quickly find that anger isn’t worth much at all.
The most powerful thing you can do
When someone pisses you off, expressing anger will not prove your superiority. It will only leave you powerless to the situation and cast you into a deep hole of self-loathing.
But I know something you can do. Something that will make you the most powerful person in your life.
Wanna hear it?
Ok, here it is.
This is the most powerful thing you can do when someone pisses you off:
Don’t think about that person.
Don’t let that person occupy any real estate in your mind.
Don’t allow that person to occupy a vacancy in your thought stream.
Don’t keep that person alive and real in your life.
Mentally let that person go.
We say that deceased people “live on” when we remember them. We visit graves, we play their favorite song, we look at a photo of them.
But they are not alive physically. Their body no longer exists on the earth in the same form as when we knew them. Regardless of our belief of what happens to people when they die, they remain part of our reality simply because we think of them.
Same goes for the living.
Whenever we think of a person, we keep that person alive in our minds.
Therefore, if the presence of someone is weighing on you, release that person from your thoughts. Then they’ll no longer be present.
To be clear, you’re not killing anyone
Okay, just to be very clear to my more literal readers, I’m not suggesting that we kill people in our thoughts.
I repeat: I am not suggesting, insinuating, recommending, or anything else thereof, that we kill people in our thoughts or think about killing people.
Phew, I think that was a decent enough disclaimer…
Not thinking of someone releases the control their presence has on our thoughts. And if they aren’t physically present in front of us, then they aren’t actually present at all.
Maybe this is getting too deep, too abstract. I’ll back up.
When you allow someone to occupy your mind, you run the risk of victimizing yourself to their words and actions instead of taking responsibility for yourself. You run the risk of letting that person control the way you feel instead of controlling your feelings yourself.
By releasing someone from thought, forbidding them from occupying your precious mental real estate, you make a conscious choice to block any related incoming or outgoing negativity. You essentially take a leadership role in your life and prevent your circumstances from disturbing your inner peace and self-worth.
Think about how you typically react when you feel angry.
Is your reaction productive? rational? worth feeling that way?
Take some time to really think about how you react whenever something doesn’t go your way. Think about past times when you became angry and didn’t handle yourself well. Then think about times when you became angry or dissatisfied and did handle yourself well.
Think about how you felt in each situation and what you could have done differently. Think about what worked and what you should continue doing.
And above all, think about anger in general and what it means to harbor it.
Think about where anger comes from, where it’s rooted, and why it grows.
And whenever you find yourself getting heated up, don’t think of anything at all.