Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Anger Management

"Get mad, then get over it."
~Colin Powell

If only that were easy. Forgive and forget, right? But how do we accomplish that divine ability to take a deep breath and, well, let it go?

It's a struggle.

I can really hold a grudge.

I haven't forgiven a boss from years ago who was so dishonest it made me quit. Or a co-worker who betrayed me so horribly I had to walk away.

I haven't forgotten certain family members that turned against me during my divorce, believing I was wrong, and later coming to see the horrible person I was getting away from.

And, of course, there is that said person. Every month when he proves where his children are in his priorities I have to fight my anger. I often write long emails that I never send. I have learned to bite my tongue and know that my kids will always feel loved and wanted here.

The hardest one at the moment are those kids. I get angry at my one son for not trying harder in school (I mean he's REALLY not trying). Or my other son for deciding his teenage girlfriend's family is more important than ours to the extent if someday they get married he should probably take her name.

So how to unknot the stomach and redefine emotions? How can you get to that inner peace where you can look back on people's mistakes or failures and not feel that same sick feeling of hurt and anger?

I'm very much trying.

Mark Twain said, "When angry, count four. When very angry, swear."

True enough. Sometimes anger is needed, necessary, cathartic even. As John Green wrote in The Fault in Our Stars, "Pain demands to be felt." If you stifle pain, anger, disappointment, you may quickly either implode or explode leaving yourself and possibly others as casualties.

I think the trick is to deal with it as it happens. Address it right away and move on. Not something I'm very good at, thus the lingering occasional stomach knot.

But I'm going to try and do better. Be bolder and braver when the time comes to discuss my disappointment. I'm a natural "keep it in" and "don't make waves" kind of person. But maybe from now on a few surfing days are in order.

"Speak when you are angry and you will make the best speech you will ever regret."
~Ambrose Bierce

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