I attended a meeting last week that was on anger. I was almost the last one to say anything and the meeting was large so I had a long time to think about myself and anger while I listened to everyone else. I love trying to boil everything down to just a few words because it's so much easier to remember. I came up with kind of a mental list of things that I either used to get angry about or still do get angry about.
1. I think people should know what I want (and follow my rules because my rules are the right ones) and if they're not, it's because they don't care about me or are just bad, lazy people who need to be set right!!! (Actually, the best solution for this one is to understand that lots of people - almost everybody, in fact - has different rules than I do and they believe theirs are the only right ones. Setting people right has never worked. They get mad and feel criticized which usually means they keep doing what I don't want them to do just for spite or to show they can. On the other hand, if I ask gently, politely and without a hint of criticism - "It would be wonderful if you could or would_______)" sometimes they will actually do what I want. If they don't, my best bet for peace of mind is to blow it off unless it's truly life or death.)
2. Somebody is doing something that hurts someone I love. I am a big rescuer. In this case I usually react as if the person I love is in a burning building. I rush to the rescue. Sometimes this is insulting because they think they can rescue themselves - and that's usually true. Sometimes they don't believe they're in a burning building at all - and maybe they're not. But in either case, they truly don't want to be rescued. Can't rescue somebody that doesn't want to be.
3. People out in the world are doing things that I think are terrible and wrong. I used to get mad when I watched the news. Sometimes I still do. Even though what those people are doing doesn't actually affect me, I can still get mad. If I think it affects me - well, then I can really give myself permission to throw a fit!!. Only thing is unless I can do something about it, there's no purpose in expending all that energy and mental pain. Blowing it off is best. However, often there is something I can do about it, if nothing else by writing to my legislators or the newspaper. I usually would rather just get mad than go to all that trouble. So I've started writing letters. I've noticed that I get all upset around natural disasters because it's the one thing we know is going to happen, but everyone acts all shocked and it takes forever for the folks who are supposed to know what to do to do anything. I think I'm going to write up what I think should be done in the case of natural disasters and send it off to FEMA, the Red Cross and anyplace else I can think of. Of course I have no idea whether I actually know what should be done or not.
Those are all the reasons I could think of as to why I get angry - just three things/situations. Usually what precedes the anger is the feeling of powerlessness. A long time ago when my youngest two kids were in a bad situation and I felt powerless to change it, I called a wise lady who said to get down on my knees and ask God to show me what I could do that day to make their situation better. Guess what?! That works. Every day I came up with something to do that made it better and eventually made it a whole lot better. I am never really totally powerless. I just imagine I am.
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