Monday, March 30, 2015

Justine's Journal #32

52 Weeks 500 Words

This is how it began: Justine (not her real name) decided to write 500 words (or as near as), anything goes, per week for 52 weeks. She would then submit it for anonymous posting, via me, her friend. Perhaps a pattern will emerge from her words, but at this stage it’s more an experiment I have agreed to share in. I’ll attempt to draw conclusions at the end of this. Stay tuned if this resonates with you.

Week 32

"The concept anger, that’s what I’d like to address this week.

We all know it well. That feeling of frustration/helplessness/aggression/thoughtlessness which is - when you add them all together - anger. Of course there are more emotions involved than the four lumped together here, but you get the idea.

Unusually anger is sparked by the frustration of helplessness. This is when you want something to work so badly and yet you cannot change it, you have not the power, the power is elsewhere. Those frustrated feelings then result in aggression, for now you need to express how you feel in some overt way, and aggression becomes thoughtlessness. You start feeding those flames so much you no longer give thought to what you’re saying, doing, or who you may be hurting.

We think we feel better having released the demons of frustration, but in fact the aftermath can be far worse. Soon we realise we hurt someone or we broke something or we went too far in some way … and there is no undoing it. Fixing, trust me, isn't undoing.

Anger harms the angry the most, in my opinion. Not only is there the aftermath, but there is an inner disappointment. You lost control. You didn't think first. You were impatient. You were, in fact, selfish, wanting something to go exactly according to your demands, or someone to react exactly as you expect them to. So you allowed anger to take root and it solved exactly nothing.

There is much advice about what to do when an angry person confronts you or you need to deal with someone in the grip of it. Do not add fuel to the fire by arguing with them. Walk away, an angry person cannot fight with him or herself. Some say, listen, and wait out the tirade, and then offer logical solutions. This may take a while, for a listener is a great scapegoat for an angry person.

The advice above is for the witness, however.

What about you, me, him or her, the one growing angrier by the second?

What advice can we offer ourselves to prevent it? Take a deep breath, they say. Think first, they say. Walk away, change your environment in some small way to distract you. Have a drink of water, your mouth will be too busy to speak, and therefore you grab time to calm down.

All of the above have merit, but we are only human and we cannot always control our aggressive sides. I say use what works for you, try one tip, then another, until you find the one that makes you stop long enough to choose another manner of expression. But remember this – we ARE human and we make mistakes and fail in our intentions even when we try to do the best we can. So don’t beat yourself up after, apologise if you need to, and try the next tip … or come up with something that works.

One last point. Anger is a valid emotion, but how we deal with it makes all the difference. Allowing anger to rule us is not good for anybody."

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