I guess we have all been angry at times, and that’s ok, of course. But when the anger takes overhand and ticks you off on the smallest thing, something is wrong, and you might need to find a way to manage your anger.
Angry at things
Personally I used to be angry a lot. Not at other people, but mainly at my self, or rather, at ‘things’ I thought stood in my way. Like Microsoft. I hated Microsoft and the terrible operating system they had made that only caused me trouble. Or the public transport system in Oslo. I hated it for always being late and not informing the poor people waiting for the tram what was going on. Maybe these angers were legitimate, but still, they did nothing but ruin my day. But it was I who let them ruin my day. They don’t ruin my day any more, since I’ve learned to accept things as they are.
I could also have anger fits for forgetting my keys inside (even though the door wasn’t locked and I could just go and get them). Typical outbursts of anger came if I tried to fix something that somehow wouldn’t be fixed because of a stuck screw or something. Typical ‘gumption traps’ as the author of Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance calls them. But they didn’t only trap my gumption (my excitement), but could lead me into a raging anger fit, throwing the item in question into the wall. At least, if it was something expensive that would be ruined by this, I had that much senses left that I threw something else, like a pillow or a phone book. In any case, doing something that was difficult could easily tick me off and ruin my day. I definitely needed anger management at the time, even though I didn’t think so my self.
Actually, being angry gave me an adrenaline kick that I kind of liked. Somedays I could, more or less unconsciously, deliberately ‘forget’ my keys, stub my knee, miss the bus and hit my head in the car door so that I could have a raging fit inside the car where no one could hear me. It was a kick of adrenaline that I (unconsciously) needed. I was probably addicted. Actually, researches today say that being addicted to your own feelings (and thus, anger) is totally possible. Since feelings are in a large degree a result of different chemicals produced by your own body, being addicted to those chemicals is no different than being addicted to chemicals you take in from the outside. So, I was probably addicted to the chemicals my anger produced. I also had a mother that was a follower of ‘free upbringing’, meaning that she didn’t stop me when I had fits as a child. She believed that one needs to ‘get the feelings out’. I totally agree that holding on to difficult feelings will produce harmful effects in your body and mind. But there are other ways to let your feelings out than having a raging fit.
One way is to not get the angry feelings at all, which I certainly think is the best way. This is a lot easier then trying to control any anger that builds up. Of course, in the beginning, one might need ways to control the anger, but eventually one will find that the easiest way is to not get angry at all. There are two things that to me was very important in this respect. One was motivation. I actually needed a reason to not get angry, since to me, the anger gave me a kick that in a way felt positive. The other one was accepting things as they are. When one accept everything as it is, there’s really nothing to get angry about. Still accepting doesn’t mean one can’t change things. Not by far. And actually, accepting makes it easier to change whatever one wants to change. ‘What you resist, persists’, is a saying, and it’s true.
The more one does not accept reality, the more of what you don’t accept will be given to you. The reason is that you get more of what you focus on. So, being terrible angry about something is you focussing really hard on that particular thing. This is the same as saying to the universe; ‘please give me more of this, i love it!’. While, just accepting whatever is there, makes it easier for you to focus on something else, the things that you want to be there. So, acceptance is one of the most important things in you life. Both to manage your anger and to actually change whatever you want to change.
To me my motivation to stop being so angry all the time (of course, I wasn’t angry all the time, but you know what I mean) came through Kabbalah, if you’ve heard about that. I actually got interested in Kabbalah though Madonna, believe it or not. I’ve always had respect for Madonna as an artist and business woman, and when I read an article in a newspaper that she was into Kabbalah, I had to find out what that was. After all, I thought Madonna had ‘half a brain’, and didn’t just jump on to anything. It turned out that Kabbalah was a 5000 year old orally transmitted body of information about ‘the whole universe’, that now had been written down in many different writings. As I read, i found a lot of different information that I felt I could relate to. When it came to anger, it was the Kabbalah ‘formula’ that helped me feel motivated towards managing my anger. It made me see that the more I controlled my anger, the more Light, Love and Happiness I would get in my life. This didn’t sound too bad. I could always need more of that.
The formula has four steps;
1. You meet an obstacle.
2. Realize that it is your reaction to the obstacle that is your real enemy, not the obstacle itself.
3. Restrain your reaction, don’t let it control you, and let the Light, Love and Happiness in.
4. Now let the Light shine out, and express your proactive nature.
Hm…. When I read this the first time, it was something I had to try. And, of course, it didn’t take long before I got an occasion to try it. In addition to the formula, Kabbalah actually says that if one restrains ones own negative reactions, one will get more Light in one’s life, because this Light (Love, Happiness, Peace…) is our true nature. It is only clouded by our anger and negative reactions to things.
Trying it out
So, I tried it, and, it actually worked. For example, when sitting in front of the computer being confronted with something that didn’t work or went wrong, instead for having a fit, I just sat there, maybe counting to ten, restraining my anger. And low and behold, a solution came right out of the blue! I found out that becoming angry only delayed the solution to my problem. Simply accepting what was there, not judging it one way or another, made the universe/my unconscious mind come up with the solution much sooner! And, following this formula in all aspects of my life has really turned it upside down.
Things does look brighter. They have to! Because when I have a bright and peaceful mind full of Light, Love and Happiness, the world has no choice than to reflect that. What’s funny is that the same things that look gloomy when I’m angry or in a bad mood, they shine when I’m in a good mood! The reason for this is that it is really us that is creating our lives and how they shall be. So, the more you restrain yourself from reacting to obstacles in your life, the more Light, Love and Happiness you will get in your life. This is how it is, and I speak from experience. So don’t worry, and be happy. A very simple rule, but it’s true.