Our thoughts and emotions are out of our control, our actions are not.
Have you ever paused to ask yourself what you really have control over? Has someone told you to “Just be happy!” or “Stop crying!” and you looked at them like you were crazy? Once they told you how to think or what to feel, more of what they weren’t asking happened, didn’t it? We look all over the world throughout our lives trying to find something permanent. Trying to hold on to the euphoria of being in love while avoiding all possible tears and fits of rage. But it doesn’t work like that, and the more we try to push something away, the more it screams for your attention.
Most of my childhood seemed to be spent sad or angry. Of course, there were happy moments, and I can remember lots. I am very grateful for all of my experiences, but this post is not for the happy memories. I was irritated at the world, I seemed to dislike everything that was happening. I remember being 2, sitting in a high-chair, consciously aware that I was going through the “no” phase. I literally had the thought “This is the no phase.” I still have no idea how I knew what the word “phase” was at the age of 2. Some of my angry childhood was directed at my parents for not understanding some of their rules or expectations, (I now understand and am very thankful. I can honestly say I harbor no resentment) while most of it was toward school.
Growing up with Asperger’s and not knowing it, ( I only learned of this a year or so ago) socializing was very difficult for me. I can remember one close friend who moved away in first grade, but I have no idea why we were friends. I was a bright, polite, (mostly) and creative child, but I never understood when or how much to talk. I knew raising my hand for it to be my turn, but I had a habit of speaking out of turn anyway. I made jokes to get attention, and after a while, everyone got annoyed with this. I jumped from social group to social group, never really having a solid foundation. I used to say that middle and high school sucked, but it really didn’t; my negative perspective made it harder than it really was.
What does this have to do with anger destroying me? I have learned in the past year that trying to control what I think about and what I feel is like trying to control other people: it does not and will not happen. Period. Sure, thoughts are something that we voluntarily and involuntarily do, but forcing emotions is out of the question. But how do you know that what you are choosing to think of is your choice? Where do these thoughts come from? These questions should be saved for another discussion. All we can focus on is how we behave, how we act, and it is imperative that we do not let any emotion run or ruin our lives.
The toxicity of anger and our hearts- everything you do affects your body.
I have noticed that some people in older generations (usually those “stuck in their ways”) have no desire to learn about how their minds, emotions, or body works. That is perfectly okay, your cup of tea does not have to be mine and vice versa; we are all different and unique, all entitled to take interest and spend time doing whatever we please. The issue I raise here with this is that unlike anything else, your body is your only forever. And somehow, somewhere inside of us, thoughts and emotions arise, and subsequently, how we respond to them determines the quality of our body, and thus our lives.
Do you know why we are alive, or how everything is connected? Neither do I, but my simplest answer is spirituality. Again, another story entirely, but that link is how my journey started. Psychologists have linked repressed and link here expressed anger to coronary heart disease, as well as raised blood pressure and heart attacks. This shows such work. So if these things can be caused by holding anger back and hiding it, as well as letting it out, where is the balance?
There are healthy ways to express all emotions, and each of us has to find what works best. Although what works for one may not for the next, there seems to be a general rule that taking a deep, slow breath (or 10) while angry or irritated can help tremendously. Pause, take a few seconds or minutes and just breathe. Don’t talk, don’t listen to the person or thing that is making you angry, ask them or yourself for a few minutes to breathe and relax. There is almost nothing that we are angry about that needs to be resolved right this second. If it does need to be resolved right now, are you really going to make the best decision with steam coming from your ears and blood vessels popping?
If you would like to learn more about how anger affects our bodies as well as our lives, check out this video by Jordan Peterson. It has brought a lot of clarity for me, as well as a forewarning: control my actions, especially when I am angry. He also does a great job of teaching his students how to embrace their shadow, something talked about by Jung. It is extremely important that we all are aware of our dark sides so that we can be better people. I wrote about embracing ourselves here.
How does anger affect my relationships? Stones left unturned cover something that will bite you.
Whether it be your parent, sibling, relative, spouse, friend or colleague, we all get angry. At each other, at the world, at the traffic and at the computer when it freezes during that “super important thing that had to be done right this second or life itself would end.” What happens when we get annoyed with each other and walk away without resolving the issue? I have noticed a lot in my family that when tensions are high, the person who is having the anger problem, walks away without trying to help the rest of us understand, or teach us how to fix the problem. Yes, I have been guilty of this too, and as I say this, there are stones of my own left unturned. But I am actively working towards resolving said issues.
Resentment and unsolved problems are a quick way to make it harder to get over your anger. I know several people who are mad at their parents for things they did to them as children, and their parents are all passed. These adults avoid letting these feelings out, get short-tempered when the subject is brought up, and refuse to deal with the issue. Some problems of the past may never be able resolved, especially if the loved one is no longer with us. But the way to solve the problem may be to just forgive yourself. We cannot decide or “fix” other people to our liking. All we can do is choose how we react, how we let events and emotions affect ourselves.
My girlfriend and I recently learned a good way for us to get through fights better while expressing ourselves fully and making sure that the other is heard. One of us goes, yells or says things we may not mean (and points this out as it happens), gets everything out. Then we pause, and the other goes. She usually goes first, and by the time it is my turn, she feels better and is laughing while I say ridiculous things. After I say (or shout) what I need to, she has me laughing along with her, and we move on. If a fight happens to occur in the morning, the rest of the day goes smoothly, even better than expected. Learning how to communicate (and it varies from person to person) is key. Find what works for you.
Along with causing heart problems, holding onto anger will ruin lives. We do things in fits of anger that we would never do otherwise. We let our anger control our actions, and in turn hurt others around us. Being angry is natural; how you respond to what angers you is up to you.
Anger is necessary, harness it to motivate yourself and live the life you are dreaming of.
When we get angry, it can be interpreted as unresolved emotional stress or blocked energy. If you can see the perspective of the karmic balance of the universe, or in the very least chakras, this may be easier to understand. Anger happens when we are not content with what is happening; the event or action of someone else does not align with our belief system. To deal with this, first, make sure you are very clear with what your own belief system is. The more narrow-minded we are, the more things we will get angry about. Ask anyone in my family about my tunnel vision.
Second, ask yourself if what you are angry about is something you can control. If you are angry with how you acted towards someone else, I suggest you say these words right away “I take responsibility for my actions, and I forgive myself.” Even if you do not fully mean or feel these things, doing this has helped me towards being at peace with my actions. If you are angry at what someone else is done, have they accepted their actions, and have you forgiven them? Regardless of who is angry or who is right (does it matter who is right, or what is right?), if both parties are not working towards being kinder as well as communicating better, move on to the next step.
If you are not working towards being more kind to others, what are you doing? Go back to the top of the page and reread the article. If the other person simply refuses to change themselves, refuses to compromise, you may have to distance or even separate yourself from this person. If they are your partner or family member, I suggest repeatedly exhausting every single option including backing off from giving them advice. If you really value the relationship, you may give them space, but abandonment will not help in the slightest. It is hard to “break-up” with your parents, sibling or spouse. But it is vital if they are toxic to your life. “Breaking up” with them does not mean abandoning them, it means doing what is right for you and making room for yourself to breathe.
If you are angry about something, and you can fix it, do something about it. If you are scared to do something about it, check this out, and if you are still scared after reading that, be patient with yourself. Remember that we are all human, and have all made our fair share of bad choices. But, your choices are your responsibility, and I am a firm believer that we all individually decide where our lives go.
If you found this article interesting, leave a comment, question, or story down below. I would love to hear how you all relate to this and would be happy to share more insight, as well as ask my own questions. Have a wonderful day!