Why do we get angry? I have two main catalysts for anger- frustration and fear. The two big f words can lead to another f word. I generally have given up getting angry at other drivers or politicians. Many of my frustrations come from the wonderful world of technology. I have used some form of a computer for over 30 years, yet I am not tech savvy. Not finding that perfect thing I wrote or that article someone sent me is frustrating. Is there an electronic version of the old fashioned file clerk who can put things in an order that works with my mind? I have resisted change but here I am on windows 8. Why don’t I have a Mac? Well most of the programs I have are using windows operating systems and I just don’t want to try and live in two worlds. I recently bought this cool little tablet that will twist all around, but it uses windows 8 and has a touch screen and how to turn it on is on page 42 of the 168 page manual…enter frustration. After a nice tutorial with one of my favorite tech pros, who does not chide me for not using an I- something, I am better. I have three computers all set up somewhat differently and lots of clouds. The good news is everything on any of them is backed up on a cloud is some comfort. How many clouds do I have out there? Do I in fact have a Cloud 9 in cyberspace? Being mindful that I am synced daily and all my stuff is sitting on clouds is comforting, so I can let that frustration go. But what of other frustrations? Like Russell who will not come in from exploring unless I call Dinner. Who has a dog that will not come to his name, but will come to dinner? Or not being able to open a jar or run like the wind anymore? What about those things? I have decided to take a deep breath and just let it go. Russell thinks his name is dinner, I can buy stuff in cartons and I can ask for help. Learning to ask for help has become a critical part of eliminating my frustration. I embrace my need for help and am even willing to pay for it. Just let it go….
Fear, on the other hand is a somewhat harder beast to tame. What if I am having a brush with death in traffic? What if Dinner (aka Russell) throws up or wheezes or gets out of the yard and trots out to get hit by a car? My fears all stem from the concept of loss and usually death. My own, my family’s, my friends’ and my animals. I know it is inevitable, but the voice in my head says no, not now, I am not ready. I was angry for at least a decade after my father went work to one day and never returned home, because he had a stroke and died. Did my anger help? Not really, anger just delayed the inevitable grieving and denied me any comfort. Anger is a substitute for feeling loss. Anger is a way I have protected myself from being vulnerable. Guess what? Anger does not work. Anger does not protect me from my vulnerability, it just buries me under a rock pile. A few months ago, I decided I needed to crawl out from under that rock pile yet another time. Oh, I have had lots of rock piles in my past. I am a hard driving, pain ignoring, superwoman who cries at old Lassie episodes, despite the fact that I know they will not kill off Lassie. I never feel good about my angry vicious words slung at another person, in fact, I feel bad and guilty (anger turned inward). So how can I let just let it go? Again, breathe and just let it go. I cannot control the world, it is not for lack of trying, but it is pretty much a full time job trying to keep myself balanced and do the work that I love. So once again, just let it go…
So how do I let it go? I am learning to surrender these things to something greater than myself. I call this HP, but the Universe, God, fate or WTF will work. Surrender just means I accept that I cannot work on anything but my own actions. I have found several things that help me just let it go…
- Feel it and leave it
- Drive down the interstate throwing marshmallows out the window while screaming! Watch them bounce in the rear view window and let it go!
- Pet an animal
- Do a good deed for someone else, especially helpful if they do not know that you have done it
- Give yourself 5 toxic minutes a day…choose carefully, because you do not want to be out of minutes when the sh** hits the fan at 11:55PM!
- Take a picture of yourself with your mad face on? Look at it! Would you want to talk to you?
- Eliminate the word should from your vocabulary.
You get the idea, now you can make up your own ways to just let it go…
Charlotte Mabry, Ed.D., is the Founder of Worthhealing.net, a therapeutic approach to understanding our feelings and behavior about money, www.worthhealing.net. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org or (615)210-5803 cell.
Charlotte is a graduate of the School of Healing Arts, has studied Gestalt Therapy with Irv and Miriam Polster and wrote her dissertation on Locus of Control. Charlotte is also a founding Partner of Mabry-Calvin, LLC.