How to escape Anger and Frustration?

SKIP! My heart just skipped a beat hearing my Mom scream in my left year with brutal missiles of words “What the hell are you doing! BABU!” Yes I know, my mom still calls me by my childhood pet name because even now she considers me her little baby.

You guys must be thinking that to deserve those words I must have done something grave and serious. Well, Yes according to my Mom and No according to me. My crime was that I accidentally washed my hands over some clean dishes in the basin. I am still guilty in the court of my mom, am I innocent or not isn’t the point I am trying to make over here. I am more interested in the part of the episode where my mom gets angry and irritated at such a trivial issue.

She is not alone in this, as many of us are just like her, who get their temper evoked easily at trifling matters of daily life.

The girl who curses the train for being late and then blames the train as the reason for the reprimanding at work. The man who blames the rain for the sudden downpour and spoiling his favourite shirt. The driver who gets annoyed by the traffic on the road. We ourselves face such situation every day. But what is the cause for this frustration?

The cause is too much optimism.

Things don’t always turn out the way we expect them to happen.

Yet, we expect perfection when it comes to our daily life. These expectations are further fueled by the positive thinking and positive visualization brigade who preach us to imagine the perfect version of the event before it happens. Soon we start expecting unrealistic positive outcomes in our lives. This is the case with everyone, we live in an absurdly optimistic world.

But, any adult who has lived in the real world and faced its daily grind know that life isn’t all about happiness, good times, unicorns and rainbows. Bad things happen, sometimes even the worst situations happen, and when they happen people are usually taken by surprise as they never even gave these scenarios a thought.

“Anger stems when misplaced hope smashes into unforeseen reality. We don’t shout every time something bad happens to us. Only when it’s bad and unexpected.”

— Alain de Botton

As dwelling in the negative or worst-case scenario thinking is discouraged by the conventional wisdom of world which emphasizes on hopefulness and positive thinking. Even the mention of negative outcomes is frowned upon by others. This visualization of worst case scenarios is called “Pessimism”, a word hardly mentioned by any of us and whose usage is low in academic and social life. To be a pessimist is somewhat a taboo in modern life, contrary to the mass opinion, pessimism has its own consolations to help us lead a fulfilled life.

I will get more into pessimism and its advantages in life in my future posts, let’s get back to the issue of Anger and Frustration.

Imagine you are getting ready for a commute from your home to your office. Now think of two scenarios, in one you fill your mind with positive and optimistic thoughts ‘Today is going to be awesome, Trains will be on time, Taxi will be on time, the passengers will be pleasant and my boss will just love me’ and in the second scenario have a pessimistic outlook ‘Today can go bad, Trains can go late, I may miss the Taxi, I might sit next to an annoying passenger and my boss can behave rudely with me.’

In the first scenario, even if one of those events doesn’t happen, it can spoil your mood as your expectations are shattered which will lead to onset of rage and irritation in your behaviour. However, in the second scenario, you are mentally prepared and if any of those events actually happen your mind is psychologically ready for it and conversely if any of those events don’t happen the day will be pleasant, like in the case of tasting something sweet when expecting something sour.

We must realize that the world is a chaotic place where events happen randomly. Their unpredictability can be witnessed by switching on a news channel for some while. I myself refrain from watching the news but more on that in my later posts. The world around us is not in our control and it is volatile and irregular by nature.

Hence, it is impractical to try to predict your life and that too the positive events in your life.

By asking you to expect the worst, I don’t wish you to be in constant fear and anticipation of the worst. You don’t have to be in a perpetual fear of the negative and the bad. As this will only lead to chronic anxiety and nervousness in you.

We should just mentally be prepared to face anything that life throws at us. Be it humiliation, betrayal, accident, theft, injury. Whatever it might be, you will go through it with strong resilience even if the outcome seems doubtful, we humans always underestimate our capacity to face hardship.

Once we harden ourselves to such major tragedies, small happenings will hardly affect out calm. They will do the same damage as a small pebble do to an ocean.

One will start to stay calm and give up on being angry and frustrated when one faces the truth about the difficulties of everyday life.

Nowadays, I amusingly smile like a mystic who has found the secret of life at my mom when she suddenly bursts out with anger and I am met with confusion and astonishment from her side, which adds more fuel to my amusement. I wish somehow she gets the gist of this post from some other source as you should know better than to teach your mother or you will be met with a projectile utensil aimed for your head.

This was my take and I would love to hear your views and ideas on handling anger and frustrations of life in the comments.