Feeling angry is weird.
It’s the product of placing too much importance on something, most often when it’s out of your control.
- Let down
Yet, each of these situations has an underlying ‘anger identifier’
that is more important than the feeling itself. Let’s dig deeper:
This either means you hurt yourself and you’re angry about it because you’re in pain, or someone else hurt you and you’re angry with them as a result. Your anger is only making the pain worse, so it’s best to take a deep breath, calm down, and re-assees. If someone else hurt you in a non-physical way (emotional, psychological, or spiritual), often times the feeling of ‘hurt’ is rooted in having an expectation that does not belong. Get rid of expectations and anger will go with them.
This means you’ve placed importance on someone else following through with their word or actions. Effectively, you’ve set an expectation for someone else to help you or do something, and now they haven’t. Rather than seeing it as their failure, consider your end goal: to be happy, loving, and live a meaningful life. As it turns out, asking or expecting other people to do stuff for you is in direct conflict with your end goal. It’s a misguided strategy.
Someone or something either deliberately or accidentally misled you. Whether this is a sign on the road that sent you in the wrong direction, or someone who purposely tricked you into buying something you couldn’t afford, the responsibility ultimately lies with you. You see, this is another form of expectation. When we depend upon our environments to keep us stable, we quickly become unstable if things don’t go as planned. When we depend upon ourselves for stability, happiness, and love, we look inward and find another emotion. If we’re now late, or moving in the wrong direction, we laugh it off and learn for the future. There’s nothing we can do about it now, so may as well see it for what it is: a mistake.
Sometimes, when we are under-performing at work or home, we get angry with ourselves or a loved one. When we are angry with ourselves, we tend to become isolated, thereby moving away from our end life goal. If we are angry with someone else due to them ‘under-performing’, this means we’ve again allowed ourselves to expect. Remove expectations from your life to move closer to your goal of a happy, loving, and meaningful life.
Often times, this means we’ve set an unrealistic expectation for ourselves. Internally, we may have set an expectation to be on time for work, school, or a family event. Externally, there could be traffic, a car accident, or a phone call that comes through and makes us late. Because we set the expectation to be on time and we are now late, we feel we’ve let ourselves — or whomever we are meeting — down. Again, this is rooted in having expectations, instead of appreciating each moment for what it is.
You might notice a common theme. Anger you are experiencing most likely comes from an expectation. And since expectations are a failed strategy for a happy, loving, and meaningful life, they are the culprit, ‘not’ the situation.
You don’t have to give away your power, letting yourself become victim to circumstances and situations that make you feel uncentered. You no longer have to be angry.
If you’d like to treat people around you with more patience and respect — or you simply want to feel better and less angry — work on expectations first. Identify when you feel angry, figure out why, and see if there’s another way of thinking about the situation in the future. Remove expectations when you see them and take notice of how you feel when you have. I suspect your anger will melt away…
I’m so grateful for you,
Originally published at drkareem.com on March 13, 2017.