Sunday, November 20, 2011

Anger into action

Recently I've found myself getting overwhelmed with anger about a few issues.

For some of the issues, I have every right to be angry. Some involve things that happened in the past, long ago. The things that happened in the past I can't do anything about.

So I've been exploring what it is that I am really angry about. Is my anger justified - what am I scared of (is there any fear there).

I realize that dwelling on my anger (are women supposed to be angry??) doesn't help anyone. Certainly it doesn't help me live and enjoy my life, it doesn't help my marriage or my relationship with my kids. All it does is leave a bad taste in my mouth.

(As an aside, I didn't realize just how angry I was for a long time. Now my struggle is focusing my anger into acknowledgment and then productive anger. And accepting the past as something I can't change).

A friend once told me that being angry about other people's actions or behaviors is like taking the poison yourself and expecting the other person to get sick. I agree.

In one of the cases, with my anger towards a work situation, I figured out there is something I can do. There are actions I can take that I have taken (calmly). I've figured out what my triggers are in the situation (perceiving that I'm being taken advantage of), and the risks of me speaking out (and the risks of not speaking out).

The relief and empowerment that I've felt by speaking up - despite awkwardness - have been palpable. Even if changes don't happen, I have choices - and that is priceless.

I find that many seemingly immovable situations or things in my life change over time. They are like glaciers. It seems like some of these "truths" are unchanging but there is change going on - just slowly. And I realize that I change over time, my perceptions of what's going on change as well.

How this relates to mormonism? There may be things that can be changed - requests that a person can make here in the present in some  family situations. 

Being open to thinking about those changes - being open to the possibility of action can be freeing (to my mind). I can't say what those requests might be - but figuring out if there are little parts of the glacier that I can chip at. There are boundaries I can set. There are people I don't have to talk to or be around. There are people I can be around that I don't discuss certain issues with (like faith or mormonism).

Figuring out the things that I'm angry about that I literally cannot do anything to change has been very helpful (a great example for me has been the billboard that I drive past when taking my kids to school). 

It should come as no surprise to anyone here, I disagree with that use of funds by the LDS church.  With all the desperate need in this world, I disagree with advertising the diversity of the LDS church (I disagree that the LDS church is really a diverse organization).  So I can focus on that disagreement every time I pass the billboard, or I can accept that I can't change all of those things and let it go.

There are quite a few things that I am angry about that I can't do anything to change. I've thought about it, extensively, and there's nothing I can do. So when I'm aware of that, I choose to let my immediate anger go - realizing - I can't do anything about this, and so I choose not to dwell on my anger about it.

1 comment:

Freckle Face Girl said...

Thanks for the fb msg and Happy Thanksgiving! :)

As usual, you came up with good points. I think that turning anger into action can be a good thing when it is used to improve something. I saw that in California, where there seems to be an amazing amount of activists. Even though I didn't feel as passionately about their motivations, I can appreciate how difficult it is to sway the mainstream into changing even for the better. Things like the environment, recycling, better treatment of animals, etc. are all movements that came about because people turned anger into action.
Unfortunately, anger (like worrying) can often be just a waste of thoughts and energy. I wish that I didn’t let anger or worrying drain me, but I usually do. I over-analyze and puff them up in my mind. Most issues never even amount to much. As far as other people’s lives, I have a live and let live attitude.
I basically try to see things from different perceptions and understand where the other person/people are coming from. I can tell you are like that too.