It happens from time to time. We thought we chained it, locked it up, but that dog again managed to break free and tear apart our day. How do we control it? Can we even control it?
I was driving the other day and another motorist moved in the lane in which I was traveling in without giving way. We got angry. He was yelling about common courtesy, I was yelling about the road rules. None of us was right, we weren’t even talking about the real issue. We were out of control.
A thought occurred to me after we parted huffing and puffing. Too late for that situation, but what can I do differently next time? If I do everything exactly the same way as before and expect a different outcome I can only be called insane. If I do something entirely different from the past experience I surely will get a different outcome. I am talking about interrupting a behaviour and replacing it with another.
Let’s think together and imagine the same situation: we are driving and a motorist moves in front of us without giving way. We can choose to focus our entire attention to get out of the dangerous situation the best way we can. We can choose to slow down, steer out of the way, check the mirrors to see if other motorist were affected by the situation, check if there was something that caused the other motorist to act the way they did. If after all this we still believe it is necessary and have time then we can decide if there is a need to get angry. The most important thing we can do is to brake the usual recurring pattern of getting angry first.
This also means that we can shift the focus away from ourselves as the center of everything. We can look at the bigger picture. Even if the other motorist was doing it out of ignorance or for whatever other reason, are we some sort of authority to have to “teach them a lesson”. We on the other hand can teach ourselves something. We can choose to be different next time. We can choose to be creative instead of angry.
After all anger is a beast. We chain it, lock it up and keep it there thinking we can unleash it when we need it. We think anger is handy when we have to kill werewolves with our bare hands. But anger kills creativity, thinking and humanity. Anger, once unleashed only sees red and won’t stop until it’s destroyed everything it perceives as a threat. We keep anger as a weapon, ready for a war that never comes. Then we create wars so we can use anger since it’s already there.
Next time you are in challenged respond with creativity, not anger.
In what situation you can imagine yourself getting creative instead of angry?