What happens to you when things don’t go according to how you expect them to? How do you become?
Many of us become impatient, frustrated or angry. Frustrated that we have not got what we expected, angry at others for not ‘pulling their weight’ or ‘doing as I said they should’: anger that it hasn’t worked out. Sometimes there is also despair, but that usually comes a while after anger.
Scratch the surface of impatience and what underlies it is anger, in strong or milder forms. The anger is at not wanting things to be the way they are, and is accompanied by blame for someone or something – often yourself.
However anger manifests, it underlies a feeling of powerlessness – an inability to do or say something that will make the situation different.
Whereas it is often authentic and a good thing to express anger, it can also have a debilitating effect, on yourself and others, and at the end of an outburst can leave you feeling despairing and drained.
So should we avoid anger? Is it a ‘bad’ emotion, and should we cultivate removing it from our repertoire of emotions altogether?
I do not believe so. As humans, we are equipped to experience anger, and it can be a useful indicator that we are looking at something in a different way from how it is. In other words, we are not seeing and being with ‘what is so’ in the moment; we are trying to deal with ‘how it should be’.
So it’s fine to be angry, and if you want to move beyond it, one way of doing so is to practice patience.
Just like you cannot force grass to grow, or the seasons to change, practice allowing things to unfold and develop in their own way. We don’t have to let our anxieties and our desire for certain results dominate the quality of the moment, even when things are painful. Learn when to push and when to pull – there is a time for both.
What comes in the next moment and in the next moment after that is in large measure determined by how we are now. If we are angry now, our experience of the next and the next and the next moments will be shaped by anger, which might not be the best way forward in the situation. If you become angry automatically or unconsciously, become aware of this, and if you choose to, put in place another more useful thought or feeling for that time – it will shape your next few moments, and those afterwards.
Having patience instead of anger can allow the right action in the situation to appear by itself.
Have a great Jubilee Bank Holiday, whatever your expectations, or patience and anger levels become.