Anger is often what pain looks like when it shows itself in public.”

How to train your angry dragon

One of our most powerful and potentially our most destructive emotions. Anger has single-handedly destroyed relationships, started world wars and shaped the world as we know.

“Anger is often what pain looks like when it shows itself in public.”

Krista Tippett

I love the way Krista Tippett has framed it. Our anger is driven by our pains. Your pain could be a myriad of issues. Notice those individuals you know who get angry very often, then notice a bit deeper if you can see if they are in pain.

It’s easier to identify the external. To identify pain/anxieties/emotions in others, but much harder to do on oneself. Hence, the need for a good partner/therapist to reflect with.

Anger mimics the dopamine rush, it’s a similar to rush of dopamine we get when we engage in an activity which we love doing. Going for that run/cycle/round of golf/surfing/etc. It’s that uncontrolled feeling that we need to act now without holding back. Fight or flight. No. It’s just fight.

What makes anger so compelling is that it brings energy with it. Tremendous amounts of energy. Tried sitting still when angry? Some of us fidget, pace up and down and even worse, punch something.

There are two parts to anger. Anger brings us energy. Anger makes us focus on the narrow problem at hand. The narrowness of focus coupled with boundless amounts of energy results in a nuclear explosion.

If we could separate the two. Hold onto the energy, harness the energy and redirect it be useful. Step back from the narrowness of the situation and look at the bigger picture.

Easier said than done.

My biggest pet peeve. Tele-Marketers and Taxi drivers in peak hour traffic!

Ever notice telemarketers call you just as you’re getting into that all-important proposal and just about to get traction? They used to get me all the time! Blowing my gasket and using words that would make a pirate blush.

Secondly, notice how taxi drivers are a bit more aggressive towards you when you’re late at dropping the kids and getting to work?

Well in both these instances I was blaming the external rather than taking responsibility. I could easily turn off my phone when important work needs to get done and secondly I could choose to let the taxi driver cut in without getting annoyed about it. I’m going to be late whether I flash a million fingers and shout a gazillion expletives. Politely telling the telemarketer that I’m not interested in what they’re selling and put the phone down.

These are two little hindrances and my pain in both instances was getting there one time. The pain of embarrassment and ridicule if I arrived late at work or submitting the proposal late. Pain in it’s simplest form is what’s driving and fueling anger.

If we can be with our anger, we can learn to use the energy of it without getting lost in the narrowness of fixation. We’re conditioned to turn away from anger or other feelings of aversion like guilt, blame, jealousy, and so on. Feeling angry — at ourselves, at others, at experiences that happen to us (such as a stubborn computer!) — is undoubtedly intense, and that intensity can be all-consuming. So to avoid the rabbit hole of anger, our culture teaches us to find safety in self-deception, in repression.

Seeing Anger – Sharon Salzberg

The battle rages on. Seeking to harness this beast called anger. Not to shun away from it. But rather to understand, cultivate and ultimately be at one with. Feel angry. But try not to react in anger. Use the energy of your angry dragon to let you soar to new heights.

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