Sunday, November 3, 2013

Not My Best Week

Not my best week this week.  Nope.  Not my best.

Lots of yelling.  Lots of anger and frustration.  It's really hard to write that down. 

Because it's kind of shaming.  Very humbling.  To admit how horrible I am.

I can take a positive out of it.  I can see that I am recognising my anger sooner, and it is subsiding quicker.  It used to be that I didn't even notice the feelings rise, they would just swoop down and engulf me, and I would let them carry me away in a hot mess.

And when it receded I often still felt justified.  Like everyone else was a jerk and I had every right to feel aggrieved.  Now I can see it as it is happening.  And because I can see it I can calm it.

But it's still a bit of a struggle.  Because what if the world is being a jerk?

This week I had to deal with a multi-national for the first time in quite a while.  And, just - wow.  I had almost forgotten what a frustrating, fury-inducing process this can be.  It's not just the run around tactics, the patronising hold music, the having to repeat yourself to each consultant, the not being called back, the management-speak (oh my freaking stars - the management speak) or the fact that they were actually WRONG, but the intolerable combination of all of these things that made me see red.

And I know I'm not alone.  I even know I'm right.  But do I have to be angry?

See, the thing is, the anger gains me nothing.  Except elevated blood-pressure and a feeling that my head might explode.  It doesn't get me better service, it doesn't get my problem solved.  It might get me a starring role in some poor corporate employees dinner-time conversation - venting to their put upon partner about this one nightmare client as they reach for the Sauv Blanc.  But I'm not quite sure that's what I'm after.

No.  What I'm after is a peaceful existence.  A happy one even.  And an ability to express myself authentically.  That doesn't mean not standing up for myself.  But it does me calming myself, controlling myself, remembering the human that I am dealing with (even if they seem to be affronting my very humanity) and carrying myself with greater respect.

Because is it not madness to allow circumstance or someone else such control over me?  Surely that is what it boils down to.  Am I going to allow external behaviour, even if it is unacceptable behaviour, to sour my mood, my day?  Is my contentment so pliant that I will allow it to be determined by factors outside myself?

The same can be said in my relationships closer to home.  Should I ever allow my temperament to be determined by those around me?  In fact is that even really possible?  Does anyone else have authority over my feelings?  Can I rationally exist in the world allowing the behaviour of others to define my mood?

Of course in some ways it seems natural to be swayed by the moods, words and actions of others.  We are hurt if someone insults us.  We are saddened by the grief of others.  And we've all had that feeling that drains our positivity when we walk into a home filled with tension. 

Feelings are feelings because we feel them.  And they generate an energy that can be picked up by others - in overt or subtle ways.  How can we generate empathy if we deny this connection to our fellow humans?  Isn't this feeling of connectedness and staying open to it all part if cultivating compassion?

So I guess the question is, how do I stay open to others and steadfast within myself at the same time?

If I know anything I know this - thinking is not the answer.  Analysing, deciphering, cataloguing is not going to do it.  Being.  That's the one.  I need to find my way back to the cushion, back to regular meditation (that has wafted away on a breeze since I returned from retreat).  Because being still and silent is where I can connect with myself, where I find my authenticity and therefore where I can connect best with everyone around me.

Even the employees of those awful multi-nationals.

What makes you angry?

Listen to Eminem Kill You

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  1. Yeah, I used to have an awful temper, especially in my 20s, less so in my 30s... hardly ever now...

    I was never violent - just loud... I would yell to get my frustrations out...

    I think my temper was always triggered by a feeling of helplessness... almost as if I needed to vent because I felt like no one was listening to me...

    When you have a hair-trigger temper, the strange thing is that you can feel quite calm and relaxed afterwards... it's just all the innocent victims you leave in your wake that's the problem... if losing your temper was a victimless crime, then it would probably be quite good for me... but it isn't...

    As I mentioned, I hardly ever lose my temper nowadays... why? I'm not sure... maybe I'm just calmer and more relaxed in my 40s... more contented, more confident, less stressed... I hope I stay this way. :)

    1. Happy Sunday JJ. Thanks for the comment.

      It's interesting that for me that this temper is a relatively new thing. So it's been a bit confronting, because it doesn't really feel like "me" if that makes sense. And because it doesn't feel authentic, I'm trying to address it.

      Also because I just don't want to be an angry arsehole.

      It makes way more sense to be getting mellower with age.

      I really relate to what you say about not being listened to - that is almost always how I feel when I get really angry, I can almost hear myself shouting inside my head "YOU ARE NOT LISTENING TO ME!!", it's a real sense of powerlessness.

      Unlike you I don't feel sated afterwards though - just guilty.

      Here's hoping we can both enjoy a more relaxed and calm 5th decade.