Anger is just an emotion. It comes it, it goes, it doesn’t really have to have any impact at all.
The thing that makes anger so dangerous is how good it is at telling us stories to keep itself alive and growing. It tricks us into feeding the fire in our living room.
Casey is rushing to work.
She hits a red light near her home.
At this point, nothing has really happened. A light changed, this is what they are programmed to do. By this light turning red, someone else’s turned green, this made them happy.
This is a neutral situation, but not helpful to Casey as she rushing to work. She is afraid she will be late, this turns into anger. This could be the end of it, but let’s look at the stories that arise as she sits there for what feels like forever.
Why can’t the city time the lights properly? It’s simple thing and helps with traffic flow and gas mileage. What are our taxes for? This is basic.
The light finally turns green (it’s been about 40 seconds). The person in front of Casey is on their phone.
This cascades into a series of broad assertions (stories) about the people around her.
The person on their phone is a vapid moron who just has to check their Facebook every few seconds because they are so important.
The drivers around her are useless assholes who don’t know how to drive. They are going the speed limit just to piss her off.
The people at her workplace are inconsiderate jerkoffs for taking all the parking spaces.
The first client she sees infuriates her because she is sure she caught a look of disapproval as she walked in a few minutes late.
Stories pile up on stories until you have a house of cards made of broken glass and rusty razor blades that will mangle everything you love when it collapses.
We do this all the time if we are not mindful of the difference between the emotion that arises and the stories our mind tells us about it.
This isn’t such a big deal with strangers around us on the way to work, unless we decide to run them off the road or ram them when they don’t go the second the light turns green.
But think about these stories when it comes to the people we love. To the people who mean the most to us, but who also provide us with the most fodder for the stories because of the length of time we’ve spent with them, and because we are all human.
The mind can grind away on these relationships constantly if we are not careful, especially when it begins telling us global stories about the people we love.
She never cleans the kitchen.
He’s always late.
That kid never does their homework.
He’s always disrespectful.
Things are going to make us angry.
This isn’t a problem unless we let it be.
Unless we listen to the stories.