Mar 13, 2015
Being mad is a healthy, natural biological reaction. It’s a simple thing, a kind of potential energy that can be pointed in a productive direction. Eckhart Tolle compares it to two ducks disputing territory. They angrily flap their wings at one another for a moment, but then it’s done and they get on with their duck lives. Being indignant, however, is an unhealthy energy drain that rarely leads to useful activity. Ducks may get mad, but they don’t get indignant.
Suppose you’re at a family gathering and your clumsy uncle spills hot coffee on you. Even though you know he didn’t do it on purpose, there are a few moments when anger automatically flashes through your body like lightening striking. This kind of anger can be helpful. If your uncle were an attacker, for instance, your anger might fuel extra adrenaline in your body, allowing you to run or fight more effectively than usual. But when it’s just your uncle, you simply “flap your wings.” You let the wave of anger pass and remind yourself that your uncle can’t help being a klutz.
But suppose you’re at a restaurant and your waiter spills coffee on you. The wave of anger flashes through your body again. Only this time, you hold onto it. You churn on this anger. How dare he? you say. He shouldn’t be a waiter if he’s such an idiot! This is where you confuse being angry with being right. You hold onto anger when you feel you have been personally slighted, disrespected in some way. You maintain your own self-righteousness by going over the details of the offending event again and again. It’s a dark kind of pleasure, rehearsing how you were right and someone else was wrong.
When you feel angry, ask yourself if this energy might lead to some purposeful, concrete action. If so, then focus on that action. If not, then realize your anger is hurting no one other than you. Being indignant may satisfy your sense of self-importance, but self-importance never accomplishes much in the long run.
Do you feel you have control over your anger? Anger can appear in many scenarios and our trained professionals can assist in the identification of triggers and work with you to devise a plan to move forward. Contact Dallas Whole Life Counseling today to learn more.