“The worst-tempered people I’ve ever met were the people who knew they were wrong.” — Wilson Mizner, American screenwriter
“I don’t understand why this didn’t happen,” she said. “I was very specific about my expectations.” She stood there with hands on her hips awaiting my response. I could see heads popping up in surrounding cubicles. It seemed they too were awaiting my response.
“Well,” I said. “We’ve been short-staffed all week and –”
“You’re always short-staffed,” she spat. “I’m not buying that any longer!”
“We have three people off this week,” I explained. “Things take longer.”
“Just make it happen!” she said, then huffed away — fists clenched, arms swinging.
My cubicle neighbour Rob rose up tentatively as if leery of flying debris.
“What did I tell you?” he said, leaning nearer. “Didn’t take her long to forget, did it?”
I shook my head. Only a few days prior this angry individual had been singing our praises for helping her close a big sale. She had even announced our good efforts over the PA system.
“There’s just no history with some people,” he said.
Someone told me once that happy people remain essentially so even when something sad or traumatic happens.
Over time, they generally return to their natural state of being.
Angry people must therefore return to their natural state of being following a happy event.
It has also been the observation of many enlightened individuals that there are only two pure emotional states: love and fear. All emotions are offshoots of these two primary states.
When we are in a state of love, we are in growth mode. We approach life as if it were a wondrous adventure. We open our hearts and our arms to life, embracing it and welcoming new people and experiences. Our comfort zone expands and, along with it, our world. We see the world as a place of abundance with endless opportunities to know joy, love and success.
When we are coming from a state of fear, we are in protection mode. This scarcity mindset has us believe that all resources, even emotional, are limited; thus we are in a competition with everyone for everything. We expect to be cheated, disappointed and to fight for our fair share. What is expected tends to be realized. Our world and comfort zone become smaller and smaller as we attempt to “circle the wagons” in order to protect ourselves and our rights.
So if we’re fearful, why are we expressing that fear through anger? As stated, anger is a derivative of fear and anger feels stronger. Anger provides us with a mask to hide behind and a means of frightening others into submission. Anger helps us to believe that we are not afraid.
Anger in and of itself is not a bad thing. There are times when it’s appropriate to be angry.
From page A2
Many of life’s greatest achievements and societal changes came about because someone became angry enough to stand up and say enough! There is a great difference between someone who becomes angry when appropriate and someone who is always angry. Recognizing when it is appropriate to become angry (and to what degree) requires wisdom and self-awareness.
How can you move from a state of protection to a state of growth – from withering fear to expansive love? Any change this dramatic will take time and effort. The first step is always self-awareness. Find the courage to take an objective look at yourself and the impact your current state of mind is having upon your life, health and your relationships with others.
Rosanne Cash, singer, songwriter and daughter of country legend Johnny Cash, once said, “The key to change is to let go of fear.”
Fear can be like a great wall that separates us from where we are and where we’d like to be. Before any obstacle can be circumvented, we must first acknowledge and accept its presence. Accepting your fear and anger can be the first step toward successfully resolving it.
Murray Fuhrer is a local self-esteem expert and facilitator. His new book is entitled Extreme Esteem: The Four Factors. For more information on self-esteem, check the Extreme Esteem website at www.extremeesteem.ca.www.extremeesteem.ca