Don’t Bite the Hook
Recently, I have been listening to an audiobook titled “Don’t Bite the Hook: Finding Freedom from Anger, Resentment, and Other Destructive Emotions” by Pema Chodron. One of the main points of the book is addressing our own angers.
One of the questions asked is, when we get angry, do we find joy in our anger? Is our anger making us happy or a better person? Is the anger constructive? Are we just adding fuel to the flame?
We can suppress anger and aggression or act it out, either way making things worse for ourselves and others. Or we can practice patience: wait, experience the anger and investigate its nature.
I was asked a question yesterday and the first emotion I felt was sadness, followed by anger. The sadness was very short lived. Sensing the anger, I hesitated before responding, trying to calm myself down because I could easily feel the increased heart rate and my blood boiling. In fact, writing about the emotion now, my blood started to boil again.
Eventually, I did respond with a cool answer that seemed reasonable. But even after saying that, I wanted to explode, I wanted to lash out, I wanted to say more, and I did. Magnification began, labeling took place, mind reading ensued, distorted thinking ruled my mind. A simple question turned into an argument with fire boiling on each side. The encounter ended with each of us upset and no real resolution. I said some very hurtful things and I regret it.
Aggression is the energy that is determined to resolve the situation into a hard, solid, fixed pattern in which somebody wins and somebody loses.
I realize now that I fought for a hard resolution and though I speak of compromise, my goal was to find acceptance of my own point and side. This goal was so strong in me, that I was blinded to how I was behaving and tossed aside others around me, focusing on my own ego and self. I talk of meditation and practice of compassion, yet I still have a long way to go.
If you wait and don’t feed your discursive thought, you can be honest about the fact that you’re angry. But at the same time you can continue to let go of the internal dialogue. In that dialogue you are blaming and criticizing, and then probably feeling guilty and beating yourself up for doing that. It’s torturous, because you feel bad about being so angry at the same time that you really are extremely angry, and you can’t drop it. It’s painful to experience such awful confusion.
– Source: Ibid
Above exactly outlines how I felt afterwards. I was very angry at myself and felt very guilty. It is this internal dialogue and struggle that keeps me awake at nights. Often days are good, but it’s those few days that stay in my mind. I must remember not to discount the positive.