Anger and the Art of Compassion

1000-Voices-300x300This morning I had a perfect storm moment. I was feeling kind of stuck. and this came across my email:

… It’s so easy, isn’t it… to allow your anger or hurt to spill out and become a toxic mess, dragging others into the dark side. Today, as 1000Speak for Compassion is almost upon us, think carefully about the messages you put out there, and what others are going to think of what you say. And whether their good opinion of you is worth keeping. I think sometimes we forget that real people read our words and are impacted by them…

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…Just yesterday my Six Sentence Story was about anger management.

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…Meanwhile another message came across another form of media about something similar and an inspiration for a bit of a jot down was born.  Friends are a good thing. They come through when you least expect it and they often bring enough grease to unstick you a bit.

weeping-buddha

Anger, Anger Everywhere…

My friends will often say to me “I don’t understand why you always think you’re such a b****.” It’s because I used to be a real hothead, but I guess I have to accept that some things change. There was a time when everything bothered me. Everything. Say the wrong thing to me? Don’t agree with my opinion? Can’t find my favorite socks? It was all the same. It was all an occasion for anger. No, that’s not completely true. It was usually full on rage. I was repeatedly dealing with the fallout. I lost friends. I was told by employers that they kept me because I did my job well, but they preferred the other applicant’s attitudes. After nailing it back together for the umpteenth time, I once again retrieved the contents of my sock drawer from the floor.

Then I decided it was time to change. I was tired of feeling uptight. I was fatigued by my own reactions. I was sick of wondering why I was constantly justifying my reactions. When your skin is as thin as mine was, you spend a lot of time trying not to bleed out. At times, the anger was actually making me physically ill.

Am I totally calm like some guru on the proverbial mountain? Certainly not, but I am tons calmer. How did that happen? (Let me clarify to those who know me well enough to think a particular cliché may apply here… I got cancer BEFORE , WAY BEFORE, I decided to do something about this. Life may change in big ways for sure, but I will never be grateful for the opportunity to learn what I have from cancer, because I figure I would have preferred an opportunity to learn it a different way…just sayin’. )

So how did it happen? Some of it is just maturity, but most of it was- and still is- constant effort and practice. When I say this, a lot of people say to me “CONSTANT?” The way I see it is, if I were a professional athlete, I would practice for hours every day and work out with the same goal in mind for an equal amount of time daily. I don’t win every game, but I have to continue to work on it if I want to be a genuine person…I think we are all professional level in the peopling department…We aren’t just playing one in our daily lives… this IS our life! I have written a few things about negotiation and I swear by those things. I swear by psychotherapy, meditation, alone time, and the often lost arts of gratitude, forgiveness and compassion not only for others but also for myself. It’s not easy, but it’s as good a goal as winning a soccer match.

Yeesh! I hope this isn’t too preachy.

A little humility can help as well.

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16 thoughts on “Anger and the Art of Compassion

  1. Amen to all of this, a lot of good food for thought that I can most definitely benefit from this week. When someone hurts you it is very hard not to be defensive. I am working on it, not there yet.

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  2. It is so hard to do but so worth it for you. I got to the point I was tired of the fall out. All I seemed to be doing was dealing with fall out after fall out and then fall outs that were surprises because someone had gotten tired of putting up with my crap. Not a guru by any means but progress is progress.

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      1. um…. yeah, a bit… although maybe I wouldnt recognize my own words either … but that was the bloppy post this AM so that was why I didnt credit it… I just figured… sorry maybe I should have.

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  3. I used to be a hothead too in my younger years. I really can’t say what turned me around. Guess I just got tired of hurting the people I love most. Glad I got over it. Showing compassion instead of anger is such a better and more positive route to take. Loved and much appreciate your post!

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  4. This gives me hope. I, too, am am a hothead. So much better than I was, but sometimes, I’m just in a bad mood and my family gets the brunt of it. More practice needed.

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  5. Anger is a tough one – and one I find I struggle with now more than previously in my life – maybe a product of being overtired, the juggle of everything in life.

    This is a great post with lots to think on. Fatigued by my own reactions – Yes! At times very much yes! And it is constant work to deal with it.

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  6. I had two hot headed kids at home tonight and it was hell. They wound each other up the wrong way and just went ballistic. However, I have been working on strategies with them to calm them down and I have to believe that these will ultimately succeed. I have been unwell and every now and then, they lose the plot a bit. I’ve addressed this is my post for #1000speak here: Loving the Misunderstood: We Our Kids Hurt: https://beyondtheflow.wordpress.com/2015/06/20/loving-the-misunderstood-when-kids-hurt/
    xx Rowena

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