Not really though. Not now at least. But sometimes I am. I have had a problem with anger, sometimes to the point of rage, since…forever. I remember being around ten years old, flying into such a rage that I couldn’t remember what I had said or done. That’s scary. Yesterday, I visited F’s church. His dad is a pastor. He preached on anger. You know how sometimes you go to a service and feel like the sermon was made just for you? Yeah…that’s how I felt yesterday.
Now, I’ve heard sermons on anger before. Probably more than I can count. But something my future father-in-law said yesterday really hit me. It punched me right in the face. “What are you so invested in, what do you love that much, that you are willing to get so angry over?”
Now, he points out that there are some things worth getting angry over. Not a rageful, out of control anger, but I calm, focused anger. Watching children in other countries (and maybe even in your own country) die of starvation or because of war on the news is something worth getting angry over. Your friend cancelling plans with you for a third time in a row – well, maybe that means they aren’t such a great friend – but it’s not worth getting angry over.
See, one of the things that makes me the most angry is when people don’t agree with me. Yes, I know, if I don’t change this I will have a HARD life. My dad and I disagree on a lot of things, especially political. I love my dad so much, but we have different views. We tend to get into debates at dinner time. It’s like our weekly routine. Instead of just saying “well Dad, I respect your opinion but I just can’t agree with how you see things. Here’s why…” It usually turns into something like this: “DAD! HOW COULD YOU POSSIBLY NOT UNDERSTAND WHAT I’M SAYING? IT MAKES PERFECT SENSE. YOU ARE CLEARLY UNIFORMED. YOU ARE CLEARLY WRONG.”
After this sermon, I started to think “why do my debates with my dad make me so angry? What is it that I love so much that I’m willing to get this angry over?”
And I realized I loved the idea of being “right” too much. My pride is off the charts. I LOVE being right. If I’m not right, I can’t even admit that I’m wrong. I’ll argue a point long after it’s been proven completely, 100% wrong, because I can’t admit that I was wrong. That’s pride. That is horrible. That is not what I want to value in life. That is not worth getting angry over.
Sometimes I get angry and defensive about certain things with F too. For example, the idea of going on a cruise terrifies me. I know I would hate everything about it. But his family loves cruises, and they go on cruises all together – like, the whole family. Aunts, uncles, cousins, grandma, grandpa. Everyone. So I know that realistically, I will have to go on a cruise one day if I want to participate in this family’s traditions. My (almost) family’s traditions.
Sometimes when F and I talk about this, I get ANGRY. Why? I realized in this situation, it’s because of my own fears. There’s nothing wrong with being cautious, but I love the idea of staying within my safe-zone way too much. I place so much value on what is familiar that when something new comes along, it makes me scared. And then I get angry because “who wants to go on a stupid cruise anyway? Why would anyone want to float in the middle of the ocean on a boat with thousands of other people? Obviously on crazy people would want to do that. I want to be on land. I want to be at home. Cruises are so stupid.”
So, what are you angry about?
After you’ve thought about it, think again. What are you really angry about?