Anger has been my long time companion and we have had many opportunities to sit down and get to know each other better. I used to feel very helpless and guilty for feeling angry, but that was in a distant past when everything was hard and blurry. I’ve since learned how to deal with feelings of anger and how to let go of it smoothly.
Although I thought I was doing well and was on the path to a more balanced inner me, there were days when things went haywire and I didn’t know why. Obviously, there was something I was still missing so I went into reflection mode, hoping I could find the loose screw.
I decided to take some time to observe why I easily lose my peace in the course of an ordinary day. I was curious about the possible connections that lead me to an uncomfortable space of unhappiness.
Though I often start a new day with a positive mindset, it seems that too many things get to me, making me lose my peace and composure. I kept wondering what goes wrong along the way and the answer was simpler than I expected.
That answer had nothing to do with the events outside of me and everything to do with my own thoughts about them. After waking up in the morning, thoughts start flying around in my head and I automatically set expectations for the day, trying to predict how things will evolve. The events of the day that aren’t developing according to my imaginary plan have the potential to cause stress and disillusionment.
Right after the initial moment when stress settles in, what follows is the mind attempting to change things and make them fit the ‘plan’ again. Totally disregarding whether that is possible, suitable or required, it tries to rid itself of stress by forcing the course of events to bring them to the pre-planned stage.
After reflecting on these mind processes, two important things have stood out:
- Thoughts that are constantly trying to predict how events will evolve throughout a day.
- Thoughts that are trying to fight and change the outside environment (often triggered by fear-based beliefs).
No wonder my mood can swing so swiftly. If I start my day with a mind filled with unrealistic expectations and a desire to control the outside environment according to my selfish needs, things can go wrong on so many levels.
But what struck me the most was the fact that in the process of trying to control outside events, I totally disregard what may be required of me in a critical moment. Instead of seeing how I can contribute to the outside situation, I try to change it based on my very subjective needs.
I’ve learned that it is very helpful to become one with that impactful moment when we are triggered by circumstances beyond our control and to try to observe our role in it. Instead of attempting to force things in a certain direction so I can decrease the stress I feel, I can question my fears and aim to become aware of how I can have a positive contribution, right then and there.
With just a bit of time dedicated to observing my thought patterns, I realised that what makes me ‘lose it’ is a fear-driven thinking which stems from my own insecurity. The outside environment has no control over me, but my thoughts do. How I think will set the trend for how I feel, react and influence my surroundings. I’m now on a mission to instill a strong habit of observing how I can contribute to each challenging situation in a positive way, rather than go into self-preservation defensive thinking.
By observing our thoughts, what triggers them and by questioning their validity, we can begin to understand how we are affecting our environment. The next step is to become aware of what our role is in each particular situation and to see if there is any way we can offer help, rather than find ways to change things.
I now understand with great clarity that if anger or anxiety gets the best of me, I deprive myself of the value of significant moments. If I allow myself to ‘lose it’, I also lose myself and the chance to show up in the best way I can.
A simple day provides us with plentiful of opportunities to be of great and wonderful help, but we do have to make a conscious effort to clear away our misguided, fear-driven thoughts so we can see and appreciate the value of each moment and how it invites us to be of service.