How to Stop Being Angry
Certain themes come up repeatedly in my coaching practice. There is, however, one theme which comes up more than any other: the manufacturing of psychological poison, or holding onto hatred.
It usually goes something like this. Someone does something to you which is unfair, uncooperative and uncaring. You become hurt. You boil over with festering anger. Your day is ruined.
Not only is your day ruined, but you begin to notice that you are becoming a bitter person. You remember that you used to be happy, but now you are heavy with anger and resentment. How did this happen?
Let’s break down this manufacture of hate into in component parts. Firstly, something bad happens to you (note, you have little to no control over bad things coming into your life). Second, by some combination of emotional outrage and intellectualising, you feel indignation… righteous indignation. That is to say, you are ‘correct’ and somehow ‘noble’ in your feelings of hurt and anger. Thirdly, the wheel keeps on spinning. You hold onto the anger, and manufacture more and more rage and sadness and hurt. And why wouldn’t you? You really have been short changed by life or society or mother nature, you deserve to be angry.
The end product? Terrible sadness. And a lifetime of unnecessary suffering.
This must be fixed.
Understand that 99% of the suffering generated in this situation is caused by you. That’s right. You created it. Whilst you have no control over the unfair and unfortunate turns of fate which come into your life, you have total control over your inner world. You are God-emperor of you – remember that. And since nearly all the manufacture of righteous indignation was ordered and created by you, you have the responsibility and power to halt it.
Once you have accepted responsibility for your own emotions – some have an easier time with this than others – then you must break down old habits and form new ones. The best way to do this is to understand how utterly brain-rottingly stupid it is to spend the limited and precious resources of time and emotional energy in generating poison. On this count, you are twice cursed. One, because you missed out on all the wonderful, beautiful directions you could put your creative consciousness to. Perhaps you could have thought about your loved ones? You could consider all the ways you are blessed. You might dream of how your life could be better, or how the world could be better. Or even just admire the view, or admire the very miracle of consciousness itself! But it’s worse than that. Not only did you miss out on all these infinite, wonderful things, but you actively created a force for hatred and pain in the world. And here’s the kicker… The hate was created inside you and for you. The acid burns the vessel the worst. And you, with your infinite power of creation, have used it to create ugliness.
What would a dying person, on the precipice of oblivion, think about your use of this precious gift? What will you think of this when you are close to death?
The manufacture of poison in this manner is catastrophically unskilful and destructive. It deserves not the righteous and noble dressing that our culture affords it, but pity and contempt.
The final stage, once you understand you are responsible for your inner state, and once you have adjusted your ideal, is to pay attention. Cultivate a habit of wakeful readiness, like a cat staring patiently at a mouse hole. Sometimes your old habits will escape you, and you will be unconsciously dragged into this cycle of poison. But other times, you will catch it, and you will direct your consciousness away from hatred and into the infinite possibility of creation. The more you practice, the easier it will become. The more times you catch yourself, the fewer times you will slip into hatred. And then… You are free.