We all get pissed off. (mad, angry, frustrated, disappointed, fired up, irritated – call it what you want.) We all get pissed off, some of us more than others. I’ve recently been inspired by all of the jerks being jerks to jerks in this world and feel an overwhelming need to extend my thoughts beyond my friends. I didn’t have a perfect childhood, but I do remember hearing this a thousand times.
“Nobody can make you feel anything, you do it to yourself.” My Mom
I assumed everyone was told this when they were young, but I’m finding out that very few have ever been confronted with this concept. It’s incredibly sobering to really understand it. You aren’t pissed off because someone did something terrible to you. You aren’t pissed off because something didn’t go your way. You are pissed off because you choose to be. You are in charge of what goes on inside that head of yours just like everyone else. Nobody is doing a mind control trick on you and making you feel what you feel. Sure, there are circumstances, experiences, people, cultural influences etc. affecting you, but you are the one interpreting all of it and deciding.
What if instead of being victims to our feelings and letting them control us we could rise above them? What if the next time someone really irritated you, you kept your cool and didn’t freak out? What if the next time your day blows up in your face and you want to punish everyone and everything for getting in your way you could shake it off and go with the flow? What if you could take responsibility for the way you feel and the way you respond and the decisions you make? What if you could really own those feelings and the way you operate in this world? I’m asking you. Not the person that pissed you off. Not the boss you hate or the husband you are miserable with, or the driver who cut you off. I’m asking you what would it be like if you owned you and the thoughts you're having, the beliefs you create, and the actions you carry out?
What if we evolved our thinking to understand these negative feelings as a signal for reflection? And when we get mad and want to punch a wall, we instead take a minute to think. Think about the reason this pisses you off. Think about what you want in this scenario beyond instant relief for your feelings. What if we took a moment to understand where this reaches within ourselves? Just a minute to wonder why memories of the past are surfacing. Some time to think about the fact that we have options. Some time to think about the power we have within to stand up for what’s right and not succumb to choosing what’s wrong. What if all those feelings that light a fire inside of us were really our chance to understand what we really need right now? What if we could honor our values even in the heat of the moment? What if we could choose to see the big picture and let our vision of what we stand for guide us in the here and now? I think it’s possible. No, I know it’s possible.
Figure out what you are protecting. Find out what matters to you. Understand what you believe and what you stand for. Consider the big picture. Know what you want in life. If you take a minute to contemplate any of this you’ll separate yourself from the heat of the moment enough to regain composure. You’ll decide what really matters and respond with thoughtful action. If you can’t answer any of the big questions I’ve thrown out here, you have no business reacting to anything. You hold tight until you get it figured out. You pause for however long it takes. You step away or aside or take a walk or go to the bathroom. Figure it out because the way you react or respond becomes a chain reaction in this world. The way you operate affects everyone else. I want to belong to a world that can take a minute to think.