What to Do With Anger

I had a bit of an odd day today and I am absolutely exhausted from my martial arts class so I’ll keep this short. I’ve talked a bit in the past about one of the foundational concepts that underlies my study of martial arts: state management. In other words, being aware of both your physical and mental/emotional well being at any given point in time, and preferably as much as possible. Because if you are aware of your state, then you can make sure that you are practicing a state you actually want to practice.

My instructor said “whatever state you’re in right now…that’s the one you’re practicing”. And I believe he’s absolutely right.

But today, despite my understanding of all of this, I still was blindsided by an emotional state that I couldn’t seem to manage.

In short, I got angry.

There were a lot of reasons for that, and I won’t bore you with a list, but suffice it to say it had been a long morning, and then I got into what should have been a simple “hi, how’s it going” conversation with my mother, but because of my state and the fact that I was not aware of (aka not paying attention to) it, that conversation turned into an argument which turned into whatever comes between an argument and a shouting match. No raised voices, just lots of biting comments and a lot of swearing from my end (I really only seem to use cuss words when I’m arguing or angry or, more rarely, when trying to make a point).

The point is, I got angry.

And sure, there was a lot going on. And sure, I had a thousand justifiable reasons to be angry.

The issue was the spiral- because I have a hard time with anger. I feel wrong when I get mad. And when the anger persists despite the fact that I am logically aware that I have nothing to be angry about, it makes me even angrier. So then I get pissed off at myself for being pissed off. You see where that leads.

So I spent almost my entire afternoon trying to cool off. I exercised, did laundry, went grocery shopping…I did what I could to salvage things despite the fact that I honestly wanted to put my fist through a wall.

And since my martial arts class is all about safety and security, if I had still been in that state of mind when 6:30 rolled around, I would have stayed home, for the safety of my classmates and for my own safety. Because if you walk into a martial arts class pissed off, chances are your aggression is going to rub off on others and you may end up hurting yourself or someone else.

But fortunately the grocery shopping got me distracted, and then by the time I’d put all the groceries away and mentally planned a few meals for myself for the next few days, it was time for me to go to class, and I was ready. The anger had finally dissipated.

The only thing I understand about this is that I have to re-focus my attention, because when I focus on my anger, just like anything else, it expands.

But at the same time, I don’t want to avoid being angry. Telling myself that being angry is somehow “wrong” just perpetuates that anger spiral and turns the anger inward toward myself. What I want is to be able to be angry and just notice it and say, “ok, so I’m angry. So what? So I’m angry.” Notice the state, manage it if I can, and if not, be able to just be ok with being who I am, where I am, feeling what I’m feeling.

If I could do that, I think I’d probably have this “life” thing down.

It’s a process, and I’m working on it.

Thanks for reading, and peace to you,

-Nathan

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6 responses to “What to Do With Anger

  1. Reblogged this on Write it Real and commented:
    I like the honesty and well, I like the personal health quest thing and the fact that it relates to karate.

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