About being angry

About being angry

There is a saying that goes something like:

 

You know too much psychology when you can’t get angry because you understand everyone’s reasons for doing everything.

I really feel like this sometimes! I notice that I quite seldom get angry at people because I believe I see where they’re coming from. And this immediately makes it a bit easier for me to not get angry at them. But even so, it happens from time to time that I get angry. Recently for example, the following happened:

My family, friends and I ate in a newly opened restaurant in Altea, a nearby village here in Spain. We were a pretty large group of people consisting of four different families. The following day my husband, me and four of our friends spent feeling miserable with some form of stomach bug. The six of us all ate tuna sashimi as a starter for dinner so we, quite naturally if you ask me, believe that the tuna wasn’t as fresh as it should have been. I contacted the restaurant to alert them to this fact in order to avoid other people also getting sick. The response I got from the restaurant was pretty surprising to me. No apology, just a: that’s terrible. And then a whole conversation started back and forth where the restaurant questioned the fact that it was their food that made us sick. And I was like: seriously? Just apologize, that would be good customer service! It turned out to be a step too far for the restaurant to admit that something might have been wrong with their food and apologize for that, even though they after investigating couldn’t find the exact reason.

This made me angry. I therefore considered going online and write a horrible review and post it on Google and TripAdvisor and any other food review site I can find. Avoid the tuna! These people don’t understand the art of communicating! You see where this was going….

But I didn’t. Instead I breathed, stood up and moved my body for a bit. I remember doing the same thing once when I was given news by a previous employer which made me really angry. As soon as the person told me this news I immediately stood up in the middle of the conference room, became super aware of my breathing and started to move my body. I noticed the person in the room being somewhat surprised by this reaction, as many adults I think usually just sit quiet, grind their teeth and stiffen their whole bodies when they receive news that makes them angry. But I believe that somewhere in our bodies our anger gets stored and for me it’s really vital to let this out.

I think all of us can recognize feeling angry because we feel we have been unjustly treated by other people, right? So far I haven’t met a single person who is totally cool about being treated in a way that feels unjust. I’m pretty sure you haven’t either.

To me it is so interesting to feel my body’s reactions in the moments when something like this happens. My heart beats fast, I feel anger as a ball of fire inside me and it just needs to come out physically. Jumping a bit, making some noise, breathing consciously: generally all types of body movement or voicing really helps me a lot in de-pressurizing myself. Another truly wonderful way to do this is by doing Osho’s Dynamic meditation. In just an hour this meditation transforms me completely, without fail! The wonderful thing with all of this is that I don’t affect anyone by letting anger come out of my body in these ways: I keep it to myself instead of immediately attacking someone else.

And then I realize: I can’t control what happened but I can control my reaction to it. As soon as I have just let off some steam by myself it is easier for me to think more clearly again. I realize that I have a choice in how I react, and that makes me feel powerful in much more grounded way.

The author Karen Salmansohn said:

Being angry at somebody is easier than telling them that they hurt you.

I find this so true! For me, this really is the preferred way to handle my anger. I therefore chose a different response to the restaurant. Instead of writing a bad review, I wrote them my truth. That I understand that this can happen, that I appreciate that they investigated the matter but that I would have liked to receive an apology even though they believe it’s not their food. Just because I really have felt terrible after having eaten at their place. And finally I wished them good luck with their business.

To me, the easy option would have been to write a terrible review on TripAdvisor but in the end this is just not a person I choose to be. I realize that the people in this restaurant have worked their ***** off to establish their business, that they are tired and that they need some time to make everything roll smoothly. Is that me being too understanding? Perhaps. But the fact remains that I like to keep on trying to put myself in someone else’s position and see things from their point of view. It just makes it easier for me to let go of anger, once I realize that all of us just are really trying in our own way.

I can’t write about anger without also mentioning sadness. Because I have found that these two emotions are invariably connected. Whenever I feel angry, the underlying feeling is that I am sad. This never fails to be true for me! In the case of the restaurant, I felt not believed which makes me sad because I really like being seen by other people as a honest person. In the case of my previous job I felt not good enough and that hurt me. To me it’s always interesting to investigate inside myself whenever I feel angry: what is it that I am also sad about here? And when I do this, I always learn something interesting about myself and what makes me me. Love when that happens!

PS (can’t help it, it’s one of the perks of having my own blog):
If you’re ever in Altea, I would recommend you to avoid the tuna at La Buena Vida…

Photo: Matthew Brodeur – unsplash.com


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