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  • Writer's pictureLily T

Thought piece : Dealing with anger and frustration

Updated: Jan 22

Anger and frustration can be harmful to yourself and also to anyone around you who has to take it in, it’s not that life is always easy and things always go your way, it's just that there is always another way to look at a situation, two sides to every story. Working to perfect the art of not resorting to anger and frustration is a big part of my mental well being. Making the conscious decision to accept that most things are just “not that deep” has been very helpful to me. For example, spilling a drink, breaking a bowl, or your cat knocking over a plant you've had for years. All things that in my eyes could be extremely frustrating and depending on the severity could be means for some anger and maybe an outburst. The idea that if only you hadn’t moved your hand that way the drink would still be full, but things just happen, and being angry at yourself and blaming it on you does nothing to bring you drink back. The only thing to do is to go get a towel, clean it up and hopefully be able to get another. And that bowl that was special, maybe a friend gave it to you, maybe a family member, either way you were using the bowl which is maybe the one intention and use a bowl has. Sure you didn’t intend to break it, why would you, so that's why you clean it up, making sure you get all of the little pieces. Before bagging it and putting it in the trash you could thank it, it was a bowl and it was doing bowl things and that's great, it’s appreciated and that's all. Maybe later that day your cat jumps up on a particularly precarious spot that you have put a plant on, maybe you thought about it a bit when you had set it there, just a quick thought to yourself wondering if it was really a good spot. Your cat never jumps there, you think so it will be okay, and anyways… it wasn’t. The sound of the plant falling and the pot breaking was scary for him and he ran off, leaving you with the soil, pot bits, and poor little plant. I think you know where I am going with this. OH WELL. Okay to sigh, to care about the mess, but more important to breathe, clean it up, and appreciate that anything ever happens at all.

So I guess forgiving yourself is probably the easiest way to start working on your inner anger. In those situations it could be easy to curse or frustratingly sweep everything in a dustpan and throw it right out while thinking to yourself about how stupid you were to knock the drink over, how clumsy it was to drop that bowl, or how you should have never put that plant there in the first place but that goddamn cat is the one you should really blame because he should have known better. None of which are true.

No matter how important a physical object may be to you, being angry at yourself, the object, the situation, or the possible other perpetrator is never the answer to that true feeling of loss. For example, being angry at your cat afterwards is silly, him sitting there listening to you go on about how annoying he is or how frustrated you are on his behalf has absolutely no effect on him… well none that are inherently positive that is. He may be scared of you for a bit afterwards, be more cautious of his movements, and spend some time alone. That doesn’t mean it will never happen again. It just means you won’t have a cat to keep your feet warm for the night. Same goes for the blame you could bring on yourself for breaking something, you could curse yourself out in your head and put yourself down everytime you think about that oh so special bowl you broke but what is the point of that. Maybe going forward you don’t use bowls with any special value to you for the use they are meant for, they sit in your cupboard and you look at them from time to time but mostly they just catch dust. All your cooking could be done with your “second class” bowls, ones you don’t care about breaking or using too much, but that can bring the fun out of using a bowl. Wouldn’t you rather that everything you use you love and everytime you bake something it reminds you of something special?

Of course not everything that is frustrating could be categorized as an accident that can easily be blamed on yourself, that being said it also doesn’t mean that the frustrating things other people can do are done intentionally to frustrate you. Loud chewers, bad drivers, and slow walkers, all little things you may encounter when going out for lunch. The idea that the gentleman next to you is chewing loudly, that the driver across the intersection didn’t even signal, and that the lady walking in front of you is taking her sweet old time, are all things done just to piss you off… is most likely not the case. The most likely option is that that guy doesn’t hear his own chewing, that person in the car wasn’t exactly sure where they were going (or they were distracted, shame on them), and the lady in front of you just isn’t in the same rush as you! OH WELL. The thing is, it’s unlikely you will turn to the chewer and tell him to shut up so you can enjoy your sandwich, instead you will sit in your frustration and eat your own sandwich without even thinking about how it tastes. You probably won’t follow that driver home and confront them when they get out of the car about their poor road manners, instead you will sit in silence for the rest of the car ride and think over and over again about how absent minded some people can be and just let that build up in you before work. You also hopefully won’t walk right behind the lady until you get close enough to flat tire her, then flip her off when she stops to re-adjust her shoe leaving her astonished and maybe even a little frustrated with you… funny how that works.



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