Ever learn about yourself while giving heartfelt advice to someone else?
My kid served as a mirror this morning, as I discussed why he should not quit on his “tech” teacher at school.
It ain’t easy admitting that you, the parent, may need the same sage advise as the child. Worse yet, is trying to reason with a 17-year-old. They are so smart, they know practically everything to know in this world.
Yet, I think it may have sunk in when I told him to “take one step back, to take two steps forward.” His reply: “Yeah, dad,” was less of a quip, and more like an “understanding,” if you know what I mean. Sometimes it’s not what you say that counts, it’s “how you say it.” I am confidant he will reach a good solution at school.
Our talk got me thinking about my life and my challenges, particularly with the boiling sea of rage that simmers slightly below the surface and has served me well in competition and aggressive behavior in the work force, but has done little but burn the edges of my relationships with family and friends. They see the volcano-like explosions. They get no warning. The smallest slight perceived by me can often serve as a trigger to fire up the greatest roar.
But someone told me to stop myself the next time anger begins to ignite. My new blogger friend, Belle, said to wait before reacting, to actually watch the fiery display within and try my best not to react.
I took that to mean “step back” from the flame, not let it consume me, but also to not let it “control” me as it has most of my life. It controls me to the extent that I immediately “react” to its inflammation, I seek some sort of mobility hoping that any effort on my part will help to “control” it.
I have not been able to control it for some 15 years now, and I may have actually been fooling myself about my so-called “self-control” I have so proudly thought I exhibited in the many years before that. As I grew to maturity, so did my anger. It may have even surpassed me in its vitality, if one can use such a word to describe such a robust emotion. Why could I not have the same burst of love or joy, or even envy? Yeah, I’ll take daily doses of envy in it full regalia as opposed to the ever-present looming of my Demon, Mr. Anger.
“Stepping back,” however, would enable me to breath a little deeper, permitting myself to surrender to the emotion, but not act on it. I could try to see if the feeling truly is Anger and not shame, guilt or some other closely related emotional sibling. By identifying it, I might be able to understand why I feel the way I do, if it was something from my past childhood, former relationships, past jobs, or even the big one, the war and the later PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder).
Not sure what step to take next.
May have enough on my hands just to begin this process.
I’ll let you know how it goes.
that is, if I don’t break this god dam keyboard that never responds the freaking way it should and I never should have started one of these stupid blogs because i ain’t no good and no matter what I do i know i’ll just end up a failure and no one ever really loved me to begin with.
Whoa, now that’s not taking a step backwards, but taking a plunge into an angry moment. Operative word here, of course, is “plunge.”
Step back, Michael. Observe. See what the anger becomes as it manifests inside. Don’t respond. Don’t react.
Just, let it be.