Turns out we are not angry with the world, but ourselves
IMAGINE that your day is going well.
You have gotten on top of some of your tasks and are feeling good about it.
Then as you are out picking up a few groceries, one of your fellow shoppers drops a can of food.
Then they lose it.
They turn and they swear at you, abusing you for making them drop their can.
What would you do in that situation?
Would you tell them off for abusing you?
Would you claim innocently that it wasn't your fault?
Would you yell abuse back at them?
Would you smile politely and walk away?
No doubt, this would be an uncomfortable situation, but it is also one which would start to reveal some of your subconscious programming on how to deal with life.
Are you a people pleaser?
Are you an aggressive angry person with middle digit extended to the world?
Do you avoid conflict, not even able to make eye contact?
Such an incident would activate our capacity to take things personally. Here we were, happily living our lives when somebody comes along and ruins it.
The reality is, that our day could only be ruined if there is a part of us that takes things personally.
That somehow we would feel that the actions, behaviours, feelings, and attitudes of others was somehow our responsibility.
How we then deal with this feeling of responsibility would determine our reaction or our response.
If we feel overly responsible for the reactions of others, if we have taken it personally, then we might jump in to the rescue, apologising profusely.
Ironically, taking it personally could also mean that we feel guilty about it and simply move on, avoiding the confrontation.
An aggressive response is because not only do we take things too personally, but we feel it and resent it.
Turns out, we are not so much angry with the world, but angry with ourselves.
Now what if we had jostled this person, clumsily or deliberately, could we take a degree of responsibility then?
Absolutely! Yet we are still not responsible for the reactions of others, only to ourselves.
When we realise that we are not responsible for the behaviour, feelings or attitudes of others, only to ourselves, we can begin to stop playing the subtle games of manipulation and control that can rob us of our sense of peace and happiness.
Paul Stewart is a Personal Coach with Compassion Coaching compassion coaching.com.au, and also supports the inSight Men's Circle and Teen Tribe programs run through Hopelink 4979 3626.