Jan 2011 I decided to give up my anger. Among other factors, I felt that my anger had been the primary reason, at times instigator, sometimes the catalyst for all the negative situations that had arisen in my home. True, a lot of horrible things happened to me, and I hadn’t done anything to deserve them. But caught up in self-pity and desirous of sympathy and attention, I refused to consider if I could have chosen to not get angry, and, thereby, prevented situations from worsening.
With my 20/20 hindsight, it’s so easy to see where I could have not shouted, toned down my reactions, and removed provocation. In the false sense of calmness that I feel while looking back, I know I could have handled things better, leading to very different, maybe even positive consequences.
I can’t bring the time back, I can’t change anything in the past. Neither am I so confident that I will do things differently in the future. It’s far too easy, and too damn difficult to “Never ever get angry!”. But I know how I feel now. The regrets in my heart don’t help me forgive others, but pretty much put the ball firmly in my court. The sense of control that I have on my own actions, makes me feel that at least for the time being, I can choose peace over anger. And that I think is far more sustainable than trying to control all of my future. “For the time being” is so much easier to predict and handle than “never”, “always”, and “forever”, don’t you think?
So, here’s my renewed choice for 2012 that I make today: When I need to, my first choice will be peace and calm, cooperation and understanding, not anger or disruption.
Last year, I could count the number of times I lost my temper on the fingers of one hand. Each time, the consequence was bad. Very strangely, I was became increasingly aware of my feelings every time. Perhaps the first time I lost it last year, I was too caught up in the situation to acknowledge my emotions, the rise of anger, fueled by my sense of righteousness and ego. The last time I did it on Dec 25, 2011, I was so darned aware of what was happening inside me and the way the whole situation was proceeding towards disaster, that I could almost feel myself standing on one side, watching myself rip the scene with my rants, and I knew exactly what was going to happen after I’d finished doing it. And it happened exactly that way, minute-by-minute the scene played out my script. Unfortunately, even in my sense of awareness, I was unable to find the alternate way of handling that situation. It was like I knew what I was doing was wrong, and I totally let myself do it.
Well, my morbid curiosity is certainly satisfied now! And the more I thought over it, again and again, I realized what I should have done instead. A much more liberating thought than that helplessness that I had allowed myself to feel! What else can I do in this situation? How long can I keep my mouth shut? When will they understand and do the right thing? These questions still rake my mind. But this time I know what I can do. I know how I could have changed my responses to the situation, and changed it towards a better end.
Here’s what I realized:
What else can I do in this situation? – Nothing, if that is really the only option.
How long can I keep my mouth shut? – Always, if I cannot think of the right thing to say.
When will they understand and do the right thing? – One day they will understand. But that day is not today. So, I just need to wait.
Choosing to do nothing, to say nothing, and to just wait suddenly does not seem like a sense of helplessness. I realized that it’s a deliberate choice that I am making, and I am being smart if by controlling myself, I am preventing the situation from worsening. Inaction doesn’t seem so bad now, especially when I can do silent Daimoku while I think the right thing to say or do. 🙂