Why So Angry?

I’ve been looking for fictional books that are uplifting and in answer to my quest a dear friend loaned me Breakfast with Buddha by Ronald Merullo.

In the book, Otto Ringling, a New York publishing executive is tricked into a cross-country road tour with a Russian guru named Rinpoche. The guru is a gentle soul and Ringling is a tad uptight. During the week-long trek, Rinpoche repeatedly asks his reluctant tour guide, “Why so angry?”

That, my friends, is an excellent question.

I don’t know about you, but when things don’t go my way, I am prone to internal temper tantrums. If there’s no one around these tantrums become externalized causing Paco, the biggest dog in our household much worry (the littler dog could really care less). While I’m loudly expressing my frustration, Paco nervously hovers nearby, ever alert to protect me from whatever danger I am facing. Poor guy—he doesn’t understand that the danger is coming from me.

When I can’t figure out what’s bugging me, I journal; it’s a very effective discovery tool. The question I wrote at the top of the journal page this morning was Rinpoche’s query, “Why so angry?”

I find that most people are rather adept at handling life’s big problems. We glide confidently through problems with kids, friends’ health scares, and airplane delays. But let the copier break down when it is REALLY needed and suddenly we throw a fit, convinced that it’s part of a conspiracy to make life miserable. If you look carefully, the items on the first list share something in common—they are out of our control. But copiers? We have some silly notion that they will do our bidding wherever and whenever we need.

The Law of Attraction says that you get more of what you focus on. When we get upset about little things like copiers (or cell phones or cars) not working properly, what is almost always underneath the upset is a belief that the subject of annoyance is standing in the way of us getting whatever it is we want.

For example, if the copier jams when I am making copies of handouts for a presentation, I become angry because I think the copier is to blame if I show up unprepared and looking unprofessional.

Have you noticed that these upsets usually happen when we have the least amount of time to deal with them? Let’s slow down for a moment and consider that. If I’m making copies for a presentation that is two days from now and the copier jams, I don’t get upset. I know I have plenty of time to get them done and to show up looking professional. But if the copier jams at midnight when the presentation is the next morning, you can BET I’m plenty upset.

When we have to rush to get something done, our complete focus is on time limitations. What do we attract as a result? More events that will further limit our time!

Why so angry?

Because I know I did it to myself. Because there’s no one else to blame. Often I’m angry because I’m re-learning a lesson on a topic I thought I had already mastered.

Anger can be a gift if we are willing to peel away the outer skin and look at what’s underneath. Whenever I have the courage to look, I discover that the anger has to do with not taking care of myself in some way.

• Getting projects done a few days in advance of the deadline is a way to
take care of ourselves

• Being early for appointments is a way of taking care of ourselves

• Planning things so you have all the necessary resources in place when
it’s time to perform the task is a form of self-care.

Why so angry?

For me, it’s because I know I’m the biggest obstacle standing between what I have and what I want. How about you? Why so angry?

Download a PDF of this column