2017 Theme: Accepting the Glass is Half Empty Too

by | Jan 4, 2017

2016 was rough, ya’ll.

I’m not going to sugar coat it, and I won’t go on a diatribe listing what all happened. Because, really, some GOOD things happened along with all the bad. SOME good things came out of SOME of the bad as well.

But here’s something I haven’t shared and that doesn’t often present itself in public: I’m angry a LOT.

Not that kind of angry that I take it out physically on others, and don’t always lash out verbally. More of an internal rage that builds and builds until I feel like my head is going to explode. Sometimes, and more and more often, because of all the anger, I DO lash out much more vocally than my reputation of cool-headedness would otherwise be the norm. I can think of three instances that I wish had not.

Now, here’s the thing; I research, I try new things, I listen to stuff, I read, and more. All this to try to understand WHY I’m so angry a lot. I’ve sat in a group to exorcise it. I’ve drawn images and burned it. I even tried stuffing it WAY DOWN DEEP inside into a little ball and forgetting about it (just kidding…sorta).

One thing I read said, ‘anger lets you know when boundaries are being crossed.’ That held some truth, but it wasn’t really hitting the mark.

So what the heck? WHY DO I GET SO ANGRY?

Anger Sharks by Eric Huber
(based on a line from Anger Management)

Another Disappointment

Christmas is, traditionally, the beginning of fun, family, friends and time off from work from my business. A time to recharge. A time to plan for the next year. To set goals. To reconnect. To… relax.

This year, as part of the whole 2016 debacle, there was loss of a relative, a loss of a friend, and I got sicker than I have been in many years basically putting me down for nearly the entire break. The GOOD was that I did get to enjoy Christmas and felt a little better to be with friends and my sweetie on New Years Eve. But overall, it was a bust for what I had hoped for.

But a strange thing happened over the break. A random video popped up on a non-account YouTube channel that presented a title that gave me pause: “How Not to be Angry All the Time.”

Ding. Ding. Ding. Of COURSE I watched it.

And MAN did I disagree with it. A lot!

But there was something about it. Some nugget of wisdom. And I decided to stay open with it and ‘play’ with the idea.

Might watch it and then read more of what I’ve decided to try…

PESSIMISM? Really?

I’ve nearly always been a glass is half full, or even the funnier, “Even if the glass is empty, you can refill it” kinda person. My philosophy has been, “Hope for the best. Plan for the worst.” I always thought that made me a pessimistic optimist… or an optimistic pessimist.

But this video is saying that my anger is all from being disappointed that my deep deep hopes are being crushed by reality. That I should just accept that everything is horrible in the world and be a pessimist and life will be better.

I disagreed, as I said above, a lot. But I decided to stay open and see when I got angry and why.

Low and behold, I got angry when things didn’t go as I had ‘hoped’ or ‘planned’ for them to go.

What does this mean for my persona? My very soul!?? Do I need to become a pessimist to be happy?

 

Going to the Well

So… I researched, asked questions, even talked to my dad (who, most likely, was a source of my optimistic pessimism). Within a few conversations, people disagreed, but then came back to an interesting point. And, to my surprise, it was my father who said, after confessing he got the same message from his dad, “Maybe instead of ‘Planning for the worst and hoping for the best,’ it’s more of ‘Planning for the worst and accepting whatever happens.'” (I may have paraphrased). Accepting what ‘is’ then?

Realizing this sounded familiar, a friend said, ‘That’s Buddhist; Acceptance of what presents.” And my smart, learned, lovely wife shared, “You should let go of how you think things should be and accept them as they are.”

Man, they all pissed me off!

Just kidding.

 

The Theme, Then…

No, I’m not going to be pessimistic in life, but I think I understand. I believe I have, in some situations, adopted that belief.

The video says, “Despite all life experience proving otherwise, Fred has a deep deep hope that…” he’ll get the outcome that he wants. And when he doesn’t, he gets angry. I’ve experienced that with airline flights and I now expect that I will always have a delay. I don’t. But I expect it now. My reaction if it is delayed is simply, ‘meh.’ And when it runs on time, ‘cool!’

My theme for the year is to do my best to see situations as they really are, to listen to people where they really are, and to look at myself, where I really am. The glass is half-empty, sure. It is also half-full. Plus, it is a glass, and can be emptied and refilled. That’s how glasses work.

Here’s to an amazing year ahead. But if it’s not, that’s okay too.

Whoa. This might just work.