I hate getting angry. Hate it. I despise how it makes me feel physically or how it twists an okay, or even a good, day into an utter crap-fest. So, it’ll come as no surprise that I try to avoid letting anger take hold.
But, when someone wastes my time, I find it hard to reign in my temper. In my latest Author Journal post, I mentioned that a time-waster cost me three days of my holiday on a project that wasn’t the emergency they’d professed it to be.
I’d half expected to lose it; I mean, I’d spent three days prepping and writing for a project that could have waited. But I was eerily calm. The kind of quiet where deep in the background, you know something big is building. Before I could analyze exactly what was building, an odd series of thoughts struck me, Why can’t I do what I used to do? Why can’t I take a step back and find the good in things anymore? Is there anything good that can come out of this fuck up?
Apparently, the pragmatic part of me woke up from a deep sleep. Did I want to be rational? Or did I want to dive headlong into the anger and wallow in it, in the hope that somewhere along the way, I found some catharsis? Part of me wanted to wallow, wanted to get angry about being screwed over…
But, anger is such a time-consuming emotion. And let’s be honest, without a cathartic release, or your anger leading to the best revenge plan ever, it’s also a time-wasting emotion. I’d already lost too much time, and I wasn’t in the mood to lose more.
Forcing the Good (or Planning for Evil)
So, in full grump mode, I grabbed a pen and some sheets of fancy paper and set about forcing some good out of a crappy situation. (The fancy paper was in case I came up with an excellent revenge plan. You don’t want that on tissue-thin printer paper.)
I’d planned on writing down every single thing about the situation that angered me, but after two short, very sweary paragraphs, I was done.
But I wasn’t happy.
I then tapped into how I used to find the good in things. What were the silver linings in what happened? I decided that I wasn’t moving from my desk until I got ten silver linings down on the page.
The whole thing took me less than thirty minutes. By the end, I’d voiced my annoyance, vented a fair bit of my anger, and felt better for it. I was stronger for it. I took control of my emotions; they didn’t control me. Plus, on top of my list of ten, I had a bonus silver lining, this post.
Want to Give it a Shot?
- Take some deep breaths.
- Get a pen, one you enjoy writing with, and some nice paper. (Typing doesn’t give the same visceral connection as scribbling madly across the page.)
- Write one or two–yes, only one or two–paragraphs about why you’re angry, about how you feel. Be specific, e.g. you feel insulted. Go wild. Get it all out. Go until all you have left are the petty things, e.g. your coffee is now cold because they made you angry.
- Now. Force yourself to write ten positives from the situation. I struggled for the first three, but then they started flowing.
- Give yourself a pat on the back for taking charge of the situation!
… and Breathe
Will this work for everyone? Probably not. But it might work for some, and that’s good enough in my book.
Have you ever tried this kind of silver lining method? Do you think it could work for you?
Thanks for reading. Next Friday, I’ll be back with a new “What I’m Reading” post. See you soon!