Why do I get so easily derailed?
I know what I need to do with my day, and yet here I am barely getting into first gear. I’m finding making any forward momentum happen challenging.
Then, just for good measure, I am getting frustrated because of something I cannot figure out.
Will this lead me to self-sabotage? Will I seek out more distractions to avoid doing what I need to do today?
This is something I face on a regular basis, and it’s infuriating. Yet I know the source.
I am often reminded of a conversation between Tony Stark and Bruce Banner in the first Avengers movie. Stark keeps pestering Banner for the secret of how he avoids the rage that turns him into the Incredible Hulk. As the final battle begins and Captain America tells him to get angry, Banner explains,
“That’s my secret, Captain. I’m always angry.”
I can far too easily relate to this issue. It feels like I am always angry, and it is just beneath the surface waiting for something to bring it to the top.
Why do I feel that I am always angry? Maybe taking a closer look will help me get some answers. And if you share a similar experience this may be useful for you, too.
External factors at a distance causing anger
In 2016 Donald Trump won the election (thanks to the outdated Electoral College) and became President. I knew it wouldn’t be good, but I had some small hope that maybe, just maybe, now that he was done pandering to the ignorant masses to get the vote he might prove to be at least vaguely competent.
Three years later, the whole thing is FUBAR. He is a self-aggrandizing liar, corrupt, and dangerously incompetent. Just to add fuel to the fire the Republican Party is still supporting him, his destructive policies, and his hate speech and empowerment of ugly groups like white supremacists.
If I read too much beyond headlines and basic news my blood quickly boils. This is so, so unpleasant, wrong, and disgusting. What’s more, because of the nature of Trump and his Party they are expanding already existent divides that WERE being bridged by past governments.
This is not right. And I can’t do jack shit about it.
I am so, so angered by this. That people follow these nimrods and support their policies of hate and exclusion. That the uber-wealthy only care about themselves and their fortunes and destroy the fabric of society and the planet for their gain. In wide-eyed disbelief, I watch people support ideas that hurt them because they’re blinded by illogical, senseless hate and rage.
It’s hard not to let my anger about this overwhelm me. And there is very little to nothing I can do about it except protest, write articles, make calls and emails, and vote in elections.
But the anger simmers, even when the heat has been turned off.
External factors nearby causing anger
All too often I still seek to be accepted by people. How other people think of me is still something that matters far too much. Because of this, I get angry. Although in this instance it’s largely at me.
Certain friends and family do things or are doing things that upset and anger me. Some are intentional, but the majority are just by-products of other matters. They have their own issues that they may or may not be working on, and my anger stems from either being impacted by their issues and my involvement — or non-involvement.
For example, there is a group within my social circles that is behaving in a manner I really want to go off on them about. I want to say some angry things to them…which will do nobody any good at all and I know it. So I mostly hold it in…except when I bitch to people I trust.
This then makes me angry because of the fact that the thing makes me angry in the first place. See the vicious circle here? If ever there were a better example of like attracting like in a bad way I don’t think I can top this one.
Though the people and matter angering me are close, they are still outside my control. I can’t do anything about it, which unsurprisingly just gets me more annoyed.
I can’t do anything to change the external factors but do my damnedest to release and let them go. The only way to do that is by addressing what is inside of me.
Internal factors causing anger
Yes, I am working as a writer and audiobook reader. I currently have 2 books to record this week. Also, I have business to take care of today for my hobby group and work to do on a website for another.
Busy, yes. Making sufficient money to pay my bills? Hardly. I am angry because I just don’t understand why I am not getting this to work. Sure, I have enjoyed some success…but I am still not making enough money to justify continuing on this track.
I am angry because I don’t understand. It feels like I am a huge disappointment. I know that that’s applicable to the people in my life, but even more to myself.
And then, because I haven’t enough from this, I get angry when I fail to control my diet, don’t get enough exercise, skip my daily meditation, and feel like I am a big fat failure at life. You would think by now I’d have more to show for my existence.
Angry. So very angry. I want to rage, to break things. To yell, scream, and demand of the Universe what I need to do, what I need to prove. It simmers beneath the surface, and the slightest provocation threatens to turn the simmer into a full boil.
This might be why I closed my emotions off for a few decades
A quick history
When my parents divorced I was 6 years old. I was one of those sensitive kids, and I shut down my feelings. Well, most of them anyhow. Anger remained.
I could call up angry at the drop of a hat. Used to get so upset I would punch walls. Throw and smash cordless phones. Flip chairs. Scream, shout, and rage (but I NEVER hurt or threatened a living being).
Then I met the best therapist I ever had. We got to the roots of my depression and where and when and how I cut off emotion. With that, I was able to feel things other than anger and negativity.
With mindfulness, meditation, and frankly anti-depressant drugs, I got it to remain at a simmer 98% of the time.
It’s still there. And I know that it always will be. I also know that I can take control over it.
The practice of mindfulness is becoming aware of what you are thinking, what and how you are feeling, and the actions you take. Simple? On the surface, yes. But in practice not so much.
It is too easy to forget that you are in control of your thoughts, feelings, and actions. When you feel things and think things because of the impact of outside influences, it’s easy to forget that you can change it once it begins.
I feel the anger. I can see it. Now it’s up to me to determine if I will allow it to be my dominant feeling…or if I will take action to change it. What I do with that will be how it goes.
Writing this out has put it into perspective because here it is in front of me. This is a product of brain weasels, of outside influences, and my own feelings of inadequacy.
Deep breath. Release the anger. Deep breath. Draw in peace. Deep breath. Forgive myself. Deep breath. Release the anger. Repeat.
I think a new affirmation is in order, here.
My anger is mine. It can empower me to action or it can disempower me to woe. The choice belongs to me. I choose to empower myself. I am worthy and deserving of releasing my anger and consciously creating my reality.
Yes. That feels right.
If you have a similar experience like this, I hope my ideas will help you to become more aware and help you practice mindfulness to live life to its fullest.
You are worthy and deserving of using your mindfulness to find and/or create the reality in which you desire to live. When all is said and done you and I matter, and we can control our anger rather than allow it to control us.