We have thought that anger often has a cause in us not having what we want, or expected, or losing something that we had. It can be trivial, it can be something intangible. But very often it is the desire to have something or control something which plants the seeds of anger within us.
Our feelings to do appear without a reason. They do not happen because of circumstances but because of our own thoughts, memories and attitudes. We know this is the case because several people can be sitting around a table with one cake in the middle of it. If someone else comes along and takes the cake and eats it we will probably see different responses. Maybe one or two people will become very angry. But others might not be bothered at all. So it is not the situation and circumstance which produces our feelings. It is what we think about the situation or circumstance, or memories we have about similar experiences.
What do we need to do if we grow angry very easily and overwhelmingly? We need to start thinking about our thoughts, perhaps in a way we have not done before. Here is what we can do? Get a notebook. Several times a day, certainly at the end of the day, make a note of all the times you became angry or started to feel like anger was building up inside you.
- Write down what was happening when you started to feel anger.
- Write down what you were thinking or what memories were in your mind.
- Write down any words that were in your mind at the time.
- Try to write down… I was feeling anger because I thought….
- Then also write down what you did, the behaviour that the feeling produced.
Why should we do this? It is because we feelings don’t just happen. They are produced by thoughts and memories. We can only tackle the feelings if we start to see what the thoughts and memories are that feed and sustain them. If anger is a primary fault that grows from seeds planted within us, then we need to discover what those seeds are. They are not directly the behaviour of others, or our circumstances, but what we are thinking and the memories that come to us in those circumstances.
If we want to start addressing our anger then we need to know what provokes and fuels it within ourselves. So keep a journal for a week or so. Reflect on what keeps coming up. Find the common thoughts and memories which are often there, saying the same things in our mind, or putting the same remembrances before us. Then we can consider what they all mean and how they have power to disturb us.