Most of the time we accommodate feelings that we often cannot define.
We say things like “mixed-up emotions” or “something just ticked,” then move on to feel other emotions we again don’t bother to put a finger on.
Well, certain emotions need to be understood specifically if we want to reduce our anger level. Anger is a destructive distraction, and a chronic dose of it pretty much takes control of our whole lives.
The emotion we need to understand to do away with anger is disappointment.
And in particular, disappointment following a good-natured intent on your part.
For example, when you genuinely wish something good for somebody, and you suggest that to the person, and that person refuses, you feel disappointed. You feel angry, because it was a good thing you offered to them; you wished them well - but they just didn’t accept it.
You feel misunderstood. You feel frustrated because they don’t understand what they’ve turned down. You are especially upset, because you just know how much better off they would have been had they listened to you.
Say you have a little brother. He’s come to visit you in the city for a day, and you’re excited to show him around campus. You have a little tour planned out for him.
But he’s too busy meeting up with his friends. He’s bent on entering high-end bars and clubs with them, although (or, rather, because) they are underage.
He doesn’t come home in the evening, he doesn’t return your calls.
Feel angry? Yup. You are disappointed that he disregarded everything you thought up for him. You’re angry about his thoughtless choices. You are so sure he would be better off had he picked your version of a good trip.
Well, here’s the solution to disappointment.
Don’t be so sure. Don’t be so certain that your scenario was the best one, since you really can’t be absolutely right on outcomes unless, of course, you are God.
That’s the first step to ridding anger. You can shrug it off as, hey, so he chose that path. Maybe he was right to, maybe he wasn’t. I gave my input, and we’ll see which turns out the better. Actually, it’s not my responsibility in the first place to live my brother’s life. Getting angry on behalf of him without the power (nor the will) to live his life for him will only buy remorse from him anyway.
You’ve done what you can. Let him do his thing. And focus on your thing.
Trust me, it will do you wonders.