WHAT ANGER CAN TEACH US ABOUT HAPPINESS
One of the most common misconceptions about happiness is that you have to be happy all the time to claim "happiness abound." Nothing could be further from the truth. Of course, we are aiming for happiness most of the time but we just wouldn't be humans or be able to experience true happiness without the complete range of other emotions available to us. In fact, it's the emotions of sadness and anger that can teach us the most about ourselves and what we enjoy or don't.
My biggest emotional fault is that I am VERY prone to anger. In the past I've written at how I came to write this blog and start my happiness journey... it all started with anger. I was running my wedding planning business and it was a very competitive and catty market. I learned to always be on the defense, which in turn made me a bitter and angry person to be around. It was when I was out of the industry, living in a different city, and my husband commented (for the 100th time) that he missed the old me that wasn't angry and pissed off all the time, that I realized that I needed a change and I wanted to recapture the happiness I once had.
Now, years later, I am much better but still prone to quick anger. One positive is that my temper usually burns out very quickly. But it is still there occasionally and even more so if the same person is continually a trigger. Once such occasion was yesterday. I lost my temper on and in front of the wrong people and once it burned out, I felt completely terrible. Sadness at my lack of control and at my jumping to conclusions, frustration at my inability to be free of judgment in the situation, and at what a terrible person I must be to let myself get like this. When things like this come up, I often also worry what the people who saw me like this must think. I'm sure it's not pretty and no matter how "justified" in the moment, it's never the right path to take.
All of that said, I learn my best lessons after I get angry. Without anger... there'd be no happiness abound blog and I wouldn't be the person I am today. Without anger, I wouldn't look back and learn what I like or dislike, what I can tolerate and what I can't. In the example of yesterday's outburst, I learned that excellence and communication are very important to me. I also learned that if someone has repeatedly frustrated me, the likelihood of me giving them the benefit of the doubt is zero (which probably isn't very fair to them). I learned that I should figure out all the facts before jumping to conclusions and to take a breath before flying off the handle.
No one is perfect and we shouldn't expect our emotions to always be perfectly happy all the time either. Anger, which then turns to sadness and frustration, has taught me many lessons. And while I still strive to keep my temper in check, I'm grateful to feel angry and sad and to learn when I feel these emotions. They help me grow and they also help me value my happy, not in-a-temper self all the more. What have your "unsavory" emotions taught you? How do they contribute to your happiness?
Photo by Buzz Andersen