I’ve been thinking about a few things recently–yoga, anger, personal expectations, peace, and tenderheartedness. They all go together, I assure you. I found an article on Monday through LinkedIn, I believe, called “5 Steps to Controlling Your Anger.” I’ve written about it before, but sometime I notice that I get an odd satisfaction out of being angry.
Now, I don’t get mad at everyone and every thing, every step of the way. I consider myself a fairly tolerant person most of the time. I try to accept people’s opinions and beliefs, because, really, there’s no reason what I say will change someone’s political or religious convictions. (This is why there’s no point to political rhetoric on Facebook and Twitter, people.) However, when it comes to quick-temperedness, I think a lot of people are just raised a certain way and born with behavioral predispositions (nature vs. nurture). Somehow, between the two, I got some feisty gene or lessons in being non-calm. I’ve just never been that sweet, quiet, demure (dare I say nurturing?) kind of girl.
Except with cats…
I saw someone post on Facebook about the work they’re doing to help high schoolers achieve their full potential. Helping seniors pass and apply to college, helping juniors score as high as possible on standardized tests–all the things that make a truly compassionate person, pulling for individuals and groups, making a difference in the lives of an important population. This person, whom I truly respect, asked for positive thoughts and prayers to help these kids. Someone commented so eloquently, “Oh, Betty*, with that tender heart of yours…” (*name changed, obviously)
That simple Facebook comment was so moving to me. I don’t know why. Maybe because no one has ever told me that I have a tender heart. It brings my that suffocating feeling that comes right before tears overflow, tumble over eyelashes. Though I’m not crying (maybe that’s another sign of a lack of a tender heart), I feel emotional about it, because it’s such a rare phrase. It seems poetic to me. It seems so far from something that’s spoken or written nowadays. But I know it also affects me so much because no one has ever said it to me.
After reading the 5 Steps article and doing a little personal analysis, I think my “quick to anger” or feisty type of personality is a result of expectations. Step 4 in the piece notes this:
What are you telling yourself that makes you so angry? You can make yourself even more angry when you take things personally, interpret other people’s behavior as intentionally provocative, view an inconvenience as if it were a catastrophe, or label the other person as a bad person. Examine your thoughts and ask yourself if this event is worth getting angry over. Ask yourself if the other person is just doing what they do — but not singling you out. Ask yourself if it might be worth accepting that people don’t always live up to your expectations — but you don’t have to upset yourself about it.
I remember throwing full out tantrums when I was younger and things didn’t go the way I wanted, or expected them to, or planned for. I’m big on things going as planned… Maybe I’m a little OCD about it. This is not to say that tenderhearted people can’t be feisty or get riled up. Maybe it’s just to say that sometimes, fiery people want or need to be considered tenderhearted.
When I was taking yoga a few times a week, I really felt a difference in my patience level and how I handled disappointment. I don’t know if it was because I was totally zenned out, or what, but I could handle more stress. Unfortunately, my Friday afternoon yoga class was canceled and my hot yoga trial membership expired. So, I need another way to work on calming myself–to work on achieving inner peace and tenderheartedness, to stop being angry at little things I can’t control, to stop expecting people to live up to MY expectations.
Yesterday, I found a great resource for a quick meditation: Calm.com. It lets you choose among 2-, 10-, and 20-minute guided relaxations. You can choose a background sound from gentle rain to waves crashing on a beach to rivers bubbling and the sounds of nature doing it’s thing in other locations. A woman’s voice gently guides you into self-awareness and helps calm you. I just discovered it yesterday, but I listened to it over and over for an hour and a half. I haven’t used it while I’ve been upset, but I’m sure it’d be useful. Check it out. Do the 2-minute relaxation right now. It’s absolutely worth it.