Per the instructions of their father, my grandkids returned to the house at 1pm for lunch, after playing with their friends most of the morning. Upon entering the house they immediately claimed they were not that hungry; first one and then the other. I retorted that they needed to separate playing from lunch. I said it was important that they have their nourishment. My granddaughter looked at me and asked, “why are you angry?”
This is not the first time in my life where someone has claimed that I was angry when I pointed out something to them. I wonder why. Is it my tone of voice or the volume. How did my face look at that moment or did my posture suggest something that I did not intend? Perhaps it was something else, perhaps there was anger; not “mad” anger, but something else close to anger. Perhaps some level of irritation, or perhaps impatience. Whatever it is, I must look closer at myself to evaluate my feelings at the moment and then ask myself the critical question once again that was posed by my granddaughter, “why are you angry?”
Am I an angry person? It seems to be a good question to ask as so many people in the past have suggested this is the case. Perhaps I have become accustomed to appearing this way. It is certainly nothing that I intend to project, however, I am confident that I can easily become impatient and project that feeling to others.
What is this feeling called anger? Clearly it is an emotion, but what kind of emotion? How would you explain this emotion to someone that have never experienced it? I could say that it is an emotion that causes the heart to race; the face can become flush and the muscles can tense up in the body. It’s somewhat strange as that is also symptoms that can occur when you are close to someone with whom you have a secret crush or more simply the feeling of passion. So, how would anger differ from a passion?
To be accurate there are a lot of additional physical reactions to anger to include chemical releases from the brain. Still, something must initiate the emotions such that anger emerges.
Imagine that you see or hear something that you did not prefer to see or hear. How you react to this uncomfortable sensation is completely up to you. You could decide to be angry and the body could react to that decision. At the same time the brain will release a chemical to the frontal lobe of your brain that controls reason and, if you can just wait a few seconds, your brain may help you get past any reactions to this external stimuli. However, should you choose otherwise you can react any way you desire and explode in uncontrolled and irrational emotions simply by choice.
As you go through time, if you choose the path of anger too often you can achieve a state where the body and mind takes the path toward angry responses to situations without thought. We become used to responding with love or anger based on how we have conditioned ourselves. An example of conditioned responses, or cultural responses can be the anger maintained from both sides along the Gaza Strip. There has never been any positive result of that anger, it has only hurt multitudes of people but the decision to be angry overrides any other emotional choice.
I come to the point that I believe that we become so used to being angry that, without even trying, we respond to things in manners that appear angry despite our desire to do otherwise. To change how we respond takes more conditioning. First we need to understand that we are doing what others see us to be doing. The next step is to decide to change that behavior, and then taking actions on that decision.
“Why are you angry?” It is a good question; a question that makes me think. I like this about by granddaughter, she has the ability to ask simple questions that make me think. There is no reason to be angry; there is no reason to be impatient. The only thing I can do is make excuses but excuses are not what I need. Am I angry, I think the answer is yes. Do I have a reason to be angry, I think the answer is no. Do I think I know the answer to the question? Yes, I have something I think could be the reason but that is another story.
Are you angry? Do you know why? It is something to think about.