I used to think that negative emotions were flaws. When I got angry, I used to think that it meant that there was something wrong with me.
There is a great example of this going on right now, and it’s the reason why I started writing this post. Right now at my work, I’m dealing with associates loitering at my desk. You see, my work area butts up against a very popular manager’s office. He is a good man, but he also is manager of one of the busiest departments in the company. So he frequently has people that need to speak with him….MANY people that need to speak with him. And frequently this means there is a line of people waiting their turn to talk to said manager. Some of those people waiting in said line loiter around my work area, look at my work screen, check out what I am doing work-wise and get really nosy.
It gets irritating. And I’m realizing more and more that it’s OK that I feel that way. More importantly, it’s OK when I get angry about it.
One concept that is preached in some new age movements is the concept that if someone or something bothers you to the point of anger, it means there is an area within you that needs work. Further, the person that is bothering you is doing you a favor by showing you a weakness within yourself.
This is a concept that I’ve struggled with this concept for a long time. Like other new age concepts I have found a grain of truth to this, however, taken into extreme, this concept ends up hurting the person who tries to obey it each and every time they have a negative emotion.
The practice of seeking out what bothers you about an issue is good when you are dealing with some things, especially some of the issues that are out there today. I firmly believe that lots of the emotion tied to issues today are because there are too many people out there that don’t deal with their own issues. Sometimes it’s because they realize subconsciously that position they have is based on faulty thought, instead it’s a stance that they just ‘feel’ is right without looking at the real evidence for or against the issue. Maybe the issue just hits too close to home to a traumatic event for the person that they need to deal with before they can have a clear head about the issue. Whatever the cause, I believe our task when this happens is to investigate further, figure out the root cause of that emotion, and learn to deal with our own personal baggage so that we can see the more clearly.
Saying that, I do believe there are things that must be vetted prior to doing this work on sensitive issues. First, you need to be in a position of safety to deal with those issues that might be related to a traumatic event. And second, you need to know when to stop.
I didn’t know when to stop.
If I was upset about the weather, I considered it my flaw. I considered it a flaw if I got mad because I had to re-explain something to someone at work for the 3rd time because they refused to listen the first two. I considered it a flaw if I was angry at someone for interrupting me when I was deep in the middle of very highly detailed work. I forgot those things were OK; and that I am only human.
As humans, we will never be perfect. We will never be without flaws, no matter how much we push forward and deal with our baggage. We will never be able to always say the right things. We will never be able to always handle every emotion that we have. We can work to do what we can with those emotions, but we need to realize that we are never going to stop having the occasional negative emotion, and that is OK. I had to allow that for myself.
Once I realized that, it became much easier to realize how much I truly was beating myself up because I couldn’t control each and every emotion that I had. I had done my work (and still do it when I realize there is something I can fix), but that doesn’t mean that I can’t be pissed at the non-management schmuck who decides to be nosy and see if I’m really doing the work that I am paid to do, or if I’m just playing on Facebook or cruising the internet.
The other thing I realized is that anger can be awesome when you need to harness energy. I’ve done it training for races already, where I get mad and push through that last mile before I quit. And I’m learning to do it with my fibromyalgia as well. Sometimes you just need to get mad in order to get through the flare that hits during the work day.
I’m still playing with this, but I have to say it finally feels good to allow myself to feel the so called ‘negative’ emotions. They are a part of me, and since I have accepted that I have felt more genuine than I have in years. Moreover, since this realization, I’ve been able to dismiss that which I do not need a lot easier as well and look forward to where else this realization will take me.