February 16, 2016

The Mindful Life Illustrated: Facing our Anger.

Mike MedagliaI’m not easy to anger.

Anger is not a part of my daily life or something I have to control. I am generally a peaceful person who would rather laugh at a situation then get angry about it.

Most situations that might cause me anger seem to turn into funny ones when I view them objectively.

Last night I hit my shoulder on a fridge door that was left open. I was cleaning and feeling like a character in an old movie scrubbing the floor by hand. Then I stood up and caught my shoulder on the corner of our fridge door. The pain of bumping into the door definitely irritated me and I slammed it shut to get out that frustration but laughed as I did it.

I then swore in an old man way (pretty much mimicking my father). It was a way to purge the annoyed feelings while not actually freaking out. My wife was there, we both laughed and the situation ended, leaving us with a bit of a chuckle and my shoulder throbbing.

So, anger doesn’t rise in me often, but what’s my point?

I don’t have one. But I do have a question.

Am I a person who doesn’t have anger in me? Or do I just not face real situations where I could be brought to anger? Hitting the fridge door is irritating but not the most angering of events.

I like the idea that I have overcome petty anger and don’t get upset at things that are insignificant and can’t be changed. But what about real anger? If faced with a truly terrible and angering situation, how would I react?

I don’t get into verbal or physical arguments on any regular basis. I am not confronted by hateful words or actions. If anything, because of my artwork and the community I have around me, I often find my world filled with loving kindness and supportive people.

But I do think back to this one time I was walking in Soho.

I was with my wife and was looking at my phone while we were walking. I don’t remember what I was doing on my phone, but I do remember justifying to myself later that is was something important. But, if I am honest, I do check my phone while walking through the city way more than I should. I know it is annoying and dangerous, but I’m working on it.

As I was walking I saw a guy out of the corner of my eye notice me and change his course so he was headed right for me, trying to catch me out for not looking around while walking. He comes up to me trying to bump into me but I notice him and stop.

We look at each other.

He gives me this “you’re busted” look and my instant reaction is to call him a wanker to his face. He yells that I am the wanker and walks away. My wife is confused as it all happens so quickly. She thought he was drunk so calls me out saying I shouldn’t have called him what I did.

My heart’s beating fast. We walk away, I keep thinking about for hours.

At first I am annoyed with the guy, thinking that he will just make a lot more negativity and really solve nothing by making people feel bad about themselves.

But then later, I go back to that moment, when my first reaction to someone being negative is to double down and be negative back and personally insult them.

What happened?

I talk about compassion and mindfulness in my work and then at a moment when caught off guard I instantly let anger drive my actions.

I know I am far from perfect but situations like these really make me take stock and realise that I have work to do to become a genuinely kind, compassionate, loving person.

I hope that next time I am confronted with such a situation I will react with even just slightly more compassionately. In the meantime I will be mindful of myself and the different emotions going on inside of me.


Relephant read:

Treating Anger like one of our Greatest Teachers.


Author & Artist: Mike Medaglia

Editor: Khara-Jade Warren


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