Anger

Jim:    Well hello.  Here we are again.  Fishing Without Bait.  By now, I think everyone out there knows that we take a non-mainstream view of people, places, things, and situations.  And, of course, you know that we deal with mindfulness.  However, we deal with our own concept of mindfulness which we developed as full-impact mindfulness.  We don’t take or advocate a passive attitude to life.  We want to be in every molecule of existence.  We want to have perspective and objectivity.  Being accurately able to label and describe everything around you.  Do not run away from emotions and thoughts.  Do not allow them to master us, but rather use them as a vehicle to power our way through life.  So, buckle your seatbelts as we dive into anger.  Today, as always, I’m joined by my good friend, co-host, and producer of this program – Mr. Mike.  Mr. Mike, when you think of someone being angry, what do you think of?

Mike:    I think of Yosemite Sam.  I want to go classic there.

Jim:    And, when you think of anger management classes, what do you think of, Mike?

Mike:    A wonderful Adam Sandler movie from years back.  

Jim:    Hmmm.  And, when you think of assigning a color to an emotion, what color does one normally associate with anger?

Mike:    Definitely red.  

Jim:    So, often we talk about Steve Jobs’ quote that some are more comfortable being in the Navy and some are more comfortable being pirates.  So, what type of flag, Mike, are pirates associated with?

Mike:    The skull and crossbones.

Jim:    The skull and crossbones.  Are you familiar with what it means when the pirates would raise a red flag going into battle?

Mike:    No, I’m not.

Jim:    That means that they’re taking no prisoners.  And, of course, we will never advocate violence.  However, our goal with full-impact mindfulness is to take no prisoners in life.  Don’t leave anything on the field, Mike.  Capture every moment.  And, when we think of anger, we mainly think of how we can control it, do we not?  

Mike:    Exactly.

Jim:    And, when we think of anger, what do we associate it with?  

Mike:    Losing control.  

Jim:    Losing control.  And, we associate it often with violence and destruction.  However, anger is one of our most common emotions, is it not?

Mike:    Right.

Jim:    Sure.  However, we’re going to talk about using anger.  And, this is what we’ve discussed with other emotions as well – using them as vehicles.  Remember, Mike, what we try to help people to do is avoid thinking from emotion and rather at them.  So, Aristotle – our friend Aristotle – had an interesting perception of anger, an interesting thought.  And, he said anyone can become angry.  That’s easy.  But, to be angry with the right person at the right time for the right purpose and in the right way, that is not within everyone’s power, and that is not easy.  And, those are some of the types of things that we’re trying to get across to people.  We’re talking about rather a strange topic, Mike, which would be the benefits of anger.  Do you think that the Reverend Martin Luther King was angry about the way African Americans were being treated and marginalized as less than?

Mike:    Absolutely.

Jim:    Do you think women were angry and upset about not being able to vote?

Mike:    Absolutely.

Jim:    Do you think people get angry about social injustice?

Mike:    Definitely.

Jim:    Sure.  So, would that be called justifiable anger, Mike?

Mike:    Yeah, because they’re reacting to an issue.

Jim:    Would anything have been done about these issues if we would have just looked the other way?  Or been passive and meek?

Mike:    Definitely not as soon as they had been.

Jim:    No.  So, what we want to use – we want to use constructive anger.  Destructive anger is cruel.  Destructive anger is hurtful.  It causes harm.  Destructive anger turned inward can result in self harm or substance use, acting out toward others in an unhealthy way.  It’s reacting with your emotional mind – where we react rather than respond.  So, we have every right to be angry, Mike.  However, we never have a right to be cruel – never.  We never have a right to be cruel.  So, that’s one emotion that is to be avoided.  One that is never constructive.  And, my hope is that everyone would examine, perhaps remove from their vocabulary – and, that’s hatred, Mike.  Too often do we equate anger with hatred.  I love a quote by Steven Richards where he says do not let your anger lead to hatred, as you will hurt yourself more than you would hurt the other.  And, we turn toward our friend William Arthur Ward who had some thoughts: It’s wise to direct your anger toward problems, not people.  Focus your energy on answers not excuses. So, we talk about intention also.  When someone is angry, can we redirect our anger at a problem?  Not at a human being?  Well, how do we do that?  First of all, we identify whether the anger is justified.  Sometimes, Mike, we’re wronged by others.  And, I would rather have someone focus anger rather than fear.  Anger is a vehicle that can be used, full of energy.  Fear feeds.  Fear sucks.  Fear takes the soul from you.  So, rather than fear, I would ask that we use anger to become determined not to get even.  Have you ever thought of using anger – turning anger into determination?  

Mike:    Absolutely.  Anger is usually what has fueled me for anything positive in my life, my career.  A lot of the strides that I have taken have been a response in anger to things I didn’t like.  How they were working.  Things I got rejected from.  And, that turns into this other thing that I built.  I redirect that energy instead of it just being bad.

Jim:    Wonderful.

Mike:    And, I get fairly mad.  Which means I get fairly productive.

Jim:    I’ve never seen you angry.

Mike:    Oh, every time you see me angry at whatever workspace we’ve been in, I just go home and make something else.

Jim:    So, often people will say to me I’m so angry with myself.  And, I’ll say great!  It’s a bit strange however, anger can provide a great deal of insight and self-evaluation.  It’s okay to be angry with yourself if it can motivate change.  Anger is a difficult emotion to control.  However, it does have its purpose, and again this is where full-impact mindfulness takes over.  To use anger as a positive, for construction.  Because, when we push our anger inside ourselves, this is where the low self-esteem comes from.  This is where the low self-concept – illumination, identity formation suffer.  Well, what’s an example of constructive anger?  You just mentioned one, did you not, Mike?

Mike:    Absolutely.  Redirect it into productivity.

Jim:    Sure.  So, when you sit on your couch and you get angry with yourself because things haven’t gotten done.  When we direct that anger for a purpose rather than a person, then we can get things done.  So, constructive anger is when it’s justified and helps you move forward.  One of the important things that we help people with is to be able to communicate effectively and use “I” statements.  So, Mike, if someone is consistently late in meeting you, or more often than not breaks the promises that they give you is that not a reason to have some justifiable anger?

Mike:    Oh, absolutely.

Jim:    Of course.  As long as it’s expressed in the proper way.  We often refer back to using the “I” statements expressing your thoughts and feelings rather than casting stones at the other person.  We can often use anger as a motivating force for change within ourselves.  To identify and label our own perceived shortcomings based on the goals and ambitions we would like to obtain. And ,that’s action and effort in the present.  So, my friends, let’s use anger as a motivating force rather than a destructive one.  We must sit back and determine the intensity, frequency and duration of anger.  And, what is its focus?  The idea is to use your anger in constructive ways on situations rather than individuals.  And, we’ll end here with a quote today by the Buddha who says you will not be punished for your anger.  You will be punished by your anger.  Take care everyone.  It’s always good to speak with you.  And, constructive criticism or comments are welcome.  And, until then, do a kindness for yourself and do a kindness for another.  Speak on social injustice.  Use that anger in a positive way for the poor, the marginalized, the oppressed, and the weak. Use your gifts, talents, and abilities for the betterment of others.  What’s important to you?  Let’s fully impact our lives and the lives of others.  Pay attention on purpose and deal with what’s right in front of you.  I look forward to speaking with you, again and again.  And, until then, Namaste.  Be right here.  And, be right now.   


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