Angry people often complain that they are not
happy. Everything seems to go wrong. The world is an opponent, and life is an uphill
battle. Much of this unhappy reality is symptomatic of choices angry people automatically
yet actively make - without thought, and without awareness of an underlying mind-set.
Happiness is kept at bay because less important things get in the way.
Consider an argument with a loved one. An angry person is likely to
blame, contradict, or ridicule their partner or loved one, insisting their point of view
is the "right" one. You'd rather be right and "win" the argument than
help to create your own happiness!
What's the advantage of winning? Well, for one, winning
offers a short-lived ego boost. Unless you are in strong denial, you will realize that the
cheap booby prize is attached to a price: the bitter resentment and anger of the
individual you just beat down. What did you expect? "By gosh, you're right! Thanks
for spending the last 30 minutes knocking me down - now I see the light!"
Feeling strong and powerful? How strong and powerful are you
when your loved ones walk on eggshells around you, careful of what they say? You've just
managed to lock yourself out of the information loop. Your husband or wife will talk to
his or her mother or buddy or neighbor instead of you. Your kid will shut down or act out,
or do both. Also, don't count on your power lasting. Children grow up to have the last
laugh; partners eventually get fed up and get out.
So, once you think about the consequences, why continue to
do this "no-win win" over and over and over? Sometimes you do it just because
you are plain ol' angry and don't know how to stop yourself. Sometimes you do it to show
them who is boss, especially if you're secretly feeling insecure and angry. But most of
the time, especially when you don't feel angry, you are probably engaging in this
stuff because you assume that somehow it is your responsibility to protect and
care for those you love. You may even end up feeling frustrated that they "won't
listen," - especially since (you think) you know how to care for them best!
Well, guess what? You don't know how to care for them best.
It is not your responsibility to care for them at this level. When you make it your
responsibility, you have exceeded your boundaries and have
become controlling. In the process, by focusing on them, you've also managed to stop
taking care of yourself - the only one you really have any control over!
Most arguments are pointless, meaningless, and conducted
over small matters which have little or no real meaning in life. By choosing to argue and
control, you are creating your own unhappiness.
The next time you're considering whether to nit-pick, or to
correct someone's misstatement or fact which may be slightly out of place, or correct
someone's opinion or plan of action, reconsider what you have to gain and lose.
You may offer your opinion, once, twice. Then drop it. You will be happier if you choose
not to engage in that argument. It is a choice, and you have the power to make it.
Start today... Choose happiness, for a change.
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