I read about anger management a few years ago. The starting point for such a book is that anger is inevitable. So rather than make-believe it will not happen because it shouldn’t – it will. So here is a book on how to manage it. The book explained a lot of stuff but left me with one simple image for better self-awareness:
“What colour is my mood?”
Green was shorthand for: “Say what you want – I can’t react to anything or anyone other than with love and laughter.”
Amber was shorthand for: “Slightly tetchy today, I can feel itchy and scratchy in the waiting room of my mind – I need to watch them or else they may come for you.”
And then red: “I have the grim reaper right behind me but will not tell you this. Please don’t say a word – don’t disagree with me – don’t even agree with me. By being in my air and space right now you invite your own death.”
I have used that imagery and awareness (when I remember) ever since. It is helpful. It saves me from hurting you. Usually.
“I am just a tail-gate delivery driver.”
A month ago he was just a miserable jobsworth delivering a huge pallet of (for us) wildly exciting stuff. Yesterday he was the same miserable jobsworth collecting four large items being returned with the agreement of the company we bought from.
He watched as I manhandled them to the front doorstep. Then he said that they were not “palletised” (and cling filmed) as they should be. He said he would have to call his office. If my company (paying his company to deliver and collect) said “this“ was acceptable – well it was not – and then added the aforementioned: “I am just … “
(which caused a small army of my itchy and scratchies to charge through the wall and run riot – each one heading right for this “I am just … “ )
I tried to appease my rioting army by mentioning that I remembered him from last time. And his response: “I wasn’t rude was I.” – not a question – but a statement with which I was expected to agree.
My internal “army” demanded my complete silence in return for their good behaviour.
(and breathe …. )
I have a responsibility to “manage” my army. They are mine, not yours. I should have an awareness of “the colour of my mood” – that is also mine also. But more than that …
“I am a Christian.” (even without words) means nothing to me. Why does it mean something to you – enough for you to tell me? Unless I am supposed to behave differently towards you … ?
“I am just a tail-gate delivery driver” (even without words) tells me I am going to have to change my behaviour because you are telling me I must. And if I tell you, “I am just a customer and you should care.” (even without words) … Then we have a battleground all ready to go.
“I am a Christian.” Is about as helpful to me as “I am an atheist.” As “I am a policewoman.” As “I am anything I define myself as which limits me and you.”
I may be a Christian (or an atheist or a policewoman or a delivery driver) in my own world view belief system. But “that” is mine and mine alone. If I want to limit myself with my world view belief system – why should I expect that you do too?
I am a unique and amazing human being just like you.
Just not the same as you.
Gets me every time!