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When You Feel Angry More Often Than Not

“If you correct your mind, the rest of your life will fall into place.” ~Lao Tzu

I spent a lot of time in my life being angry. At one point in time, I hated everything and almost everyone. I had a saying for a while, “God, I hate people.” I hated the people driving in front of me on the way to the store, then in the parking lot of the store, then inside the store.

I hated my job. I used to love my job. It’s what I chose to do, what I went to school for. But then I started to hate it—the patients, the nurses, everything about it.

I honestly can’t really recall when the precise moment was that it began—this disgust of the world around me. I do know what I was disgusted by: the mindless selfishness of others. I was in total frustration of the way everyone seemed to be wearing blinders to the world around them.

I was so tired of the judgment and condemnation of others toward those different from them, whether it was race or religion, size or shape (or that of their bank accounts). The arrogance with which they treated each other, the unfriendly way they regarded each other in public situations, the way I felt I was treated for so many years by people I encountered every day—at my job, within my family, out in public—by unsmiling faces of unhappy people trudging through their miserable lives.

Misunderstanding can cause a lot of contention.

I hated the way I was talked down to by other staff at work like I was less significant than them because they didn’t understand what my job title was (Registered Diagnostic Imaging Technologist, or X-Ray Tech) or that I was as educated as they were, or sometimes more so.

I hated the treatment I received from ungrateful patients who thought they deserved more than I could give. I was called names, screamed at, bled on, vomited on, defecated on, and had the occasional arm reared back in the threat of being hit. This while having to touch, move, and position these people and equipment, all while seeing and smelling the human condition besides.

Then, I would go home at seven in the morning, get a whopping six hours of sleep, if I was lucky, get up, go about my wifely and motherly duties of house-managing, dinner, and grocery shopping, where I was almost sure to be treated with righteous indignation by a disgruntled cashier who also hated her job (I would sometimes tell them to try my job and then complain), get a shower, relax for maybe an hour or so, and do it all over again, five nights a week.

What a life. And it was like this every day, in all aspects. This made me resentful of everything, including my family and myself. I just wanted to be left alone, and I wanted that piece of what I though everyone else had, though I didn’t quite know exactly what that was.

I thought it was more money, a better house, definitely a better job. I was tired of seeing everyone else get rewarded while my situation was still so perceivable awful. There were so many things that I needed to fix in my life: the roof, the ceilings, the floors, the kitchen, the bathroom, the car, our finances, and my health.

I was miserable.

I was so tired of myself. I needed something, desperately, and I knew it. I was nearing the combustion point and I desired a way out of the awfulness that I was feeling every day. There must be a light at the end of this infernal tunnel, I thought.

Then one day, while half watching an episode of a popular female comedienne’s daytime talk show, I sort of perked up when I heard her introduce, quite seriously, a guest to her show who she spoke very highly of.

It was someone whom I had never heard of, Dr. Wayne Dyer. He was on to promote his book Change your Thoughts, Change Your Life, but it was more than that. He seemed to actually care how people felt inside.

I listened and I eventually bought his book (though I didn’t read it right away). Very shortly after that show, I was flipping through the stations and came across another popular daytime talk show and paused there to hear what the guest on her show had to say. That turned out to be Eckhart Tolle.

Again, I was riveted. He was on the show speaking about his book A New Earth. A short while later, I purchased this book as well, this one I did read. I absorbed these words and thoughts and could not believe what I was reading. These were my beliefs, my understandings of the way things were.

I soon picked up his first book The Power of Now. I have never felt such relief in all of my life. This was the chisel that cracked my wall of despair. In the meantime, Dr. Dyer had released the book Excuses Begone, another big help in my transformation.

Now, I am not a huge follower of any type of “self-help” movement. I’m not a faithful follower of any set man-made religion, though I was raised in church and have tried almost every religion out there trying to find a way to the “truth,” and I do mean every one.

I believe that whatever you believe, if it helps you to become the best you can be, then you are right, as long as it doesn’t make you start treating everyone else like they are wrong.

But this isn’t about religion; it isn’t about gurus, which these men do not claim to be. It’s about finding the path that opened my eyes to my own healing. And that path was in me, all along.

I figured out what I hated.

I hated me. I was hate-full. I was full of contempt and dissension. Do you remember those people who I ”hated” who I thought felt they deserved more than I could give? Who thought they were owed something? I was one of them.

When I used to have hateful thoughts and feelings, I would get more down on myself. But now? Now I allow the feelings, if and when they come, and I forgive myself for them.

I envelope myself with loving kindness, because I am human, and will make human mistakes.  And, because I can now love myself with kindness and forgiveness, it is only natural to love others with the same. I can now revel in the glow of others’ happiness and joy.

I still get low. I still get forgetful. I still have moments, sometimes each day, when I forget for a while the light that fills me.

I’ve had one detrimental summer with the tragic deaths of both my mother and my husband’s mother. But when I come back to my moments of clarity it is not with shock but a simple knowing that all is well because the light is still there. Always has been, waiting for me to come back to it.

I realized that it is all about choice.

You can change what you’re tired of. You can change your thoughts. You can change your life. You can learn to live in the now, the present. You can build a new life. You just have to choose to do so.

The power does not lie without. The power lies within you. You just have to know that you deserve it—happiness, peace, love, and joy.

I know it seems easy for me to say, but I went through it. I started my journey in 2008. I picked up those books; I read them, put them down, and sometimes reverted to my old damaged ways of thinking and doing. But something urged me back.

I believe once it’s in you it doesn’t go away. You just have to allow it to find you again—the peace, the connection to your higher self. With this connection comes a life of gratitude. For me, there’s no richer way to live.

Photo by AmandaLouise

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About Nanette Stein

Nanette Stein is a wife and mother of one 17-year-old son. She started her first blog www.confessionsofathinkaholic-ns.blogspot.com a year ago to have a place to share her thoughts and musings. She is amazed by the world that has opened up around her when she finally decided to let it in.

Announcement: Wish you could change your past? Learn to let go and create a life you love with the Tiny Buddha course!
  • Toni

    It’s hard to imagine that someone, some where, in a totally different society is experiencing the exact feelings and battling with the same issues as you are. I could relate with every word you wrote, it was bassically my life story as it is right now. The fact that you have overcome it gives me hope that I too can do the same. Not to mention that this was beautifully written. Simple, direct but very thoughtful piece.

  • http://twitter.com/vedasteee Veda Steele

    I can REALLY identify with what you wrote. I too worked as a technician in a hospital and was treated as “less than” by nurses, doctors, etc.

    I also note that cashiers and other people who work with the public can be rude and even act arrogant to customers, which always disappoints me and makes me angry. I try to remind myself that those people most have miserable lives, but it is hard to always remember that…

    When I worked with the public, if I was rude to customers I would have been fired or at least reprimanded, so I do not understand how others get away with it.

    I am so glad I am self employed now, because I think most people are miserable which causes them to be nasty and hateful to others. Also, a high percentage of people these days think much too highly of themselves and are so arrogant that it is ungodly. I do not enjoy their company and doubt I ever will, but I will definitely read the books you mentioned and try to change my mindset.

    Great article !

  • http://awarewoolf.tumblr.com/ Awarewolf

    I agree with the previous comments. For me, it’s almost serendipitous to read how someone is going through, or has gone through, similar experiences. Thank you for your comforting words and for reccomending Dyer’s books; I’ve only read Tolle’s up til now. Cheers! :)

  • julie

    I loved this blog. I can relate to this blog on so many levels. Including the job! Thank you for sharing. I will have to check these books out. I too am stuck in a rut of my own negative thoughts and need to stop the cycle!

  • Vicki

    Beautiful piece, I can completely relate. I’m glad to see that there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Thank you for your honesty, it gives me hope…

  • Giardinidimarzo

    Wow! This woman’s story resonates with me so strongly. After years of chronic depression and deep frustration, I found reprieve. Tolle’s writing was a liferaft as was the much older text “Thoughts are Things” by Prentiss Mulford. When we find compassion for ourselves, when we treat ourselves more gently and less critically, we can offer that kindness to others who are facing similar difficulties.
    In the midst of deep depression, it is hard to change established thought processes, but please know it is possible. It is an on-going process, but it gets easier with practice. If everyone knew their inner critic voice was usually comically wrong, and disregarded its fear-mongering messages, we would live in a radically more peaceful world, I believe.

  • sugarpencil

    Thanks for sharing. I’ve been thinking positive to change my thoughts. Left a job, began to make changes. And it’s hard some days but I’m a lot happier than I was trapped in those old cycles of thought (once I’d made up my mind to change).

  • http://twitter.com/healthy_start_ Kari Farmer

    Yes, and the more you become grateful and aware, the more you can’t help but be more of the same.

    My mom is an X-ray tech, and I worked at the hospital as a porter, so I know all about status at the hospital and the crap that staff has to put up with.

    The words reflect my own thoughts perfectly, and I’m glad you wrote this. I also ready a new earth first and went from there. I’m babbling, but the point is, I get it, I get what you are saying, and it is an important message to send.

  • seren_du

    This is so me, I was always angry and it was exhausting, I felt I was always battling everyone, always on the defensive. But then I got help and used self-help to change my views. The key is attitudes and perceptions – if you go into anything angry and defensive, then you’re whole body language means everyone else will be like that back. I took everything the wrong way and I could never let go of anything, and I could never praise myself for anything. Perfection was the norm, to be expected. I was doing a better job than everyone else, but I never got anywhere as easily as anyone else. The key to change was to approach everything from a neutral position, to expect a neutral response from others and approach things with a more open minded approach. This made such a difference, and slowly but surely I managed to move away from the anger and hate, into neutral, and then into positivity. I still slip sometimes, but I don’t hold on to the anger any more, I can move forward, judge situations better, accept compliments as genuine, and take pride in what I’ve achieved and how far I’ve come. It’s been the biggest struggle of my life, but nearly 3 years on it’s transformed who I am. thank you for sharing your story, it’s really inspiring to know that I’m not the only one who struggles with this and has found it difficult to overcome, but it was so worth the effort x

  • http://www.facebook.com/brenda.miller.coach Brenda Miller

    I appreciate and empathize with much of your story, Nanette. For those of us who can ‘do’ self-help, this article is inspirational. And it leaves many of us who cannot bring ourselves to do what the self-help books tell us to do feeling left out and, often hopeless. That’s why there are so many self-help books to read. Most folks love the content of a book, and for some reason or another just cannot bring themselves to do the exercises it takes to shift the words into an experience. I myself have read many hundreds of self-help books over the span of many decades. And still I have needed an outside voice to assist me to find myself -over and over again. Objective, non-invested, assistance by some type of healer has been my ticket to peace and joy. http://www.brendamiller.org

  • http://www.madlabpost.com/ Nicole/TheMadlabPost

    I agree with the part where you wrote “I believe that whatever you believe, if it helps you to become
    the best you can be, then you are right, as long as it doesn’t make you
    start treating everyone else like they are wrong.” — oh, how I wish more people would not only realize this but also put it into practice, which could reduce the separation-by-religion that our society practices all too often.

  • Nanette Stein

    Toni, I so appreciate your words.

    All I want is for everyone to know what I am discovering. Peace is there for the taking, and it is ours for the having. Since I opened myself up to other people and let myself realize that I am not “wrong” (as in nothing is ‘wrong’ with me, I am ok and deserving of love and capable of giving it), I can now start to see that fear is mostly fear of judgement of other people, but we’re all the same. We just need to start helping each other, instead of living in fear that there isn’t enough to go around (of everything that makes human kind greedy) causing us to treat each other unfairly. You are a beautiful soul…we all are. You deserve the very best of everything, and I wish that for you, wholeheartedly.

  • Nanette Stein

    And, thank you, seren_du, for your reply. I, too, need to know that I am not alone. Everyone does. I took a chance with the posts I have written. I am overjoyed that I connected with you, and you replied and I learned something from it, and so will countless other people. It’s amazing how close we all actually are…

  • Nanette Stein

    Thank you so much for your reply….Do you know what a comfort it is that you understand? Thank you.

  • lv2terp

    Thank you for sharing such a vulnerable story, and your experience! It is amazing how perspective can get so jaded when there is so much anger and hatefulness inside. I am so happy for you finding such amazing guidance from 2 amazing authors/motivational speakers. Keep up the great work!!! :) Again, thank you for sharing and giving hope to so many!

  • Nanette Stein

    Thank you for your comment.
    It is hard some days. I used to get down on myself for having any negative thoughts whatsoever, and that made things worse. Now I accept it, forgive myself for it, and notice it next time. I am gentle with myself, and can then be gentle with everyone else. Making big changes is hard, so kudos for doing that for yourself. I am still working on some of those, myself… I believe everything happens as it should, perfectly, even if we don’t see it.
    Nanette

  • Nanette Stein

    Vicki,
    Thank you so much for your words. I just wanted to share the pain I’ve been through and that I discovered it doesn’t have to be that way. I had to put it all out there….because there is that light, that hope. I’m glad you hear that you could relate, also, because it proves how connected we all really are.
    Nanette

  • Michelle

    Wow! This article landed in my inbox at the best time ever. Just like the author, I’m feeling pretty angry and unhappy lately. I also relate to the comments she made about reading different self help books (because I’ve been doing the same) and I get frustrated sometimes because I feel like I’ve turned a corner, then I wake up the next morning feeling depressed or frustrated with life again. I definitely found comfort in the fact that she discusses how you have to be compassionate to yourself and I really feel that this is my biggest problem. This week, after making some big moves forward and resolving issues, I felt physically and emotionally drained. I was SO frustrated because I felt as though I just made huge steps forward, only to fall back again into my old way of thinking. This article helped me see that I have to have more love for myself and realize that I have made progress – but it’s a bit of a process. Thank you for the article. Now you are also one of the great authors that help others:-)

  • http://www.facebook.com/charles.francis.9634 Charles Francis

    Thank you for this inspiring story. I enjoy hearing stories about people transforming their lives through spiritual development. I know that overcoming anger can be quite a challenge when we don’t know how.

    Here at the Mindfulness Meditation Institute, we’ve developed an exercise called writing meditation, which helps people overcome their anger very quickly. Author and clinical psychologist, Elisha Goldstein Ph.D., wrote about it in his blog post, “Wiring the Brain for Better Relationships.”

    What the writing meditation does is reprogram our subconscious in a way that seems to be much more effective than simply reading, hearing, or reciting the affirmations. Everyone who has tried this exercise has seen dramatic changes in just a few days.

    I saw one very angry young man overcome his anger in just a couple of weeks of doing the exercise, and a few minutes of daily mindfulness meditation. It works really well for improving our relationships and healing the wounds from our past. It also helps people sleep much better.

    Charles A. Francis
    The Mindfulness Meditation Institute

  • Nanette Stein

    Michelle,
    You have no idea what these words of yours mean to me. Just think….if our words can help others, what wonderous things await us by being kinder to ourselves, as well. I am so glad that I was able to help you, if just for an instant. That’s all I ever wanted.
    Nanette

  • Nanette Stein

    lv2terp,
    Thank you. Your encouragement means alot. I appreciate you taking the time to read my story and leave these gracious words.
    Thanks again,
    Nanette

  • Nanette Stein

    Julie,
    I really would only stand behind something I feel strongly about. This is what jumpstarted my journey to discovering who I really am. They really did help me, but I believe the things we need are layed out before us, we just have to see them. It was a perfect dance of synchronicity, happening upon the interviews of these two men. I don’t know any other way to describe it, but for fate, I guess. It is all happening as it should…
    I wish you luck on your journey, just know that you deserve the best of all things, as everyone does.
    Thank you so much for reading,
    Nanette

  • Nanette Stein

    Thank you so much for sharing here. When more people like you post comments, it helps to encourage others that it really IS possible to change. Your contribution here helps to push that mindset along.
    Thank you, again.
    Nanette

  • Nanette Stein

    Thank you for reading. I appreciate you taking the time to read it and to comment. If I brought you comfort…well, then I also have comfort. (And I really did find revelations within Wayne Dyer’s books.) Excuses Begone was a wake up call and then there is the Shift, which has a DVD as well. I hate sounding like I’m promoting and plugging, but I really did find what I was longing for there.
    I hope this helps.
    Thanks again,
    Nanette

  • Nanette Stein

    Veda,

    I really am just amazed at the changes I’ve made in myself. I finally realized that I could only change me, not everyone else. I now try to live by example, hoping that my patience will help the next person to remember patience, and so on. I just always try to put myself into a scenario that the person I am encountering might be in. A little understanding can go a long way. When you extend grace, grace can then be extended further…like sharing a smile. It can be catching!
    It took me a while to get this down, and I’m still working on it, everyday. Life is a process, but I’m happy to be apart of it.
    Thank you for reading my post, and taking the time to share your comments.
    I appreciate you,
    Nanette

  • Nanette Stein

    Nicole,
    I am glad you picked out one of my strongest beliefs. This, too, is a wish of mine. You said it beautifully.
    Thank you for reading,
    Nanette

  • Bobby

    For me, my trip started with anger management books, anxiety books, depression books. I noticed that a lot of the authors pointed out that the wisdom they were citing actually comes from ancient wisdom, from Buddhism. Then I started reading Best Buddhist Writings, a yearly anthology. Then Tricycle Magazine. Then I read Buddhism Without Beliefs, by Stephen Bachelor. And some other stuff. And now Tiny Buddha!

    My anger might have been for its own sake…just the existence of that emotion, forcing itself into me, barricading itself in there, dominating everything. It’s still there sometimes, making its famous appearances at the party. But there are so many others at the party. They’re all there. It’s all there. Anger occupies a smaller and smaller sliver of the periphery, and hopefully, I can keep it that way.

  • Michelle

    :-)

  • Nathan Jester O’Connell

    Ive been suffering this darkness for as long as i can remember, i got to a point where i almost found strength in my hate it kept me going thinking “i have to be stronger then these people” .. ive literally just came home mid way through a music festival with my wife because i was starting to get agitated and panic. i show no one the pain except my wife see’s it all the time which causes more fear in me that one day she maybe sick of my shit and leave .. ive just read this post and it has shattered me to the core, in a good way .. if words of an unknown stranger can bring me to tears this quick because i feel like my thoughts are in your post it gives me hope i can fix me.

  • Nakshatra

    Your article is really beautiful. It was like I was reading my own thoughts. I hope to find a path out of this miserability…

  • Kesa Mogan

    I’m a good girl, im not faking it but yes i am. But the anger in me ruining my relationship with my bf. I tried so much so change my self in this 8 years, i did changed partially…but still its not enough, im ruining my relationship with my wonderful bf. he is so adorable and good. becasue of this attitude of anger i gonna loose him as well. now im really regreting my life, like so much. I have decide to changed wholly and i belive i can do that. im matured enough im 27 and i believe i can do that. I will accomplshed this in short while.