Seriously Useless Emotions

I think the title fairly well sums me up right now; I should have recognized that my rather manic energy toward writing last week was the precursor to…well…this week, when I am too Sullen, Angry, and /or Depressed ™ to even muster up gratitudes for my list.

Something I would do well to return to, I imagine. Fake it ’til you make it and all that.

I finished Book Three in the Lenten Discipline readings–Karen Armstrong’s Islam. Fabulous overview of Islamic history–a tad…preachy?…toward the end, but given her audience, I can see why she leaned in that direction. Finishing Islam means I got to start the Brad Warner book last night, which I’ve been looking forward to.

Mostly because I enjoy being insulted.

Kidding, of course. I do enjoy Warner’s books and blog and various commentaries on life, punk, Zen, etc.

Reading his blog this morning, I ran across this rather wonderful description of the uselessness of anger:

Anger is energy. But it’s not very useful. It squanders your resources and makes you behave stupidly. So it’s best to avoid. It’s energy the way eating Pixie Sticks or shooting speed is energy. If you’re right and the other guy is wrong, you need to deal with that situation without anger — if you’re truly interested in resolving it and not just interested in proving yourself right. It’s no good to be complacent in the face of a situation that calls for change. But it’s no good to scream and yell because that just builds up the other person’s anger and exacerbates the situation.

Call this a “terribly obvious point that needed to be made” or what you will, but I think he nails the problem with stewing in ones own juices….such as I am doing this week. As with an addiction to, oh lets go with alcohol, shall we?, an addiction to anger is an energy hog. Addictions of all variants sap the addict of strength for engaging in life. For me, this most often manifests as a malaise that stops me from writing and planning (did not get so far as not reading, thankfully). The addiction to stewing, to anger, to self-pity is at least as harmful as any substance addiction, at least psychologically, because it manifests similar problems: self-centeredness, feelings of isolation from the human enterprise surrounding us, contempt for humanity, and so forth. This addiction, like those to substances, can trigger depression in some people–even a suicidal or homicidal one (and, yes, I am speculating here; I have no hard evidence in support). And, as Warner observes, lashing out in anger only serves to make the world a more aggressive place. Of course, he also rightly points out–good punk that he is–that changes that we wish to see in the world must be confronted. Sitting on my duff (boy did that sound weird in the context of this blog!)…sitting around and stewing not being active in change is equally problematic.

Ah…it’s that balance thing again, isn’t it?

As to why I’m struggling with anger and energy releases: I can’t run right now because I’ve injured my calf (mildly–it should be okay in a few days, I think–then back to action), so I’ve extra energy, all of which is being consumed by irritations: not being able to run, not being able to get the tickets to Seattle–or even be able to say I can go with confidence (situation out of my control and I lack the confidence that my wants and needs will be protected–>my temper tantrum self says “Dammit, I am going anyway”; my conciliatory side dictates that I will patiently await the decisions that must be made), and so forth…thus, anxiety and anger. And, rather than stewing in the anger, I need to redirect the energy to something useful. I’m not blowing my top thus far, but I don’t want to end up in a rage caused by suppression, either.

And as I type this, a co-worker makes me laugh hysterically. Two blessings of thought in a single day. I do indeed have much to be grateful for….really need to work on giving voice to those.

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2 responses to “Seriously Useless Emotions

  1. I just read this, and especially this paragraph:

    As to why I'm struggling with anger and energy releases: I can't run right now because I've injured my calf (mildly–it should be okay in a few days, I think–then back to action), so I've extra energy, all of which is being consumed by irritations: not being able to run, not being able to get the tickets to Seattle–or even be able to say I can go with confidence (situation out of my control and I lack the confidence that my wants and needs will be protected–>my temper tantrum self says "Dammit, I am going anyway"; my conciliatory side dictates that I will patiently await the decisions that must be made), and so forth…thus, anxiety and anger. And, rather than stewing in the anger, I need to redirect the energy to something useful. I'm not blowing my top thus far, but I don't want to end up in a rage caused by suppression, either.

    Have you read my couple of posts recently on anxiety and lack of control (especially this one)? LOL! We’re so much alike, you and I.

  2. solitary kitsch

    Yes we are and yes, I did read that post :)…I so identify with your anxieties, QM…and what happens when the anxiety gets, um….out of hand. Those are my Holy Terror moments 🙂

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