Almost two years ago, I wrote a post entitled The Secret Genius (Attitude is Everything).
It was a Wisdom Wednesday topic I wanted to broach about the importance of both vision AND application in becoming the “you” that you want to be in life. And yes, factors of genetics, ambition, effort, personality and environment are all to be considered when you decide to change your attitude and become the master of your destiny.
Without regurgitating the entire article, I’ll simply state that genius can be cultivated, and geniuses cultivate their curiosity by learning new things, visiting unfamiliar territory, and asking a lot of questions. Or to put it in Dean Keith Simonton’s words – geniuses tend to be open to experience, introverted, hostile, driven and ambitious. Also, geniuses can find patterns where others won’t (Erika Andersen on Malcolm Cowley).
It’s a compelling argument, and something about taking ownership of your life and putting together the pieces, is very appealing to me on a personal level. But there is some required reading in-between the lines too here. In order to be a successful “genius” a positive attitude is essential in relation to your personal motivation and when communicating your ideas. But what I didn’t discuss in that article I wrote two years ago, is that controlling your emotions is just as important of a component when you finally decide to commit to the house rules.
Don’t Look Back In Anger
It can be difficult to admit when you are lacking in a quality. I myself struggle with my emotions, daily. I’m not an emotive person by nature, but I am an emotional person. I feel things deeply and though I operate from a place of analysis, knowledge, and conceptualization, my second-most dominant motivator in life is meaning, significance and compassion.
What this has meant for me is that as I grew into adulthood, I learned to communicate through the lens of my own experience, but often accomplished it by either denying my feelings or holding them at arms length.
In reality I still had the emotions, and when they did surface, they would often come out as anger. I cannot begin to describe all of the reasons why I believe anger is the emotion I gravitate towards in expressing myself, but even more frustrating is the impact it can have on my loved ones. While I may not truly feel angry at the time I am addressing my emotions, it doesn’t mean those people don’t feel the heat from my internal process, and more often then not, those feelings come from a place of victimization.
As I wrestle with my feelings, I go through the entire emotional gamut, often landing at a place of compassion and understanding. But the emotional violence that I and my audience endure is difficult to wrestle with.
Last night Mysticque and I had a good long chat about the way I process new information, my emotional reactions, and how it effects her, and I came to the realization (with her help), that I do this so often, that I am not even aware of it’s impact on my life – I want to be clear that I while I start off this way, it never finishes with the same feelings, because I do process the feelings.
However, I have decided to make a conscious effort to become better in touch with my emotions and express them in a more balanced and moderate manner.
Which is why I am going to take responsibility for my anger going forward.
Anger Is As Anger Does
In a world where anger is often seen as a negative characteristic, it can be difficult to see it for what it is – potential unfulfilled.
We can channel anger into productivity, and we can use it as a source of personal power. But that means recognizing you have anger, and that you are not a master of it. Yet.
If you move through your feelings, you can prevent emotional toxic buildup, but anger needs an output to be constructive, just like any other dangerous tool. Proceed with caution! Exercise, meditation, creative writing, art making, and even driving can become major contributors to releasing anger; because they give the anger purpose and focus it.
Additionally, your mental head space needs to be receptive to change. If you can identify the source of the anger and why you were triggered, you can begin to separate yourself from your emotions and choose when to engage them. By looking at your past history with key events, people, and topics, as an outsider looking in (by literally viewing it as a story) you can learn how to let go and focus on the present.
And one other thought – it is completely up to you to make this change. No one can do it for you, because this is a paradigm shift. Yes, YOU can learn to access and express your anger in a healthy way. Yes, YOU can choose to see that anger doesn’t have to be a destructive force, but a warning signal that something is wrong when you feel it, and also a tool for appropriate self-defence when expressed.
I still have a long way to go in my mastery over anger. But even the smallest act of saying out loud to someone I trust that this is a challenge in my life, means that I can move forward and look at the situation differently. Anger is a tool to be used in both recognition and implementation, just like any other dangerous object.
A theory to consider, at the very least.