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Who are you angry at?

May 16, 2013

Anger, frustration, disappointment, they all tear at us and harm us in our lives. And yet, we often ignore something that’s rather simple if think about it – who are you angry at?

Just a few hours back I was calmly reading various pieces of economic and political commentary to do with the 2013 Australian government budget; part of my economics homework, and an all-around productive thing that ought to have kept my mind from incessant, nagging self-criticism of my own actions.

And yet, this didn’t. It was strange – there is (normally) nothing so restoring to one’s emotional state than being productive. Rather, when I finished my budget reading I then began to question my actions before I’d (productively) read the budget commentary. Why had I not done my mathematics homework in the hour before? Why hadn’t I read a newspaper or vigorously exercised?

This got me irritated at myself, and my anger, particularly my frustration, began to gnaw away at me. It’s a horrible thing this knowledge that your actions are too often hollow. One might ordinarily think that the story should end here, but I began to think – who am I angry at?

My teachers? They aren’t perfect, but many of them are very good. Besides, I could be working harder. I’m not angry because of them.

My friends? No, I’m not angry at them. Are they the epitome of all that I value? No. But they are  often shades of it, and that is to say a lot.

My parents? I could not direct this way and call myself sane. Absolutely not.

Peers, acquaintances and strangers? Their is much to be rued, but I misjudge and change in my judgements as my thoughts evolve. I think not for this instance.

So who are you angry at? Why do you have these nagging thoughts of disappointment and frustration? What demon rakes it’s claws and ails our happiness? I came to a solemn realisation.

I’m angry at myself.

I’m frustrated that I don’t seize every day as I should. I’m frustrated that I’m not as capable as I could be – my side efforts [1] to learn ballroom dancing, photography, and high intensity training have tapered off; I let time slip through my fingers.

And there’s something even more terrible about all this – incessant self thought is in itself a waste of time! Doing is the way to go. Thought has a mighty important place, but the incessant voice of correction… it’s maddening and wastes time.

So, what’s the solution to this answer? Productive work.

While cleaning I mulled over the conundrum I’ve put to you. I remembered that productive work restores one’s emotional state, and decided to tie this in with my need to post here. I came here, thought calmly and wrote.

In a way this reflects a certain duality to one’s personality – how one acts when irritated vs. jubilant. We can be terribly fickle people. Would that I knew how to avoid this duality and harness only the productive energies…

It may seem like I haven’t posed a solution to the problems raised. That’s somewhat correct – they’re difficult problems to face. But remember these cures, and you’ll go far:

  • There is nothing so restoring to one’s emotional state than being productive
  • Know that your anger may be at yourself – if you know this you’re more likely to succeed in quelling and understanding your anger.

Remember – you can’t cure something till you know what it is. Know who you’re angry at and act.


[1] – By ‘side’ I mean things in my free time. Ie. Once school, mock trial, chess, debating, all household tasks and other things are accounted for. I’m also doing other things of course, but I’m not marshalling my time that well – when was my last post on here?


From → Foundations

  1. Vivien permalink

    I’m angry at no-one at the moment.

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  1. Who are you angry at? | harlanikin

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