We all have it inside us. That ferocious beast, that irrational being, the snarling lion of anger. Normally mine is subdued, peaceful, at rest. Chained by the rationality of my mind.
Anyone who has followed my blog will see I am all about looking for the positive, the hope, finding inspiration. Those people will also see I’m real. I’m not always like that. I don’t always have the answers. I’m not like Buddha, or Jesus, or Muhammad. I’m a flawed human being just like the rest of us with our foibles and imperfections.
Sometimes I am just struggling through. Trying desperately to find the right path and stay on it. Sometimes I find it hard just to see where that path is. Sometimes I’m just waiting for a new day, a new sense of perspective, a new hope.
In a way this is one of those sometimes. In another it isn’t.
Something happened this afternoon. It wasn’t even anything major. It involved my son.
It has left me bubbling under the surface. Bubbling with a certain degree of anger. A feeling to lash out. I haven’t. I don’t think I will. We’ll see how the day goes.
Thing is, that little incident has made me realise something about myself. I’ve talked before about how my son is my reason for driving myself on to being better. How he gives me my sense of purpose. How that gives me strength.
I’ve just realised how he can be my source of weakness also. When I see my boy hurting, feel the emotional pain he is in, I just want to lash out. Not physically I might add. I don’t like violence. But verbally. Verbally I can be downright destructive, unrelenting, almost savage. Verbally I can let my lion run free and no one is safe when he is on the loose.
Since my ‘wife’ and I separated my boy hasn’t seen his granddad on her side of the family in months. I thought today we would try a little visit. It was only going to be short. No more than 10 minutes. It was all he would agree to and I didn’t want to push him any further. I knew his grandparents would be more than happy to see him no matter how little the time was.
We made it to the house. It is only a mile up the road. He had even got out of the car. But then he saw his mother’s car and someone else’s we didn’t recognise. He wasn’t expecting that and got so worked up he started crying. I certainly didn’t want to put him through that level of upset so we quickly jumped back into the car and came home.
When I got home there was a text from his mother. She was just saying what she was doing that morning, what she planned to do that evening, and asking how her son was.
I told her about the failed visit. About the upset.
Now if that had been me receiving the news the first thing I would have done was drop everything I was doing and come and see my boy. As far as I would be concerned everything else could wait.
Needless to say that wasn’t her response. She was having lunch with friends. Was visiting relatives later. Plans that couldn’t be interrupted or delayed it seems. Not one word was asked of how he was right then. Had he settled down? Did he want her to visit?
The lack of visible concern loosened that chain. I felt that lion’s snarl starting to rise, wanting to turn into a roar. The animal wanting to pounce. It didn’t. I didn’t. My reply was curt. That was the best of the options I had running through my mind at that time. Avoid a confrontation. No point unleashing my anger over things outside my control.
In the past 12 months I have worked feverishly trying to improve myself. In the most part that is actually now quite easy. The exercise isn’t a problem. The steps I need to take to achieve my hopes and dreams are, if not exactly easy, quite simple and straightforward. I know I can do that.
But when it comes to emotions. The feelings of my heart and my son’s. I have a long way to go.
Granted today was a small step in the right direction. I didn’t unleash my beast. In fact the only people who will even know about it are the people reading this now. And it has helped me to see where my greatest weakness lies.
Even in the course of writing this I have felt the anger subside. No harm has been done and for that I am thankful. I guess, I hope, I am learning.
Speaking in anger is no good for anyone. It will achieve no good thing. All it can do is make things worse, compound your problems, add to your regret. So I’m asking you please, if you find yourself in that situation, find your anger starting to rise, do whatever it takes to tame your beast.
If it’s a problem that needs addressing leave it to when you are thinking clearer. Are more rational. When you head and thoughts aren’t clouded by emotion. When your lion is subdued and back in chains. You’ll be thankful later. I know I am.