Had you been sitting in my office this morning you would have witnessed a fit of pique. That sounds much more sophisticated than what it actually was – a furious outburst, on this particular occasion aimed at the limitations of my online banking app. And yes, embarrassed as I am to admit it, I channelled my inner toddler.
At the time I felt completely justified. It also seemed that the app and the idiots that created it were the obvious and well-deserved target of my fury. But, the sad reality is, having had time to calm down and think about it, I realised I was mostly angry with myself.
I was angry at my lack of patience and thus my consistent inability to slow down and work systematically through what was in front of me in a logical manner.
The problem was the anger was just a cover up. It covered up my embarrassment at feeling stupid for being unable to learn this seemingly straightforward lesson.
When I’m prepared to face up to myself, I usually find that when I’m mad with someone or something else, it often stems from being mad with myself. I get cross that I haven’t stood up for myself, haven’t thought something through, haven’t responded in a way that aligns with my own standards.
I’m not opposed to anger – I think it can be good and helpful – especially when it fuels positive change. The problem arises when it’s misplaced or misdirected.
Next time I find myself channelling my inner toddler, I’m going to pause and ask myself what I’m really angry about. I’d put money on it being one of the following:
- I’m feeling rushed or overwhelmed or anxious
- I’m feeling let down or unsupported
- I’m hungry, tired or in pain
- I’m not living up to my own expectations
- I’m feeling that I don’t have what I need or deserve
- So before we stop and give someone else a blast, I think it’s worth pausing and asking ourselves “Who am I really angry at?” swiftly followed by “What do I really need right now?”
When have you channeled your inner toddler lately?
Tell us about it here.