I was all set to talk about boredom this morning (not mine, other people’s and how I don’t get it), because I just read a really interesting article about some psychologists who are trying to get to the root of boredom and where it comes from. And I’ll probably come back to it, but, I find that isn’t where my brain is right now because, y’all, I’m seeing RED. Not my book. Like, crazy rage beast angry.
Anger is something I have always struggled with and mostly I’ve got it under control. Until other people’s actions end up making more work for me, and then I get like WHOA.
It’s not even important what set me off this morning. It’s a combination of things from a combination of people, two of whom I want to Gibbs slap, the other I want to strangle.
None of these situations are specifically directed at me. I don’t think any of these people is maliciously trying to make my life more difficult. They aren’t thinking of me at all because I am not the center of the universe. And I’m angry, not because I’m NOT the center of the universe, but because of the general thoughtlessness. And because the whole more work for me thing, when I’ve already got too much of my own.
Now do I go around actively thinking all the time about the effect of my actions on other people? No. I mean, I do think about it some of the time, but I’m not so evolved or selfless that it’s at the top of my mental chain. Do I make other people’s lives difficult? I hope not often, as I tend to take care of my own shit like a responsible grown up (I’m sure we see a theme here among my triggers), but I’m sure I inadvertently do sometimes.
People are inherently self-focused creatures. It’s how we’re wired. We are our own frame of reference and it takes work to think about others. There’s also this tendency to attribute behavior in others to stable, internal characteristics of that person–this is called the fundamental attribution error. Like, that asshat who cut me off in traffic is just a jerk, when maybe she really just got a phone call that her dad had a heart attack and she needs to get to the hospital. And because we tend to make these assumptions, it means we have less compassion for people (and more frustration ourselves) than we should.
This is something I’ve been working on. Because this level of frustration is toxic to me and because I think it’s important to try to be kind to people. I have, lately, been reading Brene Brown’s The Gifts of Imperfection, which is flipping awesome. Any psychologist who can call something “chicken shit” in her book is my absolute hero. It’s an incredibly thought provoking book that I’ll talk more about later, but one of the things that makes it thought provoking is that it’s making me look at my own reactions to things and instead of pegging the trigger and putting the root of the reaction on the other person, looking at what it is in me that’s reacting. Why am I so quick to anger, and to this level of anger, and then owning that reaction and whatever that real reason is. Because you can’t change other people.
So as I’m driving to work this morning, I stopped my grumbling and started naming what I was really feeling, which wasn’t actually anger (that’s my go to, knee jerk for everything because it is more comfortable to me than owning the more vulnerable emotions), but disrespected and hurt and frustrated. And baffled. Because I so often don’t understand why people can’t just take care of their stuff responsibly. I do it. Why can’t everybody else? (I do not actually expect a legitimate answer to that question, btw).
Anyway, I don’t know that I have some well thought out conclusion to all of this, but part and parcel of this blog is sharing with y’all what I’m thinking about which, GASP, is not always about writing (just, like, most of the time). It’s part of letting y’all know me and being authentic and imperfect.