Lessons from a Recovering Doormat

Lessons from a Recovering Doormat


Don’t Give Up Your Power for Anger

I was in a good mood when my friend called to tell me she couldn’t make it to a concert we were supposed to attend that night. Her excuse wasn’t good in my book—a guy she liked asked her to have dinner with him and instead of asking for another day, she bailed on me. She casually told me to find someone to use her ticket. The concert was in a very large venue and tix were pricy. I wanted someone to go with and argued that I didn’t think I could get someone at the last minute. She shrugged it off, her mind obviously on seeing the guy and not on leaving me hanging. She did mention that she wanted to be reimbursed for the ticket by whoever went.

My first response was to get angry. How dare she?! Then I made a few calls and saw it would be tough to get someone at the last minute who’d want to see the band and pay for the tickets. Grrr…, I began to get very angry. How dare she do this to me? It’s wrong to put a man in front of a friend, especially when he called her last minute! I began to get worked up but thankfully caught myself. I’d been looking forward to going to the concert and now I was very agitated, letting it control my mood.

In the past I’d have stewed all day, wasted work time calling people to try to get someone to go with me and ruining my evening with the anger. So many of us do that. Someone does something that makes us angry and we let the anger or disappointment or frustration or other negative emotions hijack our mood, which can also hijack our pleasure. That’s what I almost did. But I realized that anger at my friend had already taken a few hours from me. I’ve learned that there’s no point in losing your power over how you do or don’t enjoy your day because something made you angry.

I decided that even though it felt uncomfortable, I was going to the concert on my own. Why waste time trying to find someone to accompany me? I could go by myself. My friend would lose the money for the ticket. Oh well!   I felt a bit odd finding my way through the stadium that the concert was in. But I found my seat and enjoyed the music. Once I was there I was fine! I forgot about the empty seat next to me and didn’t think about my anger, which dissipated earlier. And if my friend was out the money on her ticket, oh well!

Things will happen that make you angry. It’s your choice to let it have power over you or to use your power to not let small anger issues get to you. Of course it will be harder to do this if it’s something huge, like a friend stealing your romantic partner or someone smashing up your car. But even for those kinds of things, you’ll feel better if you control your anger instead of getting immersed in it. Don’t stoke the flames of negative emotions. Try your best to throw cold water on them, The less you absorb the lousy feelings, the less they’ll hurt you. Your mood will be better for doing it!
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