Month: May 2018

<em>Here’s a Tool to Help You Out if You Struggle with Anger Issues</em>

Here’s a Tool to Help You Out if You Struggle with Anger Issues

The First Rule of Fight Club…

And, I’m going to break it.

Yes, I got into a fight.

Actually, it was more like, I got beat up a little.

It all started when I decided to take my truck to a self-serve car wash—little mud and grime just doesn’t sit well with this former Marine.

I drove into the bay, swiped my credit card, and the hand-held wand went swoosh with water pressure.

I should’ve known this was going to be ‘one of those’ carwashes when I got a face full of mud from the back-spray after sticking the nozzle into the bed of my truck and squeezing the trigger.

After a few more muddy-spray-dousings—yes, I couldn’t seem to get out of the way in time—I pulled the high-pressure hose over my head and started to pre-wash the tailgate.

I didn’t even have a chance to pull the trigger on the dang thing before I got slapped upside the head by the hose.

I scowled and began to scrutinize the hose from the handle to the ceiling where the hose fitted into some sort of 360-degree thingy that allowed it to travel around my pickup.

Okay, no problem. Just an incidental contact with an inanimate object.

Grabbed the handle, lifted the nozzle, and before I could squeeze the trigger, THUD!

Right upside the head, again!

Okay, first time, incidental, but now a second time? And, in the same freaking place?!

Hm.

I fiddled with the hose with my left hand without moving the nozzle in my right.

During this whole time, I processed whether or not, I was going to shred the hose and teach it a lesson.

“Come on Christian, it’s gonna be ok man,” I told myself…several times.

Alright, it’s just a hose and you’re not standing in the right spot. I just gotta move over to the—

BAM!

NO WAY! A third time?!…In the head.

I’m pretty sure I went from; trying to talk myself down, to seriously pissed, like I’m gonna kill this thing.

I glared at the hose.

It continued its journey above all the way through its 360-degree arc it already traveled to sneak up behind me for a third strike.

Let’s not talk about the brush that accosted me soon afterward and its hose that tried to cinch down around my neck.

I couldn’t believe it…I nearly lost my mind in that carwash.

I stood there after the assault, dripping wet, and truly thought of shredding hoses, snapping the handle over my thigh—while making animal noises (a Marine thing)—and throwing every broken piece of hardware into the street.

But I didn’t.

It really is a wonder though, because there was a day…I probably…would have.

***

Ever get so hideously mad at something or someone?

We can be such dark creatures at times.

Maybe you’ve never put your fist through a wall, a door, or throw something across the garage that ended in a crash; which turned into a repair bill, for something that invariably winds up costing more money than the item thrown was actually worth.

Yes, there’s a price tag for our anger.

Sometimes, it costs us more than just money.

I hope you haven’t done those things before. Unfortunately, I have.

***

Every day, I try to better myself, even if it’s a little bit.

One strategy that has helped me in changing some dark areas in life is Meditation.

Now, before you tune me out, just hear me out, for a moment.

I’m not talking about chanting some mantra over and over again in some tortured sitting position.

I would’ve never started if that was the case.

And, I’m not talking about praying either.

Not to minimize prayer, I do pray, but…

You know the drill, “Dear God…blah blah blah,” then I don’t shut up until I say ‘Amen’.

I’m too busy with my heavenly shopping list that if God did say something, I wouldn’t hear it.

Perhaps it’s time to be quiet and listen.

***

Meditation is a tool in my arsenal against the fight of overreacting, losing my temper, and making a poor decision based on a natural emotion.

That’s right, getting angry is normal. Each of us has different thresholds at what makes us upset but how we react to anger is entirely up to us.

Meditation has been an evolving thing for me since I first started to incorporate it into my life a few years ago.

Here’s how I do this as a daily practice now and it’s made a huge difference, not just in the anger department, but in every area in my life.

I prefer to meditate first thing in the morning. My head is less cluttered in the mornings than after a full day of life.

I find a comfortable space to sit down—usually my living room floor—close my eyes, and attempt to sit quietly.

If you’re like me, you’ll wind up daydreaming about what makes you anxious and fearful, about conversations that have yet to take place (and most likely never will), and past regrets…all of which will steal your energy.

At that point, I tell myself those thoughts are unproductive and I focus my thoughts on a pleasant place.

I give my brain something good to chew on.

Then after a few moments, I can concentrate on my breathing. The crazy daydreams slowly recede until I don’t notice them any longer, and the turmoil inside eases.

The longer I practiced this, the easier it has become to focus on stilling my thoughts and preparing for my day.

It’s about mental preparation to be centered for the inevitable sideswipes and full-on attacks that life comes at you with.

***

There’s a ton of research out there on the benefits of meditation. Google it. It’s amazing what’s out there on the subject.

One study from Massachusetts General Hospital revealed that meditating actually changes the brain’s gray matter.

Gray matter is what contains most of our neurons. Basically, it’s the area in the brain where emotions, decision making, and…self-control is located.

 Britta Hölzel, a researcher with the above study said, “It is fascinating to see the brain’s plasticity and that, by practicing meditation, we can play an active role in changing the brain and can increase our well-being and quality of life.”

That’s great news! What this means is here’s a tool that we can use to help us rewire how we react, and ultimately make better decisions when the emotion of anger hits us.

Posted by Christian Martin Jr. in Life Hack, Living Better, Reinvention, Self-Improvement
Do We Always Have to be Right?

Do We Always Have to be Right?

We, humans, have this insatiable desire, if not addiction, to be RIGHT.

No matter what.

And because we fear, we hate being wrong.

If you are wrong about the right path as you run away from the tiger chasing you, well…it doesn’t turn out so good.

It gets messy.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve sat in the middle of the intersection of my life and was totally paralyzed to make a decision for fear of being wrong.

What the hell!?

I mean seriously, I remained stuck, miserable with certain situations all because I didn’t want to be wrong.

And when you need to be right and believe that the path you walk is what EVERYONE else should walk, then you become another gatekeeper in the system of shoving others into the same corral you’re stuck in.

I’m not sure what’s worse, being the one stuck, or the cattle prod in which I entrench others into a life that does not resonate with them.

Reminds me of a story I heard many moons ago when a speaker made a point about being right.

I did a quick search, using google of course—which is always right, right?—about the veracity of this urban legend of a large naval ship at sea and the infamous lighthouse.

This is one version…

***

ACTUAL transcript of a US naval ship with Canadian authorities off the coast of Newfoundland in October 1995. This radio conversation was released by the Chief of Naval Operations on 10-10-95.

Americans: “Please divert your course 15 degrees to the North to avoid a collision.”

Canadians: “Recommend you divert YOUR course 15 degrees to the South to avoid a collision.”

Americans: “This is the captain of a US Navy ship. I say again, divert YOUR course.”

Canadians: “No, I say again, you divert YOUR course.”

Americans: “THIS IS THE AIRCRAFT CARRIER USS ABRAHAM LINCOLN, THE SECOND LARGEST SHIP IN THE UNITED STATES’ ATLANTIC FLEET. WE ARE ACCOMPANIED BY THREE DESTROYERS, THREE CRUISERS AND NUMEROUS SUPPORT VESSELS. I DEMAND THAT YOU CHANGE YOUR COURSE 15 DEGREES NORTH. THAT’S ONE-FIVE DEGREES NORTH, OR COUNTER MEASURES WILL BE UNDERTAKEN TO ENSURE THE SAFETY OF THIS SHIP.”

Canadians: “This is a lighthouse. Your call.”

***

This story is an old one and the roots traced back to the early 1930’s.

I’ve heard similar stories of this account with different named ships and locales over the years.

Seems as though everyone has the “right” version of this story.

Rumor is that there’s a Spanish version of this tale that the reply of the operator of the Lighthouse states he’s accompanied by his dog, food, beer, and a canary that is asleep.

I think the Spanish version sounds better…um, right version that is…but hey, that’s me.

Am I wrong for thinking that?

Much has been preached about this story in the context of being right to the point of being inflexible, being arrogant, and being demeaning toward others, in the fact that we, of course, are right.

***

Yes, there are certain rules and laws to uphold, but even some laws are flat out bad and wrong to which Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in his letter to fellow Clergymen eloquently addressed in his famous Letter from Birmingham Jail.

Unfortunately, the craving and addiction and habit of thinking and feeling that we ARE right is usually at the expense of putting others down, demeaning co-workers, and condemning family members.

Perfectionism is the curse of progress.

And when you set out to make certain changes in your life, progress is what you should strive for and not perfection.

And! what is right today, may prove wrong tomorrow….

Earth was flat, now it’s round.

The Sun revolved around the earth, now it’s the other way around.

Coconut oil was supposed to be good for you, now it’s not.

Chocolate was bad, now it’s good for the heart—interesting fact, my dentist loves me!

Society, family, co-workers, all scream at us what is right…yet, none dare to walk the path you will walk when you decide that the reinvention you need to accomplish in your life, MUST happen…

Because if it doesn’t, you know that you will be the lion’s next victim as you sit confused in the middle of the intersecting pathways.

***

With all this talk of being right and the uneasiness that comes with the fact that I myself might admit that I need to adjust a few things along life’s journey, I have to ask myself a few questions along the way…

  • – What would our relationships look like if we could sprinkle kindness and humility with our answers when delivering what we think is right?
  • – How much stronger would our families ties be if we shouted praise for the one who is attempting to make positive changes instead of scraping at every little negative thing about their life?
  • – Would work be more pleasant of an experience if we stopped putting other co-workers down because of our unconscious competence and we ourselves have forgotten the learning curve we went through to become the experts (being right all the time!) in our field?

***

Then…

Sometimes…most times, really…I fear being made fun of, I fear shame, I fear ridicule, I fear what society thinks of me, I fear what you think about this blog, I fear being wrong…

I fear, fear, fear!

Thus, I must be right, at least appear to be right—no matter what—which is dangerous turf.

It takes me to a place of evasion and deflecting that usually means I wind up crossing the lines of my own integrity. I will lie and say, “Yep, I agree” or “I know” when I don’t or didn’t and I violate my own values.

Ugh…

***

How many positive changes could we make if we acknowledged that we might not be right all the time and say…

“It’s okay, let’s go this way for a while and see what happens?”


Photo by Micaela Parente on Unsplash

Posted by Christian Martin Jr. in Burnout, Life Hack, Living Better, Reinvention, Self-Improvement