This is a blogpost I wrote about anger a few years ago:
I’ve learned that there are two types of anger out there. We have one when we feel we can make a difference, and the other is when we feel helpless. The first causes us to embark on a vendetta to right what we perceive as wrong, while the second leaves us to fester in depression.
Everyone’s angry about something, that’s not in question. The real question is which type of anger do you have? If you feel in your heart that a difference can be made, that one person can have a positive effect on the situation, then you must stop being lazy and making excuses and fight for what you believe in! Even if you don’t end up changing much, the satisfaction that you tried and the hope that one day your passion will pay off will rid you of your anger.
But what do you do if you feel helpless? Why try if it’s impossible for you to influence your circumstances? If that’s the case you have two choices. The easy and most frequent choice is to just wallow in depression and spend all your energy fantasizing about how things could be different. The more difficult choice is to accept that you can’t change the situation, and only alter your perception on it. In the end, circumstances are only a trigger to your emotions. If you learn to accept that bad things happen, even to good people, and focus on all the little things in life that you take for granted, your attitude will slowly mold your environment for the better. Positivity is contagious and you will find that it can push back the walls of despair much faster than any outside force can.
Ultimately what I have said here is just an elaboration of the Serenity Prayer, which asks for the serenity to accept the things one can’t change, the courage to change the things one can, and the wisdom to know the difference.
But what if you have serenity and still don’t know what to do to make things feel better? I can’t tell you how you should live your life, but I can give some examples of the way I live mine.
If something that I cannot change just made me very angry or sad, I think of something in my life that I can change and strive to improve it. Even if it’s as simple as tidying up my room or doing a chore I’ve been putting off. The act of working gets my mind off of what happened, and I always feel at least a little relieved or proud of myself when I’m done.
But what if it’s not just one thing here and there that is hurting me? What if it’s a series of things or something that just won’t go away? I find that it’s important in life to discover something that is both enjoyable and productive, something that will give you focus and enjoyment while working on, and fulfillment and peace at the end of the day. It could be a hobby like painting, writing, or playing an instrument. But what if you can’t think of anything like that? Sometimes it’s as simple as making someone smile or helping them with a problem. Ultimately the most enjoyable things to do are things that other people find enjoyable too. It’s amazing how much someones else’s appreciation of your passion can lift your spirits, even if you don’t feel content with it on your own.