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Sunday, November 20, 2011

Don't Hulk Out!

Of course, I'm not referring to the former WWF champion who told kids to "say their prayers and eat their vitamins," and threatened to have Hulkamania run wild on his opponents.  I mean that brainchild of Stan Lee who turned into a green-skinned giant whenever he got angry!

Lately I've been talking about things that should make us angry, specifically bullies and the enablers who keep them around.  The anger they inspire should manifest itself in action:  to set boundaries, to grow backbones, to reject and condemn those who (still) expect to get away with it, and to eliminate it from our lives.  But what if you're feeling anger for the same of anger, ranting for the sake of ranting, and hate for the sake of hate -- with no constructive purpose to use it for????

You're in trouble, that's what!

If you sit in a dark room by yourself, thinking only about things that make you angry, and don't do anything about it, you've introduced a parasite into your psyche.  You have injected a tapeworm into your brain and allowed it to eat away at everything that would otherwise be healthy and positive.  You have transformed your anger into resentment, which can kill you just like smoking or overeating can:  it's a disgusting habit that slowly erodes everything good -- the difference being that smoking and overeating destroy the body, while resentment destroys your mind, your soul, and your personality.

Psychologists describe resentment as the result of suppressed or repressed anger.  The only way to prevent resentment is to use it properly.  It is a weapon meant to be used from a position of strength to make needed changes.  It is not a crutch, it is not an excuse, and it is not permission for you to do or say things that hurt those who don't deserve it.  If you think it is, you're putting your own psyche through a meat-grinder!

So what if you're someplace where you can't get rid of it at the moment?  Keep thinking about it at that moment, you'll get distracted and sloppy, you'll lose your focus and your energy, and the source of your anger will (yet again) get off scot-free!

Being a long-distance runner, let me use the marathon as an example.  The marathon is the ultimate endurance exercise for your body and your mind.  You train your body by constant activity, putting it through the distance and time it will take to finish the rate.  You also train your mind for the same thing.  That means you visualize turning on your speed at Mile 18.  That means you think about friends or family who will call at your name and hold up big signs on the course!  And that means you DO NOT think about whether your time is too slow, whether you shut the oven off, whether you missed a deadline at work, or whether someone made you angry and you wish you could tell them off right then and there.  And if ANY of those thoughts are creeping into your head, scuffing your shoes, or slowing your stride, TURN THEM OFF, OR YOU'LL FIND YOURSELF LIMPING TO THE FINISH LINE TOMORROW WHILE EVERYONE ELSE HAS GONE HOME!

In other words, tell yourself to "stop," and then for the next minute or two, don't think about anything.  Maybe slow your pace to a jog while doing this, but whatever you need to do, get it out of your head.  You're running a marathon, and that's not a time to be carrying excess baggage.  Get your head in the race, and not up somewhere else!  ;)

If those malcontents and jabroni's knew that you were giving them a piggy-back ride to the finish line, they'd probably laugh out loud because they won (again)!  And if you're doing something else you like other than that, imagine how bad it would be giving them a free lunch, or a free hotel stay in your head.  Thinking about anyone or anything that makes you mad while you're trying to do something that you enjoy is ridiculous.  Once you're able to do something about it, you pull the trigger, but they don't get to have your thoughts when it's your time, and not them!

Don't misread me, I'm not saying that anger is better when it's repressed, far from it!  What I'm saying is that your anger must be controlled, harnessed, and dominated, because IT WORKS FOR YOU, NOT THE OTHER WAY AROUND!  When it's the wrong time, turn it off.  When it's the right time, and you're using it the right way, then and only then, TURN IT ON AND GO DEEP!!!!!!!!!!!!

YOU decide when the anger comes out, and YOU decide when to keep it together.  Times when the source of your anger is not present and not causing you trouble, directly or indirectly, is when you keep it together.  Times that they are crossing a line, and they are talking trash, and they are expecting to perform yet another action without a consequence, DON'T HOLD BACK, MAN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

When you're mature, you pick your battles and the times you fight them, and not the other way around.  It's your mind, it's your life, it's your manhood.  Show them all who's boss and make them do their jobs right!  You can't control all the gangsters in this world, but you can, and must, control you.

I'd like to thank two of my toughest critics for this one.  Please feel free to comment!