Last week I was watching this interchange between a Buddhist Teacher and a student in her class; I was struck with the question she kept asking the student. “Why do you need to get mad” and regardless of the answer from the student the question remained the same “Why do you need to get mad”. I had to ask myself, why do we need to get mad? Sure, there will be times when someone is disrespectful, rude, inconsiderate and down right hateful to us, but why does our response have to be anger? What does getting “Mad” do for us in the situation.
I have had some time to reflect on this and have some thoughts:
When we become mad we are often taking a protective stance and by becoming mad we have a sense that we are standing up for ourselves and somehow overcoming this other person’s actions.
When we become mad we are justifying our position, stance or action in the interaction with the other, we become mad to bolster our own need to “be right”.
When we become mad our body responds by going into the fight or flight mode which amps us up and gives us more energy, do we get mad so we will have the energy and where-with-all to respond to the other person?
The Question I have been considering is the Question: Is there another option? In these interactions, is there someone or something that is “forcing” us to become mad? Or is it just an unconscious reaction?
Is there a different emotion we can feel where we are still able to protect ourselves and stand up for our position? Is the Buddhist teacher correct when she says that “Something is going on in us and we are letting someone or something get to us and make us mad?” Is the respond of anger really coming from something in us and not from the external interaction? Do we respond with anger because we are insecure? Unsure of our position? Feeling taken advantage of? and if any of these reasons are correct, is anger the right response?
I am not acting as if I have the answers in this situation…. What I do have are many questions, for myself and for all of us.
Would we feel and respond differently if we felt compassion for ourselves or the other? If we felt openness to consider the other’s view point while still holding our boundaries? What would the interaction look like and sound like if we changed ourselves and did not move immediately to becoming mad or angry?
Please comment and let me know what you think?
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