art: Tommy Pariah
We all get angry. For some folks, it takes more to get them angry than others. For some it’s like filling a bucket and when the bucket is full, it spills over. The one thing that seems to be true no matter the origin of the anger is that when it spills, it frequently gets people wet who had no part in filling up the bucket. This is why it’s important to bale out the bucket yourself, periodically. It’s our responsibility to manage our lives both at home and work in a way that allows us to interact with others in a kind and civilized manner.
I’ve been dealing with a bit of anger myself in the last week, all related to things happening in my nonwork life. This morning on my way to work I got irritated by the other drivers who were driving too slow, clogging up the lanes, taking unnecessary risk, whatever…they were just pissing me off.
I happened to have a copy of The Dhammapada in my backpack, which I pulled out and looked at when I got to my desk.
All that we are is a result of what we have thought.
There are other translations, one of which includes the following: with our thoughts we make the world. It is a lovely reminder that anger, irritation, impatience are all born of thought and I can rethink my way to a place that will help me give others I encounter in the world the kind of interaction that that is beneficial to us both.
I really want to make a positive impact in the world and I don’t mean doing things that get me on the cover of magazines. I mean the small everyday things that touch individual people, if only briefly. The ripple effect of that could be awesome. I remember in high school driver’s ed class we watched a movie about good driving habits and they show a person pulling out of their driveway and almost hitting another car in the street. It shows the other driver going off angrily and the domino effect of that anger. Then they rewind and show the same encounter with a more polite interaction and the ripple effect of that. I still remember that film and it has been years.
I know what helps me snap out of a bad mood or an angry rut: exercise, reading Buddhist teachings, having positive social interactions with others and sometimes forced cheerfulness will snap me out of it…before I realize it the cheerfulness is not being forced.
What are the things you need to do to avoid the moods that prevent you from interacting positively with coworkers and customers?
I remember that driver’s ed film too! Wasn’t it called “Courtesy is Contagious” or something like that? Black & white? With everyone driving Plymouth Valiants?
or was it Dodge Darts?