Anger on Graduation Day
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Anger is a powerful emotion that can challenge anybody, even the most positive, outgoing, and cheerful people that you may know. Everybody has experienced some form of anger at one time or another whether it was the feeling of irritation or full-blown rage (both of which we can learn to diminish). Whatever the case may be, it’s difficult to go through life without experiencing anger at least in some situations. However, anger can be expressed in a healthy manner, or anger can be expressed in a way that causes negative reactions that could destroy relationships and cause physical or psychological and emotional injuries to ourselves or others.
Sometimes the experience of anger may be triggered by what somebody else does or says, or doesn’t do and doesn’t say, and I recall that I was overcome by anger just before my college graduation celebration with my family and friends. However, I was accustomed to never allowing my anger to get out of control, and I was usually the most positive and cheerful person in the house.
I had recently attended our college graduation ceremony with my friends and family members, where we received a speech by a state leader and other university dignitaries. The day began well as we all travelled together in a convoy of vehicles laughing all the way to campus. Everybody was smiling and waving at us because we were the first group of girls to graduate within my area, where people like me (females) did not generally go to college. Everybody was so happy that we were setting a new pattern within our family, and they were sharing their enthusiasm with us constantly.
On the next day I was about to participate in a private family celebration of my accomplishments, which was a celebration held in my honor, and I was upstairs getting ready to put on my gown and take my seat. However, as I was getting ready to come downstairs to spend time with the family that was waiting for me, another girl that I was acquainted with came into my room and told me that she wanted to talk. In retrospect I wish that she had waited until the celebrations were over so that we could enjoy ourselves, but instead he began to complain about a variety of personal problems that were totally unrelated to me and began swearing and degrading the others that she was upset with (Some of whom were downstairs). However, I was not prepared to listen to her, because I was in a very positive and joyful state, slipping into my gown, and getting ready to connect with the family and friends who were expecting me at any moment. As a result of this tenuous situation, I became frustrated in response to her desire to complain and drag down the spirit of the day - She was typically very mature and responsible, but on that day she became incredibly inflamed, and this in turn led to my own feelings of anger and resentment. My mother called me several times, but the girl I was with continued to hold me up with her dilemma, and I didn’t want to expose the situation to any type of confrontation as we became more and more late for the celebration. My irritation with this person combined with my mother calling me downstairs, and my desire to maintain my own state of positivity and celebration led to a surge of anger at which point my mind went blank. I sat down on my bed as this person continued speaking, and my mother continued calling me incessantly, but I wanted to handle the challenge wisely.
I focused upon relaxing my body and breathing inward and outward in a deliberate fashion as I told the girl that her situation (which was completely unrelated to me) would need to wait and that I did not want to be involved with the interpersonal conflicts with which she was engaged. I decided that my own anger would not take control of me and ruin the day, so I deliberately shifted my focus from what she was saying to me, and I began to hum a pleasant song while contemplating the challenges that I had overcome throughout my college years. I also contemplated my sense of gratitude for my graduation, which was a major achievement. Through shifting my focus I began to shift my state, and we went downstairs and enjoyed the afternoon together without any further problems.
Generally, when I am faced with a difficult situation I have found that the best way to handle the challenge is to become constructive with my thoughts and actions rather than the alternative. Although the experience of anger is normal, it’s important for me that I do not allow the emotions to provoke me or others. My options with this person were limitless, and I could have chosen to shout and to push her away from me, but I chose a different path. Although she seemed to be intentionally attempting to drag me into some painful situation that I was not remotely involved with just moments before I went downstairs to spend time with our friends and family, I chose to shift my focus and give myself time to cool off.