Anger

(As a side note, I have just passed 100k total views.  Thanks to all of my readers.)

One of the things that my mom taught me was that if I have a problem with one person, it may just be that other person, but if I have the same problem with many people, the problem is probably me.  I suppose an example to illustrate the idea is a person who marries many times.  When someone divorces and remarries, it may well be that the first spouse was abusive or unreasonable or something like that.  But if someone divorces and remarries 10 or more times, it may just be the case that that person is the one who is hard to get along with.

So, I have come to a perplexing spot.  I have had multiple people tell me that I have become an angry person--that I was once more pleasant to be with than I am now.  Since I have been told this by so many people, to be rational, I must assume that there is truth in this claim.  But the problem is that I don't feel like an angry person.

I don't think I'm angry very much at all.  When I teach class, I am very happy.  I love teaching my students.  And I think that most of them can see that.  Sure, sometimes I'm tired or bored or something and I don't show the level of excitement that I would like to, but for the most part, I think I'm a rather cheerful teacher.

When I'm at home with Conrad, I'm very happy.  I tell him multiple times per day how happy he makes me.  I stroke his cheek and cuddle with him and he makes me smile.  I love my home life.  It isn't perfect.  We don't wash all the dishes every day and we don't fold the laundry as soon as it come out of the dryer, but we are very happy together.

Many times, such as today, I'll be walking or driving along and have a sudden rush of happiness for no apparent reason at all.  I just start smiling and feeling good.  Many times when I feel this way, I post about it on Facebook to share the sunshine with others.

When I'm scrolling through my news feed on Facebook, many times I like to look for things to "like".  In fact, I often click "like" on a dozen posts all in a row.  I just scroll through and look for things to like.  And when I find something that I really like, sometimes I'll go to that person's wall and look for other things to like.  I feel like I'm spreading cheer by liking all of these posts, even if it is a tiny gesture.

When I hang out with friends, I think I'm a rather pleasant fellow to be with.  I try to find commonalities with other people, I try to talk about things that I know they're interested in.  I try to remember things about people and ask them about it--about their career or hobbies or things.  I like telling people how much I admire them, how cool I think they are, or whatever quality I find admirable about them.  I don't do this as much as I would like to, but I think I do a decent job at it.

But I know that the human psyche makes it very difficult or even impossible to perceive oneself with complete accuracy.  (For example, when I'm not looking in a mirror or feeling my body with my hands, I don't think of myself as fat, I think of myself as I always was, even when I was skinny.)  So, I must--if I wish to be rational and objective--open myself to the idea that I may just be more angry or unpleasant than I view myself to be.   I may just be more cantankerous or less kind than I think of myself as being.

I want to ask for your perspective.  I want to know how other people feel about this question.  But perhaps asking for it isn't the best route after all.  I don't know.  Suppose that I actually am more ornery than I once was.  Then pointing that out to me may elicit anger in me, triggering a very unpleasant response from me.  That is something I would wish to avoid.  But if I am seen as an angry person--or, at least angrier than I view myself--I would like to know it, and I would like to remedy it.

There certainly are many things in my past that would cause me to be angry.  However, I think that what would be best is for me to learn from all of the hurt that has been caused to me and how unpleasant it was for me to feel that way and therefore refrain from doing things which hurt other people in similar ways.  Turning hurt and anger into a weapon to use against other people perpetuates the cycle of hurt, which leads to a less pleasant world to live in.  Turning the hurt into compassion for others who have experienced similar hurt seems like the optimal way to create a more pleasant society.  This is what I wish to do.