I’m angry, you’re angry…
It was one of those days when I got up and everything just seemed to be real bad. Did I wake up on the wrong side of my bed? I don’t know. It was a stressful month for the family I guess. We were so excited yet very pressured because all my siblings and their kids will be staying for the holidays after being away for about two years. We were so busy with the house renovation. Everyday was a whirlwind of activities for us – from designing the new areas, discussing about the design with everybody concerned, purchasing materials and instructing the construction details to the laborers.
That day, I was having my breakfast and at the same time having discussion with somebody about the little room in the new kitchen. I don’t know how the conversation became so heated up until it turned out to be an argument and later on we ended up both angry at each other. I said some things I shouldn’t have said, and went to my room fuming mad. If my blood pressure could have been taken that very moment, it would have registered a boiling 240/120 or even more. My voice was wavering. My hands were trembling. I just wanted to hit the wall and scream at the top of my voice. I was like a bubble wanting to burst.
Trying so hard to calm myself down, I prayed silently, “Please Lord, teach me how to handle what I feel now.” I remembered somebody advised me before not to keep things to myself, to find an outlet for my negative feelings. He said I should do something constructive and creative. I didn’t know this advice could be so useful until that fateful day. A sudden inspiration struck me. I went to the bathroom and decided it was the perfect place to use up all the raging energies inside me. Cleaning it up would be a constructive way of dealing with what I feel, right?
I grabbed the disinfectant liquid and poured a lot of it on the floor. With hands still trembling in anger, I scrubbed the floor so hard you could hear those tiny germs crying out for mercy! Next, I vented out my anger on the toilet bowl, it was sparkling clean after so much brushing. What about the walls? I could almost see my reflection on it after I scrubbed it with much lather. Everything I can get my hands on I cleaned and scrubbed so hard, it was not even enough for me to let go of the rage I felt inside. While I was doing all this, I was muttering to myself some incomprehensible and insensitive stuff against the ‘culprit’, and guess what… she peeked at the door and said, “Sorry.” Grrrr…as if it’s that easy to forget! I’m still mad, duh! I continued on with my ‘cleaning session’ though.
About an hour later… I felt so much better. Maybe 80% less angry. Of course, there was still that feeling of being indifferent to her. That day, we tried our best to avoid each other, ignoring each other and looking the other way.
The next day, being Sunday, was a challenge for us as we attended the Holy Mass. When it was the time for peace to be shared with everybody, we looked at each other’s eyes. No more indifference. No more anger. I don’t know who said I’m sorry first but we both said it to each other with a hug and a kiss. Oh well, one good thing about the whole raging experience though, aside from my learning how to deal with negative emotions constructively… it also resulted to a cleaner and nicer bathroom. What I have learned could be pretty much summed up in the words of Stephen Covey,
It’s not what happens to us, but our response to what happens to us that hurts us. Of course, things can hurt us physically or economically and can cause sorrow. But our character, our basic identity, does not have to be hurt at all. In fact, our most difficult experiences become the crucibles that forge our character and develop the internal powers, the freedom to handle difficult circumstances in the future and to inspire others to do so as well.