Friday, March 18, 2011

Anger and Listening

Anger is such a taboo subject for lots of people I know.

In my little world, anger is not acceptable. I've grown up to learn that only certain people
in my family are "allowed" to be angry and express it. When I do, it is met with worry, concern, a temptation to make it go away.

Anger is a human emotion. I didn't grow up at a Buddhist temple after all, far from it.

I have had a lot of anger around me growing up and therefore it scares the hell out of me most of the time.

I am angry now. I'm frustrated and impatient. I'm angry with certain people for not even trying to understand me or get to know me. Those same people preach about subjects they know nothing about and try to preach it to me. Not helpful!

When I was going thru cancer treatment and people who have not had cancer try to give me advice and tell me to be positive etc.....that would really make me mad. People should not assume they know about something when they have not had the experience themselves. Everyone is different in how they can handle situations too. Everyones' bodies are individual. Cancer treatment affects everyone differently. Just like other things, like depression or trauma and grief.

I try to come at the irritation from a psychological view as well. Why is this person or that person judging me or others on subjects they know nothing about? Is it their insecurities rearing their heads? Is it frustration with how their lives are going so they feel the need to tell others how to live?

I am not exempt from doing this too. I've told people how to do things, but i mostly try and say it in a way that is coming from a place of what worked for ME. Lately I'm even stepping back from that and just trying to listen unless the person really asks for my help and advice. Sometimes people just want to be listened to.

Life can be so overwhelming. Lately with the situation in Japan and events all over the is hard enough. When you feel like you don't even have the support of your family it can make life even harder and more challenging to deal with. Very isolating.

Yes, i'm ranting and I suppose I needed to do so. This is an especially hard time for me. Spring is coming and most people are really happy and uplifting about that fact. Did you know that April is one of the most popular months for suicide?

It is a time for growth and also for lots of change, anxiety, stress. The pressure that you are "supposed" to feel energetic and happy that Spring is here when in fact it is a very hard time emotionally. The guilt of feeling bad when others feel good can be consuming at times.

So, I guess my point of todays post is to remind people out there that sometimes people just want your time. They don't need your advice or judgments or fixing. Just listen and maybe you'll learn something about someone you didn't know before.

And .....anger is OK, as long as we don't get stuck in it.

Any comments....? if anyone is out there that is :)


JWL said...

Nice post, Jenn. I agree that pretending anger (or any other negative emotion) isn't there will be counterproductive at best, and will create far worse problems down the road. We have to honor the truth of our emotional states of being in order to be as healthy as we can be.

I also liked what you said about helping others and advice. I get caught up in this too; what usually brings me back is remembering compassion, which by definition is a willingness to be attentive to suffering. So many people lack the courage to do this!

Anonymous said...

Hey Jenngie,
My name is Liz and I came across your blog some time ago. I have not seen any new posts in a while and I hope that's because you are much better, out there living your life. Sorry to read in the last post that people over advise you on certain things cancer related, I suppose they are trying to help, even though instead they push ideas on to you.
That said, since your blog is a great resource for someone going through cancer I wanted to reach out to you to see if you were interested in a new online social support network (that I am the community manager of!) called I Had Cancer. It is a new and free social support network focused on connecting people based on experiences with cancer so that they can easily communicate with one another and share information. I would love to tell you more if you are interested, so please let me know! Because I was so struck by your writing I would love to send you an early-access pass with extra invites for others you may know going through this journey.

Either way, thank you so much for your writing. Take care and best regards.
If anyone else would like information on I Had Cancer please email me.

Anonymous said...


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Me From Maine said...

Wow, I get this more than you can possibly know! It pisses me off to no end when folks try to be fluffy and peace and love every moment and do not allow anger around themselves...let alone allow themselves to be angry. Instead, I find those people often are then passive aggressive as a way to let out that energy that they otherwise pretend they do not have inside of themselves.

As Han Solo says "I prefer a straight fight to all this sneaking around!". Me, too! I would rather someone get their anger out than stuff it inside and pretend every day is a rainbow and expect everyone else around them to do the same....or preach about how if you just do this or that, you can return to a place of rainbows and bunnies.

~ Val