Anger, self-discipline and living the examined life

Sep 15 2016 Published by under Uncategorized

I am back to dealing with stupid people, ageist people and most of all people who do not see older (ie in their eyes not-pretty) women. I get angry. Oh do I get angry. I am much better with anger now than I was 10 years ago, let alone 30 years ago. I hold on to this, from the Buddha:

Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned.

This is often attributed to the Dalai Lama and stated as :

Anger is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die.

So how not to feel anger? This is the problem. More wisdom from the Dalai Lama that I found whilst looking for original quote:

Responding to a trying situation with patience and tolerance rather than reacting with anger and hatred involves active restraint, which comes from a strong, self-disciplined mind.

Or as a former partner used to say: Aye Yai Yai. Strong mind. Check. Self-discipline. Working-on-it.

Years ago, when there were women's groups (we called them "encounter groups" which is now SO out of date that it doesn't even sound bad anymore), we discussed how to confront scary situations (like talking to your boss or coming out or something like that). One of the things this group, my group, did was do other scary things, things we did just because they were scary. Jumping off a high dive board. Roller coasters. Sky-Diving. All done with friends, with support. Those were hard, but they made many of the other scary things easier to do. It didn't make them less scary. The talking to the boss stuff is and will be and always was scary. Just doing scary things made it easier to do other scary things.

So, I shall endeavor to practice self-discipline. In eating! Then maybe when I have to deal with self-discipline because someone refers to me as "old and useless" I will not want to punch them quite as much as I do now.

5 responses so far

  • B. Kiddo says:

    brilliant. am going to share this with kiddo, who has some anger management issues at the grand age of 10

    And think on it myself. Yes, practicing the thing in other areas, getting better at it across the board. I like that.

  • xykademiqz says:

    A couple of months ago, I was walking to get coffee with a newish faculty member from my department and a brand-new faculty member from another department. The latter said in earnest that nobody has any new ideas past 10 years of their postdoc anyway. I raised one of my eyebrows at him but said nothing, while the newish faculty fidgeted uncomfortably and made a comment to the effect of, "Uh, dude, seriously?" I don't know if that brand-new faculty a) was actually joking but delivered the world's best deadpan, b) thinks I am not past 10 years of my postdoc, c) doesn't give half a shit about insulting me, presumably because he decided I was of no consequence, or d) is so socially clueless that he doesn't realize what he said was insulting. But yeah, ageism.

    • pyrope says:

      I think this craziness might be rooted in graduate student's false perception that scientists who lead labs no longer 'do research' because lab members carry out the bulk of the PIs research. I'm pretty sure I was guilty of that myself until I reached the other side. If brand-new doesn't end up being a total douche, hopefully you can remind him/her of that stupid comment in a few years.

  • David says:

    Not that it completely helps, but I always try to remember this quote, "never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity" [which google now tells me is Hanlon's razor].

  • pyrope says:

    Thank you for those quotes - I love them! Also, I want an encounter group to go sky diving with.

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