Dealing with anger

I’d like to help those of you who like me, are dealing with anger issues, and I also want to add a few original pieces of advice to the growing body of self-help articles and techniques for anger management. That is why I made this video.

What follows is a close transcript of what I said in the video.

First, you’ll want to ask what anger is, because the definition varies based on the kind of anger you feel.

There’s normal anger. It’s normal for everyone to get angry every once in a while. That kind of anger can even be used for good, such as to spur you on to make changes for the better in your life.

There’s also the bad kind of anger, the kind that takes over you, makes you ready to explode and hurt someone. It’s the kind where you lose control and do things you regret afterwards. It’s the kind of anger that scares others and even yourself, because you don’t know what you’ll do once it takes over. This is the bad anger. You have to take care of this anger, you have to fix yourself so you don’t get this angry anymore, before you do something that you might regret for the rest of your life.

The first step when you find yourself angry is to get on top of the anger. Realize you’re still in control. That’s why we have these large brains with a very well developed cortex. We have the power to get on top of our base instincts. It takes a lot of effort but it can be done. If you feel you can’t do it, do the next best thing: get away from the situation. Walk away, get as far away as you need in order to stop feeling the tension of that situation and begin to calm yourself down.

Once you’re calm, you may choose to have a discussion about what caused the anger. Obviously, this only works in situations where the other person or persons are available and amenable to such things. Stay objective, DO NOT BLAME the other but express what triggered your anger and what you and the other person can do to avoid that sort of trigger in the future.

You can also choose to work out your anger through physical exercise. I’ve done this myself but let me tell you, it only works when you’re not that angry. When you’re so angry you’re bordering on mad, you can work out all you want, the anger will still be there and you may also risk physical injury to yourself, because you’ll be tempted to push your body beyond its limits in order to spend that anger inside you.

Anger is disruptive at best and can be lethal at worst — lethal to you or to others. You can easily have a heart attack or a stroke when you’re angry and the effects of those incidents can be temporary or permanent. You can also easily injure or kill others when you’re in a fit of anger, because you’re not in control of yourself, you’re pumped up on fight or flight hormones and capable of greater physical strength than normal.

So it behooves you to control your anger, to find out what triggers it and to work on yourself in order to find out the underlying causes for your anger. It may be that you’re just naturally irritable, it may be that your upbringing caused you to be angry, because you were abused or mistreated or your family dealt just as terribly with anger, giving you a bad example that you’re now mirroring.

Look for a good CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy) practitioner. CBT has been proven, time and time again, to work much better than medication. Something that helped me is Ferasa. It’s an ancient Arabic face reading practice. The Ferasa practitioner is trained to look at the subtle movements of the muscles in your face and to sense what you are feeling, then he will ask you questions that will cause you to eventually find your problems and face them. The thing is, you can’t hide what you’re feeling or thinking from a knowledgeable Ferasa practitioner. He will continue to ask you probing questions until you are forced to deal with your problems.

The point is not to ball up in a fetal position and cry about how much of a victim you are. That’s not productive and it won’t solve your anger. The point is to find out what’s causing your anger and acknowledge that cause to yourself, fully. You want to own that cause and you want to say to yourself, over and over, until it sticks, that what happened is in the past, that you accept it, that you forgive yourself and the others involved, and that you’re moving on. That you’re an adult now, that you have a good life, that you are a good person and that you are choosing to behave rationally and considerately, each and every day.

It will also help to have a regular physical exercise schedule, at least 2-3 times per week, and it will also help you to meditate at least 5 minutes in the morning. It’s much better to do it in the morning, because you’ll be starting your day by calming yourself down. And you may also find that you’ll want to do a 5 minute meditation at night, to close out the day, where you acknowledge the good and the bad situations that happened that day and you promise yourself to do better the next time.

The care of our bodies

In this follow-up to my post entitled “Stewardship or possession“, I talk about the care of our bodies, which in a way are our ultimate possessions. How do we and how should we regard and care for our bodies? We each only get one body during our lifetimes. How do we want to spend our last years of life? As invalids, caught in a painful, dreary existence or as vibrant individuals who are still able to move around, spend meaningful time with others and travel to see the world?

Stewardship or possession?

What’s the healthier, saner way to view that which have or enjoy?

Should you regard it as a possession or should you see yourself as a steward of it? What’s the better long-term approach to these matters? Join me for a (non-religious) discussion of the subject in this video. I’ll talk about various topics related directly to this subject, such as the relationship between husband and wife, one’s home, business and other “possessions”, such as cars, furniture, clothes, etc.

I hope this helps you!

The story of a pair of shoes

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I’ve owned these monk-strap shoes for over 10 years. I photographed them this morning for the purposes of this post. These are one of the pairs of shoes I use around the house for all kinds of work: home office, going to the cellar to fetch firewood, going into the dusty attic to put or get various things, renovation work, etc.

I used them last night as we mounted this restored door frame back in place, as I used a miter saw in the cellar, carried the various parts up to the house, used a nail gun to secure them in place and assemble the frame.

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You can see these same shoes in this video.

I also used them when I built our garden shed in Florida.

In spite of all the wear and tear I’ve put them through over the years, a little elbow grease always gets them looking great, and that’s a testament to the craftmanship of the shoemaker. The brand (Mario Calugi) isn’t as important here as the lesson to be learned from the experience.

Lots of people make a big stink about how wearing leather contributes to animal cruelty but the truth of the matter is, using every little bit of an animal that’s going to get sacrificed for its meat anyway, is the right thing to do.

Furthermore, taking proper care of your belongings, especially the ones made from other beings (because animals are beings, not things) is crucial and it is part of showing respect for the sacrifice of that animal, for the protection its skin profers you and for the hard work that went into making the finished good you now have in your possession.

Good leather lasts a lifetime if you take care of it. Great shoes also last a lifetime if you take care of them. Yes, it means changing the soles when they wear out, it means treating the leather and polishing it, but it’s the right thing to do. It’s part of being a good, responsible human being to take care of your stuff. Please do it.

Something wonderful happened last night

I want to share something with you, something wonderful that happened last night. Read on, it’s worth it.

Around 4 pm, the water company turned off the water for the entire city due to emergency repairs. Late at night, they turned it back on but it was full of silt and mud, so we let the faucets run to clear the pipes. I went back to my work and Ligia took Sophie to bed.

About an hour later, I got up from my desk and went to see if the water was clear enough to take a shower. To my surprise, the entire kitchen was flooded with about 1-2 cm of water. The kitchen sink had run over. There I was at 11:15 at night, faced with having to mop up all that water when all I wanted to do was to take a shower and hit the sack.

I got the mop and the bucket and got to work, grumbling to myself about the water company and the sink and the pipes and the dirty water and my luck.

A few minutes later, Sasha (one of our cats) came into the kitchen, stepped right onto the wet floor (you know cats, they avoid water) and started looking at me. She even drank some of it.

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As I looked at her, I was suddenly reminded of one of my favorite cartoons featuring Tom and Jerry, entitled “Mice Follies”, released in 1954. In it, Jerry and Nibbles (his nephew) flooded the kitchen and froze it with the aid of the refrigerator in order to create a skating rink. Tom naturally pursued them, leading to lots of pratfalls, pranks and laughter.

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That wonderful memory of a wonderful cartoon was enough to wipe the slate clean for me. All of a sudden, a late-night disaster was an opportunity to enjoy the moment. My attitude toward it changed completely and I began to enjoy mopping up all that water. I half expected Jerry and Nibbles to tiptoe into the kitchen holding a couple of refrigerator wires in hand, ready to freeze it.

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It took about 45 minutes to get all the water mopped up. All of the cats joined me by the end, entranced by the circular movements of the mop through the water. I even started a roaring fire in the kitchen stove to keep me company. I had a blast and went to bed with a smile on my face.

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Isn’t it amazing how differently we can perceive the same event if our attitude toward it changes? We can complain and grumble or we can smile and enjoy ourselves thoroughly doing the very same thing. And of course it helps if we also love Tom and Jerry cartoons!

Introducing “The Elegant Gentleman”

I’d like to present a new project of mine, something that I’ve been thinking about and planning for a while. It’s called “The Elegant Gentleman”, and it’s going to be a journey on which I’ll hope you’ll join me, where we will explore clothes, manners and the finer things in life, in the search for a noble, enlightened existence as gentle-men, in this modern world of ours where stress and busy-ness seem to dominate the lives of those around us.

Raoul

Naturally, we won’t have an enlightened existence without the inner search for higher ideals. A preoccupation with “the finer things” alone will leave you empty in the end. But the practice and appreciation of character traits that ennoble us, and the search for meaning and happiness in the world around us, will make us enlightened. And I’ll tell you a little secret: when the search begins within and reaches outside, those “finer things” will begin to have a meaning that enriches our lives and helps us stay on a higher plane of living.

This all sounds somewhat esoteric, and on some level, it is. That’s why there are so few true gentlemen in the world. So won’t you join me as we seek membership in this exclusive club? The journey will be the initiation ceremony. The dues will be the experiences we will each have. And the reward will be a life better lived, a life worth living, a life full of wonderful memories for us and for those around us.

I’ll be creating and posting videos to my YouTube channel. Here’s the first one of the series:

And I’ll be posting frequently on my Facebook Page, and writing articles here on my site, where I’ve added a new category, called… you guessed it, “The Elegant Gentleman“. There’s even a website by the same name.

See you soon! Cheers!

What if money was no object?

That is a question every single one of us should ask ourselves, as early as possible in life, ideally when we’re still in school. It’s not too late for you now if you’re out of school. It’s just that it’s so important, you should do it as soon as possible. Asking it makes you aware of yourself; it raises you out of the dull routine of supposed life and supposed work that you thought you ought to be doing and opens your eyes to the possibilities that are out there. You’d be surprised how much of what we consider reality is just supposition — a matter of perception.

So, what if money was no object? What if income became irrelevant? What would you do with your life? Would you be willing to sacrifice a life of supposed luxury to pursue what you really love to do? It doesn’t have to be a permanent sacrifice, you know… It need only be for a while, until you get so good at what you do that the income will come automatically.

You only have one life to live, remember that, and for most people, it’s not that long. What would you do? Don’t you want your life to be fantastic? Don’t you want it to be amazing? I do. I want my life and Ligia’s life to be fantastic and amazing and spectacular and I hope that others want the same thing for themselves. We sacrificed a lot to be where we are today and yes, the effort was and is worth it, because we’re doing what we love.

As I was thinking about this tonight, a video appeared in my news reader, a video which talks about this very thing. Coincidence? I think not; we make our own fortunes.

Watch it and then take at least a few minutes (a few hours is better) to think about your life. What do you or did you want to do with your life? Are you doing it? Why not?

If you’re a parent, think about the life of your children. What are you pushing your children to do? Is it really worth it to impose yourself on them, only to have them blame you and avoid you later in life, when they discover they’ve been pushed down a path they didn’t really want? Do you want them to accuse you of manipulating them? There’s a thin line between guidance and dictatorial control when you’re a parent, and so many parents cross it…

The video is courtesy of the TragedyandHope channel on YouTube and it came to me via Likecool.

These modern times

We live in some interesting times, don’t we?

We’re more than happy to share private information with all kinds of strangers online, but we can’t be bothered to share our private thoughts with our spouses. Too busy for that… It’s no wonder the divorce rate keeps increasing.

We talk (a lot) but we don’t listen.

We know how to eat right, but we still eat crap.

We know how to exercise, but we’re getting flabbier and fatter.

We have access to more information than ever before, yet individually, we know less than ever. Our ability to condense the avalanche of information into knowledge is decreasing, because we’re more focused on quantity than quality. We read tons of articles every day, but we’ve lost the art of enjoying a single good article and thinking about what we’ve read.

We know exactly what we’re doing that’s hurting the environment, and instead of changing, we move our factories to developing countries, where no one cares (yet).

We can be entertained in more ways than ever thought possible. We can have incredible amounts of fun, yet most of us will admit to having little fun in their lives. Everything seems empty to some.

We know how to de-stress, but we don’t do it.

We know how to de-clutter, but we continue to accumulate more stuff.

We know how to be more efficient, but we continue to waste.

We have the manual, but we don’t RT*M.

We know when we need to grow up, but we continue to be immature just the same.

We know what meaningful work means, and we’ve heard of focusing on the task at hand, but we prefer to whittle away the hours on meaningless tasks that could be postponed or avoided.

We know we have innate abilities that make each of us special, but we don’t pursue the development of those hidden talents. Instead, we dream about what would happen if we did.

Our lives could be so much richer, individually and collectively, if we only did what we already know to be right and true.

Cine este fericit?

Cheia este sa decidem sa fim fericiti in ciuda problemelor din viata noastra. Vedeti slideshow-ul (PPS) atasat aici.

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Anger is just not worth the trouble

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I’ve recently written about how to respond effectively to stressful situations, and now it’s time to write about how to respond effectively to anger.

One thing most of us do battle with each and every day is our temper. We encounter a situation that pushes our buttons just the right way, and wouldn’t you know it, we’re angry again, in spite of our best intentions!

In recent weeks, a number of realizations dawned on me, all of which have been leading me to this conclusion: the easiest way to deal with anger is to let go of it. Regardless what some may say, there are no constructive ways to handle anger; there is no healthy way to channel it, or to use it as a motivator for something else.

Anger toward someone or something hurts you more than it could ever hurt that person or thing or situation, or whatever the case may be. If your body is a living vessel, then anger is a poison that fills it up and slowly eats up its walls. It weakens you, it makes everything taste bad, look bad and feel bad. It not only makes your life miserable, it also shortens it.

Life is already too short as it is. Why waste even a single minute on anger? It doesn’t solve problems. Many times, it compounds them. When the situation could be solved much better by cooler heads, getting angry only makes things worse and eliminates a quick, efficient solution.

One of my defenses has been that my anger is oftentimes righteous. Why I mean by that is I believe I’m justified in getting angry with someone because he or she wronged me, or because the situation warranted it (perhaps it was idiotic or illogical). Unfortunately, life is full of such people or situations, so my days are often punctuated by episodes of anger. When there’s always a fire inside, one that usually smolders, but often burns, it ends up taking precious energy away from useful pursuits and leaves me spent at the end of the day.

What’s more, even in cases where the other person fully provokes me and I’m entitled to get good and angry, what I’ve discovered is that it’s not worth it. The desire for retaliation, or revenge, or for making things right, or for punishing the other person in some way, is more damaging to me than their crime, whether it be theft, or lies, or who knows what. Another thing that I’ve discovered is that life will deal with them in good time, and they’ll get a far more painful and fitting punishment than anything I could have done to them.

The thing is, everyone pays for what they’ve done, in one way or another, and they pay for it in this life, sooner or later. The more I live, the more I realize how true that is, because I’ve felt it on my own skin. I’ve paid plenty for some mistakes I made in the past, I’ll be paying for others in the future, and so will those people that have wronged me. I don’t need to do anything. They’ll all get what’s coming to them. We’ll all get what’s coming to each of us, and you can take that to the bank.

So, the best way to deal with anger is to simply let go of it. It’s a conscious decision that takes only a little willpower. Just take a deep breath, then as you breathe out, imagine that anger exiting your body. Let go of it. Let it evaporate away, and focus on the good things in life.

Each day is so short, and our time with our loved ones is so brief, that we must do all we can to use our time wisely. If we don’t, then we’re wronging them, and we’re wronging ourselves, and yes, we’ll pay for that, too.

One way to respond to stress

I was reminded today of something I’ve known for a long time, something that still hasn’t become second nature to me. I was faced with stressors, and how I chose to respond to those stressors determined my mood and milieu for the rest of the day. On a long-term basis, the sum of all these responses determines how my body will look. Scary, isn’t it?

Hence, a rule I will try to keep in my mind at all times: my response to stress is determined by my attitude, which in turn determines how my body feels and looks afterward.

There have been countless times in the past when my attitude toward a stressful situation caused me pain (anger, headaches, malaise, arguments), and yet, today, and a few other times, a simple switch in the way I chose to perceive the situation (it wasn’t even a complete 180° turnaround, just a different way of looking at the problem) allowed me to roll with the punches and go right on with my business. Instead of being stumped by stress, I overcame it and that allowed me to be productive and avoid feeling ill.

I remember my dad telling me about attitude more than a decade ago, when I was in college, but as a wise man once said, college is wasted on youth. It didn’t stick then, and it’s still not sticking. Sure, it sounds nice and you and I agree with this stuff (I bet you’re nodding your head right now) but until you bang your head against the wall a few hundred/thousand times, you don’t get to learn this lesson.

The simple heart of the matter is that I can look and feel like this…

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… or I can look and feel like this.

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I’ll take the latter any time, because I know the costs involved with the former state.

You can do better

A couple of weekends ago, I was walking on the quay near the Casino in the city of Constanta. There was this girl sitting on one of the benches with a guy, supposedly her boyfriend. Her curly hair reminded me of my wife, so I watched them for a bit, to see how they fit together as a couple. I was disappointed.

The girl seemed nice, but the guy, a classic douchebag if I’ve ever seen one, kept forcing her to kiss him, pulling her toward him, and fondling her. She tried to resist, to keep a little distance and admire the view (it was a beautiful spring day) but all this douchebag wanted to do was to feel her up. Finally she gave in and let him have his way. That’s when I turned away, disgusted.

There are so many girls who simply give in. They’re pressured into relationships they don’t really want to have, into sexual acts they don’t really want to perform, into marriages where they’re not happy, and the list goes on, ad nauseam. They think a douchebag is all they’re entitled to in their lives. They think they’ve got to put out in order to get the relationship started and keep it going. They think abuse is normal.

None of that is normal. You can do better! Have a little self- respect. You will get the right guy, and he’ll be nice to you. You just have to be pickier, and have a little patience.

Have a look at my wife. It goes without saying that I think she’s hot. She could have had plenty of guys. But when she dated, before we met, she demanded respect from all those guys, didn’t fool around, and kept herself for her husband. You know what? Instead of being scorned for not putting out, she was respected all the more for her decision.

Ligia

So really, it all comes down to how much self-respect you have for yourself, and what you choose to do with your life. If you’re not going to respect yourself, no one else will. Don’t put out. Don’t be like the girls in this other post. Wait for the right guy, or even more, look for the right guy. Don’t give up along the way. Don’t let every stranger that enters your life have dessert before they get through the main course. Put them through plenty of tests before they get to the goodies. Don’t cheapen yourself. Each and every one of us has a God-given capability to be more than we think we could be. I say reach for the sky, and see what happens.