|image from autoguide.com|
Now, you might be inclined to argue. After all, sometimes we get angry so fast that we don't feel like we had a choice. It is just a choice that we made so quickly that we didn't notice! It is a choice we have probably made so often that we no longer notice the decision process. I still remember the story that was in the reading I was required to do. It goes something like this.
There was a person (say it is me this time). I am running late. I just might have time to make it to my appointment if everything goes my way. Unfortunately, in the story, it does not go well. Nothing too out of the ordinary happens, but somebody walks across a crosswalk and I have to stop. They are walking ever so slowly. I get mad -- at them. I say, "They are making me so mad!". But really, the reason I am mad is because I chose to leave late, and am going to be late to an appointment, and them being there gives me someone convenient to blame. I am choosing to be angry, in a way, to make myself feel better for having left late.
This story usually helps me the most when I am in just such a scenario. I remind myself that the person in front of me who is driving slowly is not to blame for my not having left earlier. I also remind myself (because being late really stresses me out) that it is too late to change the situation and being angry, or upset won't really help.
I have learned more about this subject over the years, which doesn't mean that I have learned to never be angry. People can make it difficult to not be angry, and situations can make it really difficult not to be angry, but it is still a choice. Generally I hate being angry, and so I choose not to be. When I am angry, knowing that I am choosing to be angry can help me get over it faster. This takes practice, and I really wish I learned faster so that my children could have benefited more, but the parenting class was totally worth it just to learn this one thing, that you can't make me mad.