Last night, on Day #2 of my resolutions for the new year, I broke about fifty resolutions in the space of ten minutes. Possibly a new record.
It was late, and both of our girls, who are usually good sleepers, were up and fussing in their various eight-year-old and two-year-old manners.
The problem: I wanted the Big Man to deal with it, for my own reasons, and he wanted me to deal with it, for his own reasons.
Neither of us was right or wrong. We both had good justifications for why the other person should step up.
But I was ENRAGED. I yelled, I stormed around the room, I said all the things you’re not supposed to say, like “You always…” “You never…” and my personal favorite, “For once, can’t you just…?”
I prevailed — but I lost. I felt terrible.
Many people believe in the “catharsis hypothesis” and think that expressing anger is healthy-minded and relieves their feelings. Not so. Studies show that expressing anger only aggravates it.
I’ve certainly found this to be true; losing my temper just made me angrier. And once my anger passed, I felt guilty about my behavior, which then re-fueled my anger.
I thought again of G. K. Chesterton’s haunting line, “It is easy to be heavy; hard to be light.” I should have expressed myself gently, with a sense of humor. I should have exerted the self-discipline to hold my temper.
Oh, well. As I constantly remind myself as I pursue my Happiness Project, today is another day. I hope that seeing all those reproachful XXXXXs lined up in my resolutions chart will help me remember to do a better job next time.
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