Dealing with Anger

I am known as a happy camper among my friends. And at a recent optimism test I took, I scored 95 out of 100. Years ago I remember a then-colleague asking me how I maintained the apparent joyful energy at work.

My personality type according to the Myers-Briggs test is INFP – and I am a dominant feeler. Which means I can feel something very strongly, including anger. So it may sound paradoxical that an apparently happy person like me can also exhibit a fiery temper–but it makes sense once you consider how that stems from my being a strong feeler. But that’s another point for another post, because as I cool down from an angsty episode this evening I think I have finally realized how I managed to stay happy. (In fact I am bouncing back now after almost starting an argument with my innocent close friends. Sorry girls. One of them even said, after I explained my odd behaviour, that it’s good I didn’t bottle things up, and that at least they were close enough to understand.)

My secret, I think, is this: I allow myself to explode. Without causing damage to property, and lives, of course. But I know I need to be mindful as to the possibility of damaging feelings.

I let myself walk around with a scowl on my face when forcing a straight or smiley one feels just too fake. Sometimes I drive up to my favourite place and let myself step a little more on the fuel pedal than usual, turn on my favourite rock music to high volume, and scream. Once another driver was blocking my way and instead of being polite (like I usually am on the road) I allowed myself the luxury of honking to my heart’s content. Not to be outdone that woman made some vigorous hand gestures towards me, so in my already fiery mood I gladly slipped into fight mode: sitting in my car, I stared directly at her for a few good seconds, flashed my right fist, and drove off laughing. So that worked.

And being a wordsmith, of course verbal expressions of anger is another avenue I use quite a lot. Words–they can be amazingly cathartic! But I have mellowed over the years, so giving offending parties a good piece of my mind is something I do only very selectively.

So I guess the conclusion I am coming to about dealing with anger is that…playing ‘nice’ and trying to bottle things up in the name of patience and tolerance does not necessarily work. We may just find ourselves walking around with accumulated unresolved anger weeks, months, and years later.

I would vote for, well, moderated outbursts and ventilation. I wonder how many of you agree or disagree with me–how would you deal with your anger?

Liberty to Laze

I had some grandiose plans
Of a spanking sparkling kitchen
Nary a speck of oil on the stove
Floor so spotless you want to dance barefoot.

Dust and dirt vacuumed to perfection
Laundry all done and swaying happily in the wind
Powdery freshness pepping up the air
Only thing left to do is wash my hair.

But I chose the better way
So dishes sit in the sink
While I breathe garlicky air–the aftermath of Chinese cooking
Indoor slippers feel better than clean floors.

I ignore my army of detergents, brushes, and mops
Grab a book and a glass of wine
Some chocolates and nachos
And gleefully indulge
In the liberty to choose
To laze
To just be.

The wine is good.

How Do You Eat An Elephant?


Badge by Doobster @ Mindful Digressions

I have too many elephants staring down at me–work elephants, personal elephants. Oh gosh how do I eat them all? One bite at a time, so say the wise ones. Take this one rather complex elephant–a big project I am starting at work. It’s going to involve many different parties–many whose expertise the entire thing cannot do without. So Elephant Project, how do I eat you?

First, I need to get clear on what I want to achieve. Second, I write down all these goals. Third, I need to flesh out the work details–what exactly needs to get done, by when, in order for the goals to become a reality? Like if I want to build a showhouse from scratch with the goal of charging people to come and view it, what are the nitty gritty?

Uhhmm (yes this really requires a lot of hard thinking!), I would probably need to finalize the concept of the house, and then engage a reputable and reasonably priced, and reliable builder; and then there’s the interior decor, sourcing of materials, so on and so forth.

Fourth, armed with a clear list of work to be done, I need to set out to recruit the right people to work with me. People whose expertise, talents, and interests match the things I have on my list. Oh dear, even the recruitment process itself alone can be broken down to at least 10 steps, I reckon.

Fifth, I need to keep my eye on the ball — on all the deliverables that are being worked on by these various parties. And make sure I regularly touch base with my team members to get updates, find out what challenges are being faced, and play the part of the motivating presence (I hope)…and hopefully everything pans out well and the elephant gets eaten, digested, leaving everyone happy and satisfied in the end.

This post is part of SoCS:

What the Heart Really Wants

To be heard
When I speak
To be noticed
When I sigh
To be needed
When I give
To be caught
When I leap
To be loved
When I fall short
To be welcome
When I bring nothing
To be seen
When I smile
To be embraced
When I am tired
To be missed
When I am absent
To be cherished
When I am old
To be mourned
When I am gone
To be remembered
When I no longer am.

Are you
Any different
From me?

Being Patient Can Be Effortless…If Only We Know How

Patience is a virtue that not many of us seem to have. But I believe if we see it as a skill that can be acquired, it won’t be all that hard to be patient, both with people and situations.

Here are three ways to be patient that have worked for me:

1. Find worthwhile things to do while waiting for an undesirable situation to pass
I seldom get frustrated during traffic jams (unless I am late for an important event). It’s because I get to listen to my favourite CDs, and sometimes I make use of the time to learn a foreign language by playing an audio CD. And everytime I go to the bank, or anywhere that I may be required to wait, I usually have a book with me.

2. Practise counting to five before reacting when someone else’s actions rub us the wrong way
With enough practice we can make responding thoughtfully (instead of reacting viscerally) a habit. Walking away to give ourselves some space to regain rational thinking also works — if only we would just do this instead of giving in to the temptation to react.

3. Celebrate progress no matter how small, and see setbacks as part and parcel of the journey
This especially applies when we are waiting for major changes to take place or goals to materialize, like recovering from an illness, repairing strained relationships, losing weight, getting an MBA, and getting out of debt.

It’s like solving a big, complicated jigsaw puzzle. It’s exciting to fit a piece correctly, but there will be times when we get it wrong and then have to go back to the pile to search again for the correct piece. If we see every setback as part of the journey towards the end goal, we will be able to embrace the long haul more optimistically.

So being patient is actually not that difficult. We just have to find the right things and the right attitude to give us a sense of momentum–because as long as we feel progress no matter how small, we will cease to be frustrated.

My Little Sis and I

My sister is ten years younger than me. And I do not know what’s with the family and community that apple-to-apple comparison seems to be the automatic response the moment they are faced with sisters. Especially in my case where our age gap is so big.

It’s silly and destructive. We may have been borne of the same parents, but we are unique individuals in our own right.

Being the eldest, it is quite natural for me to have some active pursuits growing up — and poor little sis sometimes found herself having the same expectations placed on her. (Not by our parents, thankfully, they know better than that). But by nosy people around us, people who shoot off comments from their mouths the way old dogs suffering from incontinence fart ever so freely.

Little sis has been growing up and I am proud of her and see completely no reason for her to be like me.

We look different. I inherit strong features from dad’s side of family who have some Thai heritage. She inherits mom’s delicate features and resembles my brother more. At brother’s wedding, my sister was mistaken for the bride’s sister! Apparently little sis’s fair skin and sweet features make her look more Korean than Malaysian. (Our sister in law is Korean).

We both enjoy writing but my sister’s style is completely different from mine. I will never be able to emulate her catchy titles that use contrasting words so cleverly, not to mention her refreshingly candid voice. Even our cooking styles are different. When little sis began experimenting at the stove I was amazed how she made fried vegetables look almost like a complete meal with gravy from the juices and generous chunks of deftly cut carrots, pumpkin, capsicums and what have you.

And while I get lost easily, she has a superb sense of direction.

So there, the contrast that is us–the reason why no two sisters (or any two individuals, for that matter) should be compared. If anything, the ten-year gap simply means I serve as an example for her — good practices to emulate and mistakes to avoid.

While, of course, growing and spreading her own wings, making a difference in ways that only she could.

It’s Okay to Be Average

20140920-170618.jpgFor almost my entire life I had this fear of being average. In everything, almost everything. I had to be somebody, I had to stand out in some ways, else I felt like I did not matter.

Looking back I realize the drive to excel may not always come from the right place within ourselves. Like in my case, it came from fear…fear that I had to somewhat shine in some ways.

Today I still want to excel and give my best in everything I do. But at least now it’s motivated by the belief in my own potential, and also the desire to make a difference in my circle of influence and be a blessing to the people around me.

There is such a huge difference between striving to be outstanding because we are insecure, and just being motivated to reach for the stars because we believe we can. The latter journey is so much more fun.

This post is part of SoCS: