How to Deal When Stuff isn't Going Your Way
Why acceptance is better than anger
Have you ever experienced “vuja de?”
Yes, you’re reading that right. Vuja de is the feeling of experiencing something totally familiar in a new and unfamiliar way. I recently found myself metaphorically knocked over the head by a sense of vuja de when my therapist said something to me about how to let go of anger. And honestly, guys? I can’t stop thinking about it.
Oh, and yes, I have a therapist. Everyone should! I’m a firm believer in laying all your problems on someone who’s paid to listen. Honestly, I know my best friend loves me, but she would stop picking up the phone if I bothered her with every single thing I wanted help analyzing in my life.
We were talking about one of my favorite (?) topics, my loving, sometimes unintentionally emotionally unavailable father (I know what you’re thinking: A suburban middle-to-upper middle class white girl with daddy issues? Seems unlikely…), and she said that any anger I feel about the situation stems from the hope I have that things could be different. Anger, she said, is just hope redirected.
“You’d be so much happier if you could accept things as they are, not keep wishing they were as you feel they “should” be in your mind,” she explained. “You’re holding out hope that he can change—that your relationship can change—and it makes you so mad every time you realize it hasn’t happened yet.”
We talked more about how it may be disappointing when people or situations aren’t exactly how you want them to be—and my control issues are like, a w-h-o-o-o-o-l-e ‘nother story we won’t get into here—but it’s also really freeing to stop getting frustrated, hurt, and angry when they don’t change, no matter how much you will them to.
As we dove into the idea, I realized it could be applied to so many aspects of my life. And yours. Yes, I thought about how the idea of hope redirected to anger could even apply to your personal style. Which, yes, means I’m thinking about you guys literally 24/7; I hope you appreciate it! Or pity me? I will take either…
Is there anything you’re pissed about that is actually wishful thinking in disguise about how things could be?
Maybe it’s that your job doesn’t pay you a salary that allows for the brands you really want in your wardrobe. Maybe it’s ten or twenty pounds that you can’t work off (or can’t find time to work off) that would help clothes fit you the way you really want them to. Maybe you hate how family or friends aren’t supportive of your efforts to grow your personal style.
So what to do about it?
For me, I need to work on accepting that the way my dad shows love isn’t with a “Hey, was on my way to the store so I thought I’d give you a call and see how your day is going for a couple minutes” like my mom. And that that’s not good or bad; it’s just how it is.
Maybe for you, it’s being okay with the fact that your friends are never going to compliment you on the interesting color play between your tie and pocket square. Or to finally commit to training for that 5k (or conversely, to stop buying clothes in a size too small because you keep telling yourself you’re going to train for a 5k). Or learning to love the thrift store.
What have you learned about how to let go of anger? Am I crazy for telling you I see a shrink? And really, why can’t my father just tell me he’s proud of me?? (hahaha, jk Dad, you tell me that all the time. Love you!)
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