update on Airport Story

Today I was driving in my little town of Lindon and came to a 4-way stop. I waited an obligatory few seconds before pulling into the intersection. I paid no attention to whether it was my turn–because I was deep in thought, totally distracted. So after I pulled out, probably cutting someone else off who had stopped before I did, the guy who (probably) stopped before I did made an angry face at me and threw up his hands as if to say, “WHAT ARE YOU DOING, YOU IDIOT–YOU TOOK MY TURN!”

I smiled at him, readying my “I’m so sorry, I screwed up!” face–only to notice as we passed each other that it was my brother-in-law.

He had made that face and gesture jokingly because he knew it was me. (He was paying attention to who arrived first in the intersection, and saw it was me before I identified him.)

Aren’t those the moments where we have the opportunity to reflect on how much better life is when we give people the benefit of the doubt? It doesn’t “release” anger to express it. It doesn’t “get things off our chest” to vent. These were the false doctrines of therapy in the 80’s. It didn’t much help anybody.

All “venting” and “confronting” and “getting things off my chest” does is give traction to the baser parts of human nature–it feeds bad habits that hurt people and disable our own accountability. (Communicate carefully and with love what you’re feeling, YES. Tell people off, NO.)

If we are quick to anger, we might find ourselves filled with toxic rage. When I was young, and I felt anger, I didn’t identify it. I was helpless in its grip. I did things in the heat of the moment that damaged my relationships and my own emotional health.

Now, I sometimes feel incipient anger. I identify it and remove myself from it. I think, “Hm. I am starting to feel angry. I don’t like that feeling. I think I’ll choose to NOT be.” Then I very purposefully set it aside.

Or I break it down and look at it from an opposite angle. Often that angle is something like this: “Well, I feel wronged because Eric criticized the way I did my work. But he was really upset because our boss had yelled at HIM earlier, and if I’m honest with myself, I really did procrastinate that project.” Then I’m not only honest and accountable, but I’m at peace and able to dissolve my own anger more quickly.

Everybody wins. Anger is a sin and it benefits no one. Whoever said all emotions are equal, none are good or bad–well, they’re wrong. We can choose not to be angry.

I hope Frowny is having a better day, today, than she was the day I met her in the Long Beach airport. Sometimes a bad day feels like a license to mistreat others. But it isn’t.

More peace and forgiveness of others (like people who make driving errors or who get angry with you) = less toxicity = better health = purer love for everyone around me = more joy

I appreciate those of you who have pointed out that my blog entry “Airport Story” really DOES have something to do with nutrition. We are more able to operate on a higher plane when the physical vessel is clean. Things of spiritual and emotional import become clearer to us, then.

14 thoughts on “update on Airport Story

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  1. I know you are familiar with crucial conversations and crucial confrontations–but one of my favorite skills is “Mastering my stories” if you change the story behind why someone is doing something–it changes the emotion (ie- that lady cut me off because she’s an idiot, or that lady may be late for work and had a hard morning with her 7 kids 😉 it changes the emotion for us and hopefully we are giving the benefit of the doubt until proven wrong 🙂

    1. I love it–thanks for the reminder, L. Your dad’s book Crucial Conversations is one of my faves of all time and I have my BYU students read it for extra credit.

  2. Hi, Robyn , I like what you are doing ;Getting people to think and talk about improving in their life situations thru your experience.

    Forgiveness is not just a Question, it is an answer with healing as the result and peace the final goal.

    I read a book in the early 90,s about ” A Course in Miracles :”The Author -Marianne Williamson of her book” A Return To Love”.

    , truthfully changed the direction I was going.

    If you reside in So. Calif. you may have heard of her and her writings.

    More to share

    Peace and wellness

    Ron

  3. Thanks for teaching us how to strengthen our spiritual/emotional health as well as our physical health! I’m a frequent lurker!

  4. You make so many great points, Robyn, and I agree with them all, except one. I believe emotions, including anger, are a gift from God, little “flags,” to help us become aware of underlying issues we need to address in ourselves (errors in thinking, etc.) OR issues that need addressing in society (eg, when we get angry over injustices, leading to doing something to change them). Thus, anger does benefit. From a Christian standpoint, anger itself is not a sin – many scriptures do not condemn it, but instead advise how to handle anger. Eg, 1 Cor 13 “…[love] is not easily angered…” or Eph 4 “in your anger do not sin,” or James 1 “Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry….” So, it’s more about what you DO with your anger, and/or WHAT you get angry about. Scripture as a whole differentiates between God’s anger [which is righteous] and man’s anger, and any passages which condemn anger are referring to unrighteous anger. Anyway, thanks for all your insights to help us be healthier in all ways! 🙂

  5. What an excellent post. We are ALWAYS free to choose a positive attitude or negative attitude. We can choose to dwell on the negative or choose to dwell on the positive. It may seem hard at first to change our way of thinking, but the more we practice the easier it becomes.

  6. Happy Easter Tuesday! to all

    Robyn

    When are you coming north with your class to San Francisco or possibly Reno?

    1. Ron, I would really like to come to San Francisco if you can hook me up with venues (usually health food stores) that would sponsor it and that have a room with seating for 50+ (and standing room for more). I would then promote it on the blog and go there for a visit. Ditto Reno!

      Take care,
      Robyn

  7. I would be happy to work on a venue.

    Reno is having a big “I mean big “Health Fair in June with Whole Foods. I will try to find out more and let you know.

    And I have been trying to find a reason to visit the” City “as I have learned ,they call San Francisco. So now you gave me one ,Thanks .

    I used to work there , so I have some contacts. I will let you know. Peace and Happiness in Wellness. Ron Pavelko

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