I’m mad

Well, not really mad, unless someone thinks I’m the crazy-type of mad, which, as most of us are to some extent, may be true.  But since I’m referring to angry mad, I’m really not, at least not that I know of.

The emotion or reaction to being or getting angry, mad, or even slightly irritated, is interesting from a root perspective.  Each of us develops our unique identities well before we are born.  Our porous, sponge-like perspectives get saturated quickly in early life.  Even identical twins can have radically different perspectives.  It’s impossible to know, completely, another’s perspectives.  Our brain synapses are different.  How we receive and process influences makes us each the individuals we are.  Even “soul-mates” who’ve lived their lives together don’t intimately know the other’s perspective.  We can only live in one head at a time.  In other words, on this planet there are more than seven billion different perspectives, or world views.

Getting pissed off or upset then, is an emotional reaction to someone or something not yielding to our unique view on the world, even though that other person or event acted within theirs.  A sort of hissy fit ensues.

While at a small family gathering years ago as a couple of us were bantering about, one member was describing an episode where he ‘erupted with a mad reaction,’ to which he quickly added “hey, I’m only human.”  After he finished his story, I challenged him about the excuse of “just being human” saying that, preciously because we are, we have the ability to choose not to get mad.  That brought forth some ire and heavy defense from more than one.  Perhaps we were both right.

Many of us can relate to, at some point, getting mad or upset with a family member.  It could have been an offense, a reaction, or bad behavior.  It doesn’t matter because the result is the same — the other person acted, at the time, according to their unique angle on life, which happened to differ from ours.  Our reaction is one of non-conformity.  The same when we get frustrated in traffic, at work, or in social situations when others don’t comply to our framed panorama.

That’s not to say we can’t take steps to correct bad behavior, or point, guide, train, or help others to adjust their outlook to think or act differently.  And it’s not to say that being or reacting forcefully or excited is not necessary.   But to get mad or upset that something happened or didn’t happen, even if it’s a complaint from the little voice, is a tantrum, not having gotten what we wanted or expected.

Broken down to it’s lowest emotional denominator then, it could be said that getting mad is nothing more than selfish, egoic, chest pounding.  If that’s true, then maybe a good many of us are mad.

Over the years I’ve certainly had my share of wanting to prove my point in a heated argument or cursing someone under my breath.  Lately though, I’ve been trying to catch myself, (whether it’s the asshole who pulls out in front of me, the person at work who makes a bonehead costly mistake, or someone who has otherwise not acted according to my wishes, maybe even said something unkind), and recognise any form of madness for what it is — unchecked emotion telling me my world is the centre of the universe.  I don’t need to like or agree with others, but if I get irritated, even for a second, it’s a form of childlike pouting.  One could say getting mad is a symptom of madness.

It’s not easy to catch the reaction in the heat of the moment.  But we can try.  We are, after all, humans.

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