So I’m a coach, right?
But what does that mean, you ask? Good question. In fact, it’s a question that I’ve asked myself over the course of the last decade. And during that time, I’ve been witness to the answer’s evolution.
What I do — what I am fecking great at — is 1) being able to see people, and 2) I am able to SHOW people some part of themselves to which they have been blind. When people see, more often than not, they do the changing all by themselves.
Anyway, I spent some time with a young man the other day. He was not just a young man, he was an ANGRY young man. While this fails to make him a rare bird by any stretch, it’s been a while since I’ve been around that type of anger for an extended period of time. And while I was around him, my curiosity kicked in.
Why was he so angry? What is anger really about? Why is anger so prevalent in the world today? What’s the common thread interwoven underneath this powerful (and often destructive) feeling?
As I listened to this young man’s stories — we’ll call him William — themes emerged. The one that struck me right between the eyes was that things happened to William.
Of course, it would seem that things happen to all of us. But understand that when I write things happened to William, what I am saying is that he approached his life like he had no control over the happenings of his life. In his mind, he was merely an actor in the play of life, not the director. And as the actor, the marionette, other people held the strings to his fortunes. Parents. Bosses. Co-workers. Doctors. Women. Insurance companies. The government. These were the people in control of his life. These were the people who were "doing things" to him. Bad things, he told me.
And, not surprisingly, these people doing bad things to him made him angry. Makes sense, right? If the joy of life is about expressing your free will, about creating your life from your desires, and this is what you KNOW in every fiber of your body, well, if no aspect of your life seems to reflect this, being pissed off would seem to be a natural reaction.
In fact, feeling controlled by the world made him so angry that his young body was betraying him. He was breaking down physically. But to William’s way of thinking, his health problems were just another series of events that were happening to him. After all, people get sick, right? Lots of people have health problems, right? William was blind to any connection between his anger and his physical maladies. Never even occurred to him.
After all, things just happened to him.
I’ve said this many, many times since waking up myself. If you want to live an attractive, very cool life, you need to see yourself at the center of the universe. Not in an ego-oriented way, but rather that you are the creator of everything in your experience.
Is this absolutely true? Yes. Maybe. Who knows? The greater truth is that the answer to that question does not really matter. What does matter is that you begin to see yourself as the creator of everything that occurs in your life. You shift your locus of control from the external to the internal. Very often people are reluctant to take full responsibility for their lives in this way. Why? Because this means they will have to change, of course. And nothing scares people more than change.
But, if you can make this shift and see your life through the lens that you are creating and attracting all the circumstances in your life, after an adjustment period, typically something wonderful happens.
You take charge of your life.
You become empowered. In other words, the power of the universe now lies within you instead of residing in the hands of everyone else. You now walk through life with the magic wand that allows you to grow, change, and evolve. When you see yourself as the master of your own destiny, as the director of the play that is your life, the anger melts away. It serves no purpose anymore.
But until this awareness takes place, anger is the natural response. The real purpose of anger is to give us the feedback that something is not optimal in our approach to life. Something needs to change. Or something needs to be felt and released. Like pain in the body, anger is a natural feedback system to provide us with valuable information.
Coming back to my work as a coach, what I "do" more than anything is listen to people. I take them in. I notice what I feel when I am around them. And then I share my feelings and experiences with the individual. In the case of William, I noticed that he complained incessantly. He used the word "hate" unconsciously and repeatedly. He told his stories about the people who wronged him. He became defensive at the slightest provocation. People were against him.
What I could feel underneath anything that he did or said was his fear. I suppose it would be terrifying if you felt as if your destiny was outside of your control or that you had to protect yourself all the time. But ironically, this fear and anger only seemed to attract more of the same in his life.
William never asked me what I thought. So I did not share any of this with him. (In my experience, if I am not invited to share, people do not hear what I have to share.)
But perhaps someone will find it valuable…
(As a lover of music, songs just pop into my head when I’m thinking about a concept. Here’s the Styx song that played in my head as I typed this… I think the title is perfect — "Fooling Yourself — Angry Young Man" and it’s from the aptly titled album, "The Grand Illusion." Relax. Take it easy… )