Keep a list before your mind of those who burned with anger and resentment about something, of even the most renowned for success, misfortune, evil deeds, or any special distinction. Then ask yourself, how did that work out? Smoke and dust, the stuff of simple myth trying to be legend.
Marcus Aurelius, Meditations, 12.27
Today’s question was will I even remember this fight in a few moments?
I tend not to recall many fights for long, nor do I hold grudges.
Luckily, from Buddhism and meditation practice, I have learned the value of letting go of my anger.
Unfortunately, I do get angry and it is generally with the worst people I ought to get angry with, my wife and my children.
If my anger disappears so quickly, such that it wouldn’t matter in two weeks, then why would I get angry now? How could it even matter when it dissolves so quickly?
I listened to the Subtle Art of Not Giving a F#ck earlier this year. In it, Mark Manson notes that the average person gives way too many f#cks about way too many things. Instead, we should only focus our energies and passions on those few things we believe are worth giving a f#ck about and, in general, there should be no f#cks given.
Some reading on how anger can impact your family:
I’ve always known that my anger levels are disproportionate to the triggers causing them and a few years ago I started to get an understanding of why I was behaving that way.
Throughout my childhood and adolescence, I suffered from a multitude of concussions and it has had a long-term impact on me, including:
- Anger dyscontrol
- At times an inability to recall information
- A proclivity to eat Excedrin for migraine relief like candy
I sought treatment for the depression in 2005 and it was resolved through proper medication.
The anger was not something I addressed until a few things happened:
- Chris Benoit, the wrestler, killed his wife, his son, and himself
- Three hockey enforcers died young, within four months of each other
- My wife had given birth to our second son one year before #2 happened
- In a men’s recreational hockey league game earlier that year, I got another [and last] hockey related concussion
I remember vividly reading about each hockey player one after the other and picking up the phone to call my mother and tell her I’m never playing again mom and hearing her cry on the other end of the phone.
My wife and I got rid of all of my hockey gear, had some long solid talks together about the issues I was dealing with and we sought out a concussion specialist to begin to help me with my issues. This was perhaps the greatest thing I ever did for my children, my wife, and myself.
Giving some of the examples I give, I want to put a clear disclaimer, I was never physically angry, nor abusive, with my wife or children. The anger dyscontrol related to how I would yell or speak angrily at what appeared to be slight provocations. I wasn’t intending to take the post in this direction, but then I read this quote in one of the angry spouse links above.
Don’t worry that children never listen to you; worry that they are always watching you.
I’d like to say I am perfect today with my wife and children. I’m not. Am I better than I was seven years ago before seeking outside counsel? Absolutely. Do I want to be better tomorrow than I am today? 100%. This is something I am never going to stop working on, including some of the following:
- Regular exercise
- Buddhist training
- Stoicism practice
- Regular meditation
- heart rate variability training
I have not been to see a therapist in years and that might be something I ought to consider doing again at some point.
What does this have to do with financial independence? Remember, once you have found the right spouse, you are setting yourself up for better long-term financial success and it’s best for both of you to not get divorced.