maybe pain is just a lack of understanding
"I sat with my anger long enough until she told me her real name was grief." ~ C.S. Lewis
I’ve been dealing with a lot of ugly emotions lately (being cheated on will do that to you), and without a doubt one of the ugliest is anger and all its derivative forms (like hatred).
When I was younger I sometimes liked being angry because it gave me extra energy (however impure) i could channel into other things. But just like burning diesel or coal, anger poisons, and I’ve grown to distrust it more as I grow older. Anger is a hard beast to tame, and it’s made me say and do many things I regret.
After I discovered stoicism years ago I started to view every time I lose my temper as a personal failure. (Stoic philosophy argues that you control how you react to things, so your getting mad at something is your own choice.) So in my attempts to manage my newfound anger I often think about a J Cole interlude, in which a woman says sometimes i think pain is just a lack of understanding.
Now I try to think about what it is I don't understand that's causing my anger and grief. Usually it's pretty easy to come up with an answer; this time, I'm realizing that I can't comprehend why someone I trusted so much would betray my love in such a hurtful way. When I peel back the layers to my anger, I find that it's really grief masquerading as anger, grief from being betrayed, hurt, left alone. Reframing my emotions like this makes me realize that my angry ultimately stems from ignorance, or an inability to put myself in their shoes. This exercise doesn't make my anger go away (nothing will), but forcing myself to think more rationally like this at least mellows it out to a milder flavor that's easier to manage. I don't truly want to hurt anyone or destroy anything like my anger would have me believe; rather, my outbursts of fury are really just lonely cries for help. I don't know if anyone will find this helpful, but I thought I would put these strategies to paper even if just for myself.