The way eyesight and the eye itself are inseparable, anger is closely tied to the ego. Your success of transforming anger and reaching higher states of awareness depends on one skill – the ability to recognize your mental patterns and calling out the egocentric behavior. Hate to be blunt but I must – if you recognize your own bull shit, then you won’t be bothered when you smell it in others. In fact, you’ll relate better, even develop more compassion for yourself and others.
Just as a skilled pilot who has full situational awareness of the buttons in the cockpit is able to effortlessly steer the plain in the right direction so will you be able to focus on much grander things in life without being tripped up much by destructive emotions.
Below is a fascinating collection of egocentric “dispositions” and my simplified explanations (feel free to disagree or expand in the comments.) If you want to become a master in anger management, I invite you to internalize these points and have them dwell in your awareness throughout the day, sounding the alarm when a wire is tripped.
Be warned though… Ego can have many faces, hides under many masks, and manifests in an infinite amount of ways. It works in a true ninja style. It is stealthy, it is cunning, it strikes when you least expect it. Not only it takes a keen sixth sense to detect its behavior, it takes courage to fess up to it. It takes real courage. Here is the list:
1. Egocentric blindness – the inclination not to notice facts or evidence which contradict our cherished beliefs or values.
Example: This is MY son. He has manners. There is no way he could have pinched Suzie in the butt in the classroom. He’s too nice to act like this.
2. Egocentric memory – the tendency to “forget” evidence and information which does not support our thinking and to “remember” evidence and information which does.
Example: YOUR wife is messy. Why? Because you tripped on the shoe that YOU kicked off on the way to the bathroom and bumped your head against the closet door that she left opened.
3. Egocentric myopia - an intellectual shortsightedness based upon dogmatic (non-falsifiable, rigid, inflexible) commitments to an overly narrow point of view (ethnocentrism, provincialism).
Example: I am American. I don’t need to know or understand other cultures because American culture is the best.
Example: I am Amish. I don’t need electricity and I prefer a horse buggy. Civilization is evil.
5. Egocentric hypocrisy – the tendency to ignore flagrant inconsistencies between what we profess to believe and the actual beliefs our behavior imply, or inconsistencies between the standards to which we hold ourselves and those to which we expect others to adhere.
Example: I am Islamist. Allah is peaceful and merciful. I will use a bomb to prove it.
6. Egocentric oversimplification – the natural tendency to ignore real and important complexities in the world in favor of simplistic notions when consideration of those complexities would require us to modify our beliefs or values.
Example: I am Pope Benedict. It is Un-Christian to distribute condoms in Africa.
7. Egocentric immediacy – the tendency to over-generalize immediate feelings and experiences-so that when one event in our life is highly favorable or unfavorable, all of life seems favorable or unfavorable as well.
Example: You watch your home town Football team lose a championship. You feel robbed of honor. Life sucks and you want to kill everyone.
8. Egocentric absurdity - the tendency to fail to notice thinking which has “absurd” consequences, when noticing them would force us to rethink our position.
Example: Your husband is the sole culprit, source of misery and your rage. If it wasn’t for his stupidity you’d be a totally happy person.
The pop psychology claims that our minds are “naturally” prone to these egocentric tendencies. However, if you follow this reasoning then you will be led to believe by the main stream psychologists that claim anger is also “normal.” I passionately disagree.
“Darkness is nothing but an absence of light” – attributed to A. Einstein but it wasn’t him.
My advice? Simple exercise – start developing your awareness around these dispositions and catch yourself in action. When you do, make a mental note, laugh.