To be sure, small frustrations can teach us a lot about ourselves. For example, I learned a lot about how I deal with stress/anxiety and what that means to Fiance. I have had lots of discussions with people about anxiety and how to handle it when you are on the outside of it. And most of the time Fiance is my exemplar of how to handle it because he is so good at acknowledging how I feel while still finding ways to reduce stress. But he’s only seen me in full temper trantrum mode a couple of times, so I know this is going to be a discussion of how do I handle this, and how does he handle this, as well as an exploration of where these feelings are coming from.
As a child, excuses were always sloughed off on “you’re tired” and “you’re hungry,” and as a result, we never got to the bottom of what caused my feelings of anxiety or anger. So another lesson for the day: it is important to explore the source of feelings instead of giving excuses. And that means that people on the outside have to explore how they might be hurting the person who is angry, as well as the person who is angry exploring what they are feeling about themselves as well as others. For example, many of my angry moments last night came from my feelings of inadequacy due to not properly keeping track of my camera and not being able to remember what I had last done with it, especially since this has happened once before.
In regards to teaching, this is an important thing to teach: self-exploration and where your anger is coming from. When people are angry at others, they are often actually angry at themselves and afraid to admit it. But again, the best way to teach students this is to model for them and to talk to them about it outright. So, I know that it’s not generally in the standards, but I encourage you to have those conversations with your students. Because if we can’t handle our emotions properly, we can’t learn. And that goes for all of us… teachers and students enough.
And, as promised, the TED talk on synthesized happiness: