question

Illustration: Jen Troyer

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Oh, God, this one is horrible. Don’t ask yourself this. Because if you do, you’re going to have to look at all those moments where you really should have behaved differently—and worse, just why on earth didn’t you? Let’s pretend the person you’re mad at is your mother. Right now, while you’re enforcing honesty at all costs, you know deep in your soul that you really weren’t angry at her for taking a 40-minute shower and using up all the hot water in the hotel last summer (because no person can use up all the water in a building with 200 rooms). Or for putting M&Ms under your toddler’s pillow “just in case he got hungry” before bed (because grandmas get to do what they want). Or for drinking a half pound of coffee in one day, ensuring that when you got up at 5 a.m. to go to work, there was nothing caffeinated to keep you from falling to the ground (because you know many alcoholics drink coffee in order to distract themselves from drinking wine—including the wine that you drank in front of her the night before). So what in the heck are you actually angry about?

That answer is an ancient tidal wave of muck that absolutely has to be addressed with a therapist or a journal or a pastor or an adviser or a friend. But quite frankly, the reason you vent your rage on the piddly stuff is because the tidal wave of muck is usually too huge and fast to get angry at, especially when you turn and face it. It will knock you to your knees. Your job is to get up.
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