Steve Goble

Choose life. (Deuteronomy 30:19)

Just finished watching the two-part BBC documentary Losing It - Griff Rhys Jones On Anger, in which Griff Rhys Jones surprisingly investigates anger.

Griff, it seems, has been having a problem with this. For years he's been getting angry on the inside, quite unaware that much of his politeness has not been perceived as quite as polite and keeping-it-on-the-inside as he thought.

He draws no conclusions in these programmes, which is probably the strongest suggestion that his personal journey is actually genuine. After all, it is a TV programme, which is, nowadays, a tremendous hurdle for any amount of even authentic sincerity to overcome.

For example, he interviews his friends about what they really think of him, which is quite an easy way of getting celebs on the show, but surely a tough way to get honesty.

And yet, when he asks Rory McGrath about how he dealt with similar issues, they're actually seated facing away from each other. Either it was a bit hard for Rory to honestly open up to Griff, or they were deliberately filmed that way to give that impression. We'll never know for sure.

Either way, it doesn't really matter – what Rory has to say is fascinating. He explains that he realised that the subject of his anger had greater control over his life than he did, and that you just shouldn't give anyone else that sort of power over yourself.

Like many other viewers no doubt, I realised I was relating to that, as my mind drifted back to people from yesteryear who I used to be angry with.

I have always been hurt very easily by other people's anger. As a result, I have tended to hide my anger to avoid causing that person to feel hurt too. It became clear from friends' jokes that at least on some occasions I wasn't hiding it very well. (perhaps politeness in an annoyed tone of voice sounded threatening) One day I realised that, far from being able to forgive people, I didn't even actually have a clear definition for the word. (I still don't) So I decided that, since forgiveness was so hard, I would just not get angry at anyone ever again.

The long-term effect of that was that people took more and more advantage of my positive nature, and, unable to express my dissatisfaction, I became very afraid of them.

Today, I try very hard to nip things in the bud. If I'm dissatisfied with something, I'll generally say so while it's still new, small and manageable. I don't really know what to do with bigger anger, so I try my best to simply prevent it.

And that's why I liked this doco – it offered much to ponder. At one stage a therapist had Griff filling-out a "personal self-awareness inventory" (questionnaire), and the questions, though simple, delve deep...

- What things do you do well?

- Tell about a turning point in your life.

- What has been the lowest point in your life?

- Was there an event in which you demonstrated great courage?

- Was there a time of heavy grief?

- What do you do poorly, but continue to do anyway?

- What are some things you would like to stop doing?

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