My partner and I gave a presentation today for our internship class. I had just finished four hours of one-on-one students conferences and I realized I had forgotten both breakfast and lunch.
Taking deep breaths and repeating the manta “I am patient, I am calm” is a regular occurrence for me even when I’m running on a full tank and have recently decompressed. I was both exhausted and hungry, a horrible combination for me when I must face the anxiety-fueling task of presenting in front of my colleagues.
But, to my eventual delight, my anger proved beneficial in that it distracted me from my worries and reminded me to focus on informing my audience. My partner enthusiastically praised me for my ability to handle questions from my peers on the fly with (I now imagine) poise and grace.
I later remembered that most people cannot tell when I am angry; I suspect this is why witnesses are so shocked when I verbalize or act out my frustrations. Hiding my temper with composure and focusing my petulance into my performance turned a lousy situation into an excellent engagement and ultimately a learning opportunity. Anger does not have to be bad. When adequately handled and channeled appropriately, (I have learned) anger can be an extraordinarily useful tool.