What is that anger REALLY about?

My 11-year-old daughter's room is a mess. She stays up way too late, eats too much junk food, and within the family is often rude and self-centered.

In other words, she is a perfectly normal adolescent -- and I know this.

So why, last night, did I have an internal reaction bordering on rage just thinking about how she is living her life?

Because in that moment, she represented so many of my own unresolved issues that I've been trying to avoid, specifically: my home being a mess, not getting enough sleep, mindless eating, and feeling distracted and disconnected from my family.

Funny how that works, isn't it? My anger had little to do with my daughter at all. At the root of it was anger at myself for not prioritizing these things that are important to me, and that I know I can do something about.

Happiness requires action.

The thoughts that keep me from acting can be so automatic that I'm not even aware of them: I can't have it. I shouldn't want it. I don't really want it. I don't have time. It'll be too hard. I don't know how. Other things are more important. I've always done it this way and it's fine. Other people don't care; why should I? Just because this is important to other people doesn't mean I have to do it, too. And on and on....

Deep down, though, I know I want to feel good about how I treat my body, my home, and my family. And when I ignore that desire, there is a price to pay. I feel small and ashamed of myself. And if I keep it up, it comes out in the form of disproportionate, misplaced anger toward people that I love. And I know it's time to make some changes.

Is this something you can relate to? Are there people or behaviors or circumstances that you have inexplicably strong reactions to? What happens when you get curious about those reactions? I would love to hear from you.