Creative Status: Episode 44: James Clemmons: Anger as Fuel for Creativity

Deconstruct Ego, Integrate Shadow, Manifest Real Life.

Creative Status is a podcast about using creativity as a vehicle for improving your life by deconstructing ego, integrating the shadow self, and designing and manifesting a real life.

Every episode explores how the creative process can help you GROW REAL by moving towards wholeness in yourself by making the unconscious conscious.

In today’s episode of Creative Status, I have a conversation about ANGER with James Clemmons from Freedom From Anger LLC – an organisation that helps people learn to manage their anger ‘stuff’ so that they can gain control of their lives and make REAL choices (instead of being slaves to the choices made by their anger).

James is used to be in the Marines and is a licensed drug and alcohol counsellor who is interesting in the practical things that we can do to change our behaviours and live our best lives.

We cover loads in this conversation such as what anger even is and where it might come from, how we can get a grip of it, and ultimately how we can learn to control ourselves and make choices as we use anger as a FUEL for our real vision rather than something that tears our lives to pieces.

This is a very real human conversations for any real human beings that want to grow more real.

Thanks a bunch,


(Scroll down for show transcript)


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Anger as Fuel for Creativity (Transcript)


Oli Anderson: Oh hi there, Oli Anderson here, creative performance coach and author, helping you grow real in life and business. Growing real just means that you’re moving towards wholeness in yourself, deeper connection to who you are, integrating the paths you might have hidden or disowned because of social programming, self-hypnosis, all these kind of things that causes to hold back and hesitate.

This is Creative Status, podcast about using your creativity to improve your life and to ensure that you are living in a creative real way where you can do the things you need to do to become real. Today’s episode is an interview with a guy called James Clemmons from an organisation called Freedom from Anger.

The conversation is about how anger is ultimately something that we can transmute or sublimate into fuel for our creative endeavors and the journey of becoming more real. It’s kind of a synchronicity that this episode occurred, this interview occurred because I was actually trying to find somebody who could talk about anger because I think it’s an underrated emotion if we can control it in a healthy way. James reached out to me saying they wanted to be on the podcast, so that saved me some work, that was awesome.

This is the conversation coming up, you’re about to hear it. Loads of good stuff in here about reframing anger in a positive light, what it even is, how we can use it, how we can manage it, how we can ultimately do what I just said, which is kind of transmute or sublimate the energy through the creative process so we can live a real life. So James, thank you so much for your time, everybody else. Hope you’re going to get some value out of this. Sure you will. Here we go.

Thanks a bunch. Boom.


Oli Anderson: Oh hi there James. Thank you so much for joining me on today’s episode of Creative Status. The short version of what you do is that you’re an anger management coach or specialist and I thought it would just be really interesting to talk to you because anger is such a powerful emotion that often has a lot of bad things said about it.

So I want to dive into some of the good things about anger in relation to creating our lives, creating ourselves, the creative process. Before we get on to all that, do you want to introduce yourself, tell people what you’re all about, how you ended up specializing in anger and also what you want to get out of this conversation?

James Clemmons: Oh, well thank you for having me. I apologize. I’m from the US, from Nashville, so I do have a little bit of an accent, but don’t believe all the myths surrounding people in the South. We are very well educated. But yeah, I own a Freedom from Anger LLC. We do virtual behavioral health classes, mainly anger management, stress management, alcohol and drug education.

I’ve been in the field for probably going on about a decade. I mainly work with a lot of incarcerated individuals. And I’ve just been in the field for a long time and I saw that there was a need for some good quality anger management because it kind of took a back seat to other classes. So me and Buddy of Mine, that’s in the same field.

We just kind of branched out and started our own thing. We’re very passionate about what we do. I love working with veterans because I’m a veteran. First responders. I definitely enjoyed assisting those individuals because I understand the high amounts of stress and anger that comes along with it. And unfortunately, it impacts their daily lives. So I definitely enjoy working with them.

Oli Anderson: Wow.That’s all awesome. And I have to say for the record, I actually like the Southern accent. I think it sounds really cool. Before we get into the more philosophical side of this, what can we say is a kind of simple definition of what anger even is? So from my point of view, the way that I look at it, like anger is kind of a self-protective mechanism that we’ve got.

So it’s actually a good thing. But sometimes it can go astray because we lose control of it, however. But ultimately, it seems to arise either because we’ve perceived some kind of injustice in the world against ourselves or in the world against other people, or also it seems to arise because of our expectations and those expectations not being met. But is there any simple kind of definition that you usually use when you’re working with people?

James Clemmons: I think you get the nail right on the head there. I mean, it’s especially when it comes to our expectations, our expectations of ourselves, expectations of other people. That’s why I really Enjoy rational, REBT, Rational and Motive Behavioral Therapy developed by Dr. Albert Ellis. And it’s his, you know, he gets a lot of stuff from, you know, the stoic philosophers, you know, do you have realistic expectations? And I enjoy one of his famous quotes.

He says, there are three musts that hold us back in life. I must do well. You must treat me well. And the world must be easy. He was definitely a kind of a straightforward type guy. And you know, when our needs are not being met, our expectations.

Oli Anderson: Oh, ssorry. I think there was a bit of an issue with the recording then. Sorry, I was just going to say, if we can get a grasp on our expectations, then we can basically remove a lot of the unnecessary stress and friction and anger that stems from that from our lives. And I think a lot of people are running around and they’ve got unreal expectations basically about what life even is.

And the last point you just raised about, you know, they think life should be easy all the time that we shouldn’t have obstacles, we shouldn’t have problems that people should agree with us all the time, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. All of those things, if you hold on to those kind of assumptions about life expectations, they’re basically setting you up for disappointment.

And if you, you know, if you don’t have a healthy emotional relationship with yourself, then it is going to come out as anger. So is that too simplistic? Are we ultimately saying that it boils down to that? Our relationship with ourselves will affect, you know, the levels of anger that we feel, but also what we do with the anger.

James Clemmons: No, I think, you know, we try to over complicate, you know, a lot of things in life and, you know, everybody knows what angry is. It’s probably one of the strongest emotions that we have, but we never really learned to really dig deep and figure out, okay, where is this stemming from? Is it unexpected expectations? You know, it’s, you know, is it, you know, my needs are not being met.

And I’m getting upset because if I have the mindset of, you know, I must always get my way or everybody must treat me how I want to be treated. Guess what? You’re setting yourself up for failure.

Yeah. Because we don’t have control over other people. But we have control over how we respond to what they do rather than react, which, you know, reaction and responding is two different things. Yeah.

And when we tend to be wired to, you know, when that, you know, that primal fight, flight or freeze happens, you know, we’re reacting rather than responding. So I talk a lot, you know, with my clients, you know, about, you know, the biological aspect of anger, you know, like, you know, what’s going on in the body. You know, your body is going to tell you from the jump, hey, something’s not right here. But at that point, you know, you have a choice to make and I was going to allow my body to take over or I’m going to actually use my mind. So yeah, yeah, yeah.

Oli Anderson: Yeah. And I think that mind element is what’s so important because if you’re just reacting, you kind of obviously doing things on autopilot based on your conditioning and all your programming from the past and blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. If you can respond, then it basically means you’re going to pause between the stimulus and whatever response you’re about to unleash on the world. And you can make a decision in alignment with your higher values, your higher purpose, all that kind of stuff.

So before we get into some of this more philosophical stuff, I want to talk about one question that’s arisen based on what you just said is, do you think a lot of people in the world that we’ve created these days are kind of been rewarded for having an unhealthy relationship with their anger?

Because to me, it seems like a lot of people, especially online anyway, they’re constantly outraged, they’re constantly looking for something to react to so they can kind of play out some sort of a drama in their own minds, tell themselves a kind of story that they need to believe in so that they don’t actually have to face themselves ultimately and then grow more real or towards a more accepting place of truth in their own lives. I know that sounds dramatic, but do you think that’s kind of something that’s happening?

James Clemmons: Well, Dr. Newton Hightower, his take on anger management is he looks at it like an addict. He looks at it like people become addicted to that adrenaline rush. They come addicted to how they feel when they’re angry. And ultimately, you know, if you’re an AA or NA, you know, sobriety, you just have to stop. Yeah, yeah, yeah. And, yeah, I do think people, you know, we’re creatures of habit. We love the same thing. We love routine.

And if I’m constantly amped up, then I’m going to become used to that and not being angry now feels weird.

Oli Anderson: Like, it’s really interesting. Like there’s there are short term benefits to losing control of your anger. Like I’ve seen this in my own life. Like I know people who are actually proud that they sometimes get angry and flip out and then other people kind of respond to that by walking on eggshells around them. It’s kind of a it’s a way of getting attention ultimately.

And it’s filling a kind of void inside themselves, I think. But ultimately, if you shift from that short term reactive relationship with your anger to a more long term relationship where you’re actually responding to your anger and then you’re choosing what to do with it instead of allowing it to have control over you, you can get the best of both worlds because you’ll have mastered yourself basically, but also you’ll be using your anger to improve your life in the long term rather than just the short term.

So maybe that’s a good segue into some of the kind of deeper questions I want to ask you now we’ve kind of defined what anger is and blah, blah, blah. So I think one thing you said to me before when we were talking before the conversation is obviously a lot of the time, anger has a bad reputation. But actually, if we do learn to respond instead of react, there’s a lot of good things about anger. In fact, it’s a very healthy emotion.

My whole view of emotions is whatever you’re feeling, you have to feel it. And the problems actually arise when you try to hide from it. And because of the way that anger is seen as being destructive and all this kind of stuff, people get into that reactive place that you were talking about instead of responding and then creating with the anger. So my question for you is, what are some of the good things about anger that we can start to embrace in our lives and to kind of get a better grasp of it?

James Clemmons: Well, you know, just like what you said, it can be a great learning tool. So if we feel that there’s an injustice, this going injustice that’s going on, whether it be in our own personal lives or in our community, we can use it as, as you said earlier when we talked, you use it as fuel to kind of go out there and advocate for bettering social circumstances or just your personal life. And anger is, it’s a strong emotion and we all have it.

And a lot of us, we try to avoid it. We try to pretend it’s not there, you know, and we stuff, stuff, stuff. But it builds and builds and builds until finally, you know, we explode. I think there’s a there’s a movie called Anger Management with Adam Sandler and Jack Nielsen.

Yeah, there’s one scene where he’s like, you know, you get the cashier that just kind of takes it, takes it, takes it. Then one day he comes in and, you know, shoots everybody.

And he’s like, you’re the cashier because you’re avoiding, you know, your feelings, you’re avoiding your emotions.

Oli Anderson: Yeah. So do you think one thing that people can do to get a better relationship with their anger is to start designing some kind of a purpose for their lives? So for me, everything ultimately comes back to having a vision for your life or a purpose, whatever word you want to use, and making sure that it’s compelling. It’s aligned with your true values, your true intentions. And as you move towards it, you’re growing more real.

So growing more real in all the lingo that I like to throw out just means that you’re moving towards wholeness, connections to yourself, connection to others and connections to the world. And if you design a purpose around that, well, every day you’re taking some steps towards that. But in relation to the anger thing, I find if people don’t have a purpose, that’s when they just end up kind of distracting themselves all the time, or they end up kind of playing these kind of ego games that people get sucked into or creating dramas, because ultimately they’re directing their energy in the wrong place.

And then eventually when they’re directing it in the wrong place, it kind of directs itself against them. It kind of ricochets back at them and kind of screws up their lives. Then they end up being depressed and anxious and all these kind of things. But have you found in your work that part of what helps people to respond instead of react, it’s to figure out what their actual purpose is and it can be anything.

It doesn’t have to be anything grandiose. And then channeling the anger into that. And so I guess there’s two questions actually. One, does the purpose thing make sense according to all the stuff that you’ve been doing?

And two, how do we get to that point where we can sublimate or transmute or whatever fancy word we want to throw out, transmute the anger into the purpose itself?

James Clemmons: Yes, and you know, I’m also a licensed alcohol and drug counselor. You know, so you definitely see people substituting, you know, the lack of goals with alcohol and drugs – you name it, often anger. And I always think of a quote from Aristotle says, man is a goal seeking animal, he only has meaning and purpose, unless he’s reaching out and striving for his goals. And I’m a firm believer in that we have to have a goal, we have to have a purpose.

If we don’t, like you said, we’re going to feel it with something. And it’s never good. Yeah, it’s just, you know, this is being angry all the time.

It’s, hey, I don’t like what’s going on. So now I’m going to get drunk or high or whatever, and just totally try to, you know, kind of check out from reality. But guess what, you’re going to sober up. Reality hasn’t gone anywhere.

And it’s just going to smack you in the face and things get worse. So, you know, one thing that I’ve always tried to do, especially with alcohol and drug clots is, you know, there’s a thing called a motivational interviewing. You know, we got to figure out what motivates individuals. If we can get them motivated to see that, hey, you know, to find those goals, you know, they’re more likely going to, you know, because they got to have a benefit. Now, what am I going to benefit from getting clean? So we’re not going to benefit from not being angry all the time. So even if you decide to do nothing, you’re motivated to do nothing.

James Clemmons: So sorry. Oh, no, no, go ahead.

Oli Anderson: It’s about replacing all of those unreal distractions that have come as a product of reacting with something more real. And you’re right, like sometimes that can just be nothing.

There’s a quote by Nietzsche that I like where he says, in times of peace, the warlike man attacks himself. And I think that’s kind of related to what I was saying. So like when people don’t know what their purpose is or whatever it is, they basically kind of check out from reality, like you said, it’s a kind of, it’s a bubble ultimately where there’s nothing really going on. And normally what happens for a lot of people in that situation is they start to attack themselves exactly like you’ve kind of alluded to.

And then they try and project that out to the world. And with the goals thing, have you got any advice about how people can figure out what their purpose or next steps might be rather than just been angry all the time?

James Clemmons: Well, I think ultimately, you know, my three big things I try to get people to think about is, you know, number one, you got to learn to love yourself. And you got to learn to forgive yourself. And you got to learn to forgive other people.

And it’s the whole loving yourself is very, very, for some reason, you know, you think in our society, you know, we all love ourselves, but do we really? You got to be comfortable in your own skin. And a lot of people, like I said, they, they try to replace loving themselves with, you know, loving somebody else, or try to jump from relationship to relationship when they really don’t take the time to figure out, you know, who they are and see that all the time, but we’re trying to replace things. But learn to love yourself and just something as simple as, you know, asking somebody, are you happy?

You know, there’s something simple as that. Are you happy?And then, you know, okay, well, what would make you happy? You know, like, what can you do to make yourself happy? Yeah, not what somebody else can do. Yeah. You know, and a lot of people are like, well, I wouldn’t be so angry if so and so would stop doing this.

Well, guess what? You have no control over so and so. But you do have control over you.

So what can you do, you know, to, you know, relieve the anger and to not be angry all the time. And ultimately, it’s, it’s our choices, it’s our decisions, it’s, you know, what we want out of our lives. And people, you know, we just don’t slow down long enough to ask ourselves, you know, those simple, simple questions. Yeah.

Oli Anderson: Yeah. I love how you’re bringing this all back to just been doing what’s simple, because I think that’s so true. A lot of the time, the reason that people are angry and depressed and anxious and all these negative emotions that people feel are because they’re making things too complicated. And actually, the most simple thing that you can do is to accept reality.

That’s how I see everything, right? It always comes back to real, unreal, wholeness, fragmentation. If you accept reality, then by default, you have to accept yourself as well unconditionally, because you’re real. So if you accept what’s real, then you get this deeper connection to yourself, which serves as a foundation for everything else that you do. And when you’re not being real, and you don’t accept yourself because you’ve got unrealistic expectations, and you, you know, you’re letting society tell you what to do or your parents or whoever it is, that’s kind of crept into your psyche and giving you a different script. If you live like that, then you’re always going to feel unsatisfied. You’re always going to find some reason to judge yourself.

You’re always going to have unnecessary pressure on yourself. A lot of those people turn into people-pleases because they’re just so used to being told what to do. And then people-pleases, obviously they don’t have healthy boundaries. They end up being like that cashier in the movie you mentioned, Anger Management.

And eventually they just explode because they’re not letting it out. And ultimately it all comes down to what you just said. If you learn to love yourself, you have a healthy relationship with yourself. You’re doing the things that are real to you. You’re setting healthy boundaries because if anybody disrespects you or goes against, you know, what you believe you want to be doing with your life or tells you that, you know, judges you or whatever, then you’re going to set the boundary or you’re going to walk away.

And it just makes life so much easier. So that being said, the question now becomes, I guess, how do we go deeper into doing that so we can circumvent all these problems that arise when we don’t do that? And by that I mean love ourselves. In a healthy way.

James Clemmons: I think, you know, I’m a firm believer in education. Educate yourself. You know, there’s books in my past. You know, I don’t make it a point to sit down. I know I want to read a book, but I enjoy the information that comes from reading a good self-help book. And there’s been, you know, self-help books that’s, you know, you know, don’t sound dramatic, but you know, it has changed my life because it changed my perspective on things. And I try to find the most simple books out there, you know, because I think a lot of people like to, you know, make it more complicated than it has to be.

And I’m all about keeping it simple. And, you know, one of my favorite books and I’ve used it in alcohol and drug classes, domestic violence classes, anger management classes, is the Four Agreements. It’s a very, you know, very popular, popular book.

It’s been around for probably close to 30 years. And it just, you know, has four things. It’s like, hey, work on these four things, you know, and, you know, it will transform your life, you know, don’t take things personal. Don’t make assumptions.

Always do your best, you know, be impeccable with your word. And it’s only seven chapters long. It’s a very short, short, easy read book.

I highly recommend you get on Amazon for like five bucks. But it really makes you think when you come across those situations, okay, well, I’m starting to take this personal, you know, pump the brakes, stop, you know, the big stop sign. And what you were saying earlier is kind of funny because, you know, with REBT, you know, they have kind of like their 12 core values. And one of them is unconditional self acceptance.

And this says healthy people freely accept themselves unconditionally rather than measuring, rating or trying to prove themselves. Also the acceptance of uncertainty. Things are going to happen. And it’s just slowing down and educating ourselves to, hey, I might have an issue with my anger. And I’m getting these, all these negative, all these negative feedback rather than just trying to ignore it, just sit down and go, okay, maybe I need to talk to somebody. Maybe I should, you know, read something, something as simple as that.

Or I, and I think, and I actually did a podcast on this a while back, or I was on somebody’s podcast. And we were just talking about just, you know, taking a time out from technology, taking a time out. To just kind of sit with ourselves. And I think a lot of us, you know, we need to do that.

We need to kind of check in with ourselves to see, hey, you know, what’s going on? Am I happy? Am I not happy? Okay, well, how can I get through this?

Oli Anderson: I think you’ve raised a really important point, which is that ultimately, when it comes to anger, we can only really be angry if we’re filtering things through our self image or ego, as I let’s call it. And like, the main source of all these unreal expectations that we have is exactly that. The idea that, you know, if something happens to us is personal. So for example, if we’re driving in traffic and we’re getting angry with the traffic, we might get really angry. But actually, it’s not a personal thing. It’s just like traffic is slow sometimes people drive like idiots.

It’s how it goes. It’s not an affront to us as individuals. But we can apply that to all of life. And it basically boils down to the expectations thing. And what I found is that when we put ourselves on this path that I’m always talking about and that this podcast is about of growing real, we eventually get to the point that you’re talking about where we start to raise awareness of how the idea of our self, our self image, self identity, how that is actually totally unreal. It’s just a tool that we use to navigate reality.

And if we forget that, that’s when we start to have all of these things going on that we perceive to be things that we need to get angry about. But actually, if we can become aware and we can step back and we accept reality itself, which is beyond judgment really, and therefore removes any kind of need to be angry ultimately, then we can ultimately start to flow with life a lot more freely. We don’t have to force everything.

We’re not constantly putting obstacles in our runway. So I guess my question is in the work that you do, how does the self image thing come into it? Do you help people to work on that, taking things personally?

James Clemmons: Oh yeah, definitely. We definitely like to take things personal and you just have to kind of give people a reality check. I hate to break it to you, not as special as you think you are. We’re just a little speck on this marble spinning through the universe and not everything’s about you.

Not everything’s going to go your way and what I try to do is, like I said, I always try to keep it simple. It’s like your self-talk. You talk to yourself more than anybody that you talk to on a daily basis. What are you saying to yourself? There’s some key words that Dr. Albert Ellis points out and he says, if these creep up into your mind, you’re going down the wrong path. Those absolutes should, must, always, never.

I like to throw in fair. Those words creep up into your mind and then right then and there, I’m going down the wrong path. I should never run into traffic.

Well, replace the should with, it would be nice to not run into traffic, but reality states that it happens. I think a lot of things that we deal with is that we don’t allow humans to be humans. We’re not perfect. The people we come in contact with are not perfect. They’re going through life just as you are. They have their challenges.

So you got to lower your expectations of people and because we don’t assume that we’re perfect. I hope we don’t. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Yeah, because people are going to let us down. We’re going to make mistakes. People are going to drive crazy. That’s just the nature of the beast.

Oli Anderson: Yeah, yeah, yeah. Like the way that I look at life is we basically live in two realms. There’s reality itself where everything is constantly moving.

It’s chaotic. We have uncertainty. We don’t really know what’s going to happen and we kind of just have to trust life and go with it whilst trying to navigate towards our vision and purpose and all that stuff. The other realm that we live in is the world ultimately, which is just a bunch of ideas and concepts that we have kind of projected onto life individually and collectively based on our relationship with ourselves.

And the world is ultimately all of these things you just said. It’s a bunch of unrealistic expectations basically that are taking us away from reality. It’s the idea that nothing ever changes, that we’re really important, that we’re special as individuals, that we’re going to live forever maybe and blah, blah, blah. And actually all of those things, if you believe in them, all of those unrealistic expectations, like other people need to be perfect and all the things we’ve said, they are always something that we want to believe in because we don’t love ourselves.

So again, it comes back to that. That’s basically the foundation of all this. When we do love ourselves unconditionally, then we can love other people unconditionally as well. So we don’t need them to be perfect.

We don’t care if they cut in front of us in traffic. And all these kind of things, the way to avoid feeling unnecessarily, reactively angry is exactly what you said. It’s to get to that point where you love yourself and then all the other stuff slips away. And when that all slips away, it makes space for your real life to emerge because you’re not allowing your life to be dictated by your social conditioning and the ego that you’ve created in response to that. And you’re underlining emotional relationship with yourself if you’ve got underlying unresolved shame, guilt and trauma.

And so maybe this is where we’re getting on to how letting go of anger can make us more creative in general. So the way I always talk about it when I’m coaching people on this podcast, I guess, is it’s a three step process. It starts with awareness, like you said.

So yeah, we have to raise awareness of, okay, we have a problem. I have unrealistic expectations, blah, blah, blah, blah. The next stage is acceptance. So it’s like, why do I expect the world to meet all my needs, for example? Well, okay, when I dig into it, I realize I have a lot of shame. And so I don’t believe in myself. And therefore I can’t trust myself to get where I want to be. And so I’m putting it all on the world.

And then the world isn’t meeting that. So I get really angry. So when you’ve gone through awareness and acceptance, and they were just examples of how it shows up, then you can start taking the action of actually creating the real life that you want by becoming the person that you want to be without holding yourself back.

So what do you have to say there about using anger to get to that point where we do accept ourselves and then we can start building something that’s real?

James Clemmons: Yeah. And what you said, it’s that awareness. It’s that acceptance is, that’s the name of the game, acceptance. It’s a lot easier to go with the stream than try to go against it. And we have to take it, and when life happens, we have to go with it. But a lot of people, we try to avoid it, because this might be difficult or this conversation might be tough.

So I’m going to avoid it. But the issue hasn’t resolved itself, especially in relationships. You know, well, it’s gonna be kind of awkward conversations. I’m just gonna avoid it rather than if we’re going to try to get to that point to live the life we want and to get the things that we want, we have to communicate. And that’s one of the biggest obstacles that I’ve run across is that we don’t really communicate well at all.

You think with all the technology and all the social media and stuff, you know, hey, we’re communicating? No, we’re not. It’s kind of like there’s a skit. If you’re familiar with Key and Peele, it’s kind of a comedy skit. And there’s a skit where these two friends are texting each other and one person is taking it the wrong way and he gets upset. The other guy is perfectly fine. And it’s pretty funny. So I always tell people, I’m like, you know, texting is not communicating because it’s open to interpretation.

You know, if I’m having a bad day,my filter that I’m viewing the world through is going to be negative rather than sit down and actually have a rather than text call somebody and actually talk it through because I don’t know about you, but I’ve definitely sent a text and it be taking the wrong way. Yeah, yeah. And two hours texting back and forth, trying to say, hey, I didn’t mean that when a five minute conversation, you know, it wouldn’t ever happen.

Oli Anderson: Yeah, I’m laughing because I think I do that every day. Like it’s just a common occurrence in my life, it seems. But with the communication thing, is there a deeper level to it as well? So you 100% I agree. Like if people are just superficially going through the motions of living life, and it reminded me of what you said about, you know, loving ourselves. Like if you look on social media or whatever, it seems like everybody is loving themselves.

But actually they’re not. It’s a superficial version where they’re trying to run away from their inner shame. However, again, with the communication thing and communication is very real when it’s done right. Again, it’s kind of a superficial thing that’s going on.

Like people are just texting, it can be misconstrued, all the things he said. So what’s the difference between, you know, this superficial communication that’s going on all over the place and the deeper level? Like what’s actually the thing that makes the difference? And how does it relate to all this other stuff we’ve been talking about?

James Clemmons: Well, I think a lot of the superficial stuff is we’re not being true to ourselves. We’re trying to project an image.

We’re trying to project, hey, this is, you know, everything’s going great. Hey, look at me. Look at me. When in reality, you know, those are, you know, I think it was Aristotle. I can’t remember.

He said, basically said kind of be wary of somebody that, you know, is constantly surrounding themselves with other people and being active. And basically says it, you know, those individuals are not comfortable in their own skin. They’re not comfortable with themselves.

It was unparaphrasing. And I think that’s true. You see somebody’s always on the go, always posting stuff out there. And like I said, they never slow down. They never stop because they don’t like the communication that they’re having with themselves, they’re not comfortable in their own skin. And it goes back to, you know, they probably don’t love themselves.

Oli Anderson: Yeah, yeah. 100%. I think it’s exactly that. It’s avoidance. So when we, when we’re not being real with ourselves, we don’t love ourselves, like we said, and then instead of facing whatever is going on inside of us, that’s making us not love ourselves, which is normally shame or guilt, I find, which causes us to judge ourselves and filter everything through the ego that we’re talking about. When we’re in that state, we create lives for ourselves that are a complete distraction. So, you know, we’ll be doing everything in a controlled superficial way so we can maintain whatever image we have of ourselves.

We’ll find some totally unreal purpose that is basically an attempt to run away from the truth instead of run towards it. And like you said, with communication, it’s the same thing. Like it’s so easy to pick up the phone and send a text. And, okay, it seems like you’re communicating, but actually, what are you doing really? Like true communication, I would say is about presence. And yeah, not all texting is bad, if you know, but ultimately you can fall into this rut of thinking you’ve been real.

But actually, you’re just, you’re trying to hide from life. And I suppose this all links because if people are living like that, it’s just going to perpetuate all of the things that are making them so angry in the first place, instead of allowing them to go deeper into reality or something like that.

James Clemmons: Yeah, you know, it kind of goes back to the whole, you know, the whole, you know, iceberg, you know, at the top of the iceberg, you know, that’s what we see.

You know, we see the anger. But when you get down below the surface of the water, the iceberg is huge. And underneath the surface is that shame, that guilt, that unrealistic expectations. But yet we only identify with anger because that’s what we see and we don’t really dig deeper to figure out okay well what’s really causing this. We just we just run with it. Well like I said we’re reacting and we’re just going through life and it’s causing a lot of troubles out there.

Oli Anderson: And again I suppose now we’ve gone full circle because it comes back to the reacting or responding thing and ultimately there’s always going to be something you know under the ocean in this you know tip of the iceberg analogy. But if we’re responding and we have a purpose and we know where to direct our energy which is into creating something then we can use what’s down there beneath the surface to make what appears to be on the surface much more real.

And the way that I always describe it you know paraphrase Cal Young making the unconscious conscious. So it’s about making conscious choices where you’re either making the unconscious conscious or working with it through the way that you create your life or the unconscious is dictating your conscious experience and it all goes back to exactly what you said in this conversation.

You either react or you respond and if you choose something to create it makes the responding thing way easier. So we covered a lot but I feel like going full circle kind of brings it all together. Have you got any final words to kind of sum up everything we talked about or any you know final lessons you want to throw out there?

James Clemmons: Just one thing that I always try to instill into people is that you know our own personal power you know our own personal self you know that’s what we have control over.

And when we we get angry and we allow you know people to rent space in our minds you know we’re giving away our power and Epictetus you know way back in the day has a great quote and he says any person capable of angering you becomes your master he can only anger you when you permit it you know and that is essentially a choice you know if I allow you to dictate how I’m feeling then I no longer have control I don’t longer have the power and I’m putting basically you know for a lot of people that I deal with you’re putting your life in somebody else’s hands if you say something I don’t like I don’t agree with and I punch you in the face I go to jail so now I have no control over my life and I’m putting it in the hands of somebody else and that person really is dictating my life because I’ve not gathered the tools and the skills to not allow someone to become you know as Epictetus said you know become my master.

Oli Anderson: Yeah that is so true and so powerful and like if you look at the world like we’re saying there’s so many people that are outraged and they’re taking a kind of pride in being outraged but ultimately by looking for the next thing to get upset about and be outraged about you’re actually taking pride in not being a master of your own domain or whatever and ultimately everything you’ve shared in this conversation is is exactly what you just summed up like we have a choice and the choice to take control of our lives instead of trying to control the world is always going to make our lives better in the long term so that was awesome thank you so much for that can you tell people where they can find you like your website and if they want to listen to your podcast as well like what’s it called and how can they find it?

James Clemmons: Well I’m easy to get a hold of I’ve got a website it’s called there’s a link in there that’ll get you to our podcast podcast is basically called the freedom from anger podcast you should be able to find it on wherever you find your your podcast I’m on Twitter I’m not too great at social media I’m working on it but to find me on Twitter it’s anger_LLC I’ve got an Instagram I’m still trying to figure out but it’s freedomfromangerLLC that’s my handle on there but probably the easiest road to go is go to our website and just go to I think I think the tabs media and the podcast is on there and it’s got some other stuff that I’ve done on NPR and various different podcasts and platforms butyou know if you listen to the podcast and you like it follow it if you have any suggestions on topics I’m definitely open to going in that direction

Oli Anderson: Awesome. Well James thank you for this conversation I’ll share all those links in the show notes but really appreciate your time it’s been awesome so thanks again and stay real out there.

James Clemmons: Thanks for having me.

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