03/26/2015 05:10 pm ET Updated May 26, 2015

Hashtag Angry Elephants

A few months ago, I wrote Hashtag Happiness in exploration of whether or not I am a happy person. To further this exploration of human emotion, I am going to follow up with Hashtag Angry Elephants, the story of a girl and her discussion of anger. It will have nothing to do with Twitter and even less to do with angry elephants.


Let's head straight to Wikipedia for the most valid definition: "anger... often it indicates when ones basic boundaries are violated."

Hmm...intriguing. Well, obviously we have to click the link to see what basic boundaries means. Here we go. "Personal boundaries are guidelines, rules, or limits that a person creates to identify for themselves what are reasonable, safe and permissible ways for other people to behave around him or her and how they will respond when someone steps outside those limits."

And according to Nina Brown's self-help book that worked its way into Wikipedia's definition, these boundaries can be soft, spongy, rigid or flexible. Ah cha. So, our boundaries are quite similar to our bellies.

Let's delve into these and I will give you thought provoking examples that I have come up with all by myself to demonstrate what I think these terms mean:

A person with soft boundaries merges with other people's boundaries. "Hey Bob, I stepped on your toe." "Oh, Joe, no problem, that was just my pinky toe. I don't even use that one."

On the other hand, a person with spongy boundaries: "Hey Bob, I stepped on your toe." "Oh, Joe, I am upset that you stepped on my toe, but am not sure if I am too upset or just the right amount of upset so I am just going to passively aggressively tell you it is ok and then hold my unsure feelings inside. And then I am going to call my friend Peter and tell him that when you stepped on my toe, it really sucked and the only reason you stepped on it is because you weren't looking where you were going, which you always do, which is really annoying. And then Peter will tell me that he agrees and you were wrong."

Flexible boundaries: "Bob, stepped on your toe." "It's ok, Joe. I am fine." This one is so boring, right?

And then rigid boundaries: "Bob, stepped on your toe." "I don't care Joe. About you. Or my toe."

So, how do I find out which one of these categories I fall into. Well, I guess I have to find out more information from Nina Brown as she is the one who created these fine categories so I am going to Google her and see what comes up. And go.

Google leads me to... Amazon. No website for Nina Brown in site (pun intended).

I guess the only way to find out what Nina had to say is to buy her book. Well, I am left with no choice. I am clicking "Buy now with one click" because if I add it to my cart, I might actually consider what I am doing and then decide not to do it. This post to be or not to be continued in two days after Amazon prime gets my book to me...

*This article is in no way an endorsement of Nina Brown's books as I haven't read any of them and you can all clearly see how I came across her name. So she may be a genius or her books may be crap. I have no idea. But Wikipedia seems to like her, so maybe we all should as well.

**How do your react when someone steps on your toe?