Copyright (c) 2006 Brenda Shoshanna
Anger is a lethal force that undermines our lives in all kinds of ways. Sometimes it erupts openly and other times anger camouflages it and covertly undermines your life. Some experience anger as strength and power. They feel it is necessary in order to maintain control. Others assume they have the right to express anger towards those in their lives. These are some of the lies anger tells us. In fact, when we are angry we are out of control and our ability to respond wisely is diminished.
Here are 7 steps for handling anger on the spot.
Step 1: Realize that anger is a choice you make
Anger is not a form of power, strength, or control. It is a toxin. Sometimes it provides a temporary high. After this high subsides, we are left weaker and more uncertain than before. Not only that, there are often negative consequences that have to be handled.
Basically anger narrows your focus, creates confusion and limits your ability to find constructive solutions. When anger arises, stop, breathe deeply, and immediately look at the larger perspective. Put the incident in context. For a moment, allow the other person to be “right”. Tell yourself you have plenty of time to be right later. Your main goal is to have the anger subside so you can see the whole picture clearly.
Step 2: Become aware of the 24 forms of anger
Anger camouflages itself and finds many covert ways of manifesting. Unrecognized anger turns into all kinds of unwanted behavior. When these behaviors are not understood it is very difficult to correct them. Awareness is important in making necessary changes.
Some of the 24 forms of anger are: depression, passive aggressive behavior, compulsions, perfectionism, gossiping and certain kinds of competition at the workplace. When you realize that these are being fuelled by anger, you can take appropriate steps to handle them.
Step 3: Start Relationship Balancing
Relationship Balancing is the natural flow of energy, support and inspiration between individuals. When this flow is balanced individuals operate at their maximum level. When the flow is blocked or out of balance, individuals become depressed, apathetic, sick and resentful. When one feels needed and acknowledged, there is no end to their ability to tap their full potential. Envision balanced relationships. Write down what this means to you and notice how it compares to the reality of your particular situation. This initial step provides a map and new focus. It provides a direction to move in.
Step 4: Discover Your Relationship Balancing Quotient
List each individual you interact with. Score each person on the following questions from 1-10. See for yourself what is going on.
a)I I feel at ease with this person.
b)I trust this person.
c)I communicate naturally with this person.
d)I understand what they’re communicating to me.
e)I am able to ask this person for what I want from them.
f)I am able to give this person what they want from me.
Assess exactly what is going on in your important relationships. Take a look at what you want from each relationship. Separate your needs and wants. Start communicating your feelings in a responsible manner and asking for what you really need and want. Start truly listening to the other, to who they actually are, not your images or agendas for them.
We can often be in a relationship with a person for a long time and not even begin to know who they truly are. As you begin taking the steps above, you will make natural adjustments in getting this relationship back on track.
Step 5: Stop Casting Blame
Blaming others is one of the largest factors in causing imbalance in your relationships and keeping the anger going. Stop casting blame. By blaming others you are disempowering yourself. By taking responsibility you are taking back control. Stop a moment and see the situation through your opponent’s eyes. When you do this blame dissolves on the spot. Also, remember, the best defense against being hurt is to feel good about yourself and the way a person responds to you says more about them, than about you.
As you stop casting blame you will be letting go of all kinds of resentments. Resentment inevitably affects our well-being and always bounces back on us. Look for and find what is positive in each individual. Focus on that.
Step 6 – Create Realistic Expectations
There is nothing that makes us more angry and hurt than expectations we’ve been holding onto that have not been met. It is important that you become aware of what your expectations are for your relationships. Are they realistic? Does the other person hold expectations that are similar? Let go of unrealistic fantasies. Once this is done, much opportunity for anger diminishes on the spot.
Step 7 Develop A Grateful Mind
See what different people in your lives are truly giving to you. We often take many things for granted and are even unaware of all that we are receiving day by day. Take time to write down each day what you are receiving. Be grateful for that. Make a point of giving thanks. The more we thank others, the happier we become. Also, take time to write down all that you have given others that day. It may be a surprise. We often think we are giving so much and receiving so little. This is a great cause of anger, deprivation and emptiness within. However, when we take time daily to write it down and look at it carefully, we are often surprised and how much we have received and how little given in return. As we look at it carefully, and balance these two activities, we learn to take pleasure both in what we have given and what has been received.