Anger is a lethal force that undermines our lives in all kinds of ways. Sometimes it erupts openly and other times it camouflages itself 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. 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. It’s time to look at anger in a new way and understand what it really is. Then we can take new steps that help us of anger, make us feel better, and see clearly what to do.
Step 1: Realize that anger is a choice you make
Anger is not a form of power, strength, or control. It is a toxin, which sometimes provides a temporary high. After this high subsides, the individual is left weaker and more uncertain than before. Not only that, the negative consequences of our outbursts have to be handled. Basically anger narrows our focus, creates confusion and limits our 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 be in control.
Step 2: Pinpoint the 24 forms of anger
Anger camouflages itself and manifests in many ways. Unrecognized anger turns into all kinds of unwanted behavior that become impossible to stop. We have to become aware that this behavior is just another form of anger and pull it out at the root.
Some of the 24 forms of anger are depression, hypocrisy, self-sabotage, low self-esteem, burnout, passive-aggressive behavior, compulsions, perfectionism, gossiping, lying, and various addictions. When you realize that these are being fuelled by anger, you can take appropriate steps to handle them.
Step 3: Give Up Being A Martyr – Stop Giving and Taking Guilt
Most martyrs do not think of themselves as martyrs. They may describe themselves as long-suffering, giving much more than they get. There’s a huge difference between giving and manipulation. Martyrs manipulate with guilt.
But guilt is a lethal toxin, fuelled by anger. When you make someone feel guilty, you are harming them. When people feel guilty they find some way to punish themselves and others. Give up giving guilt and also give up taking it. Recognize this as a form of anger, which has no constructive outcome.
Step 4: Stop Casting Blame
Blaming others (and ourselves) is an expression of hurt, disappointment, and anger and never leads to a constructive solution. Stop casting blame. By blaming others you are dis-empowering 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.
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 5 – Create Realistic Expectations
There is nothing that makes us angrier and hurt than expectations we’ve been holding onto that have not been met. It is important that you become aware of your expectations. Are they realistic? Does the other person hold similar expectations in your relationship?
Let go of unrealistic fantasies. Once this is done, many opportunities for anger diminishes on the spot.
Step 6 – 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 surprise you. We often think we are giving so much and receiving so little. This is a great cause of anger and feelings of deprivation. However, when we take time daily to look carefully, we are often surprised and how much we have received and how little given in return. As we see how much we receive daily, anger naturally subsides and we learn to take pleasure both in what we give and receive.