What is anger? A punishment we give to ourselves, for somebody else’s mistake. – Unknown
I never realized how angry I was, until I finally set out to SEE my actions (and feel my feelings). I realized I harbored anger, resentment, frustration and more, at a fairly continuous steady level. This is obviously not good for my health or well-being, and it erodes my relationships, so I have been working to rectify this.
Anger is not something others do TO you, you inflict it upon yourself. As the quote above explains much more eloquently, I was letting myself hold all this anger, and for no reason. Much of my “practice” of dealing with those feelings swirling around the anger zone, have been just the simple reminder to myself that there’s not a place for that anger in me. More often than not, we tend to feel angry but hold it in, so we’re not even SHARING this with the other party, and therefore it’s just a way to make ourselves hurt. I could hold onto it, but really I’m just elevating my own blood pressure, while the person that I am angry with is not bothered.
Anger doesn’t move me forward, it keeps me in a stagnant cesspool of ugly, by which I am either going to drown or pick myself up and move on. Take the lessons from the situation but don’t let the need to feel vindicated become all consuming and hold you in a place of negativity.
Some tools I have used to try and help myself during interactions I know make me angry or frustrated:
1. If a particular PERSON bothers me, I try and think of one word that can soothe and remind me of the pacifying thought. For instance, when dealing with a person I might think “stepping stone” to remind myself that perhaps they are a stepping stone toward the life that I desire and it’s not forever. It helps me remember that I am in no place to change the person or circumstance, but also don’t need to fret over something that isn’t going to be for the rest of my life.
2. Speak up! This seems obvious, but so many times I hear people say they are angry, but they never let the other party know. Honesty without tact is just cruelty though, so share your feelings but try not to beat the other party down. I know I am/have been guilt in the past of lacking tact in my delivery, but it’s worth trying to remember…maybe just give yourself some minutes to calm down a bit first.
3. Write it out. Explore your feelings and write it out. Maybe you don’t like writing, then you record a voice memo on your phone and just talk talk talk it out. Then play it back. Listen to yourself (or read your words you wrote) and get a better view of what you’re saying versus the facts of the situation. Perhaps you over reacted? Perhaps not. Maybe you reacted a bit more “off the cuff” than you wish, but you might never realize that if you don’t get the situation out of your head and into a means from which you can get a more meta perspective.
Anger can be fuel to the fire, truly, it can motivate you in ways you might never expect, but don’t let it be a fire from which you end up a black, stony individual who lacks the ability to feel all the good things too!