Anger can be pretty entertaining when it’s happening to other people. But I find that when I’m the only one who’s angry it tends to make me look goofy, and I don’t like that. So here’re a few things to know about anger, and how to have less of it.
Anger typically comes along right behind fear or sadness. When fear kicks in, and we can’t run away, anger takes over to get us out of a sticky situation, and it helps us fight to stay alive.
We also use anger when we feel hurt; like when someone says we’re fat or have bad table manners. Rather than getting our feelings hurt, we get angry, and make it about them for saying such nasty things. So instead of going through all the trouble of taking responsibility for our hurt feelings, we get angry, and we win! Go team anger.
The problem is, anger’s designed to be released by kicking, hitting, biting and screaming. And I don’t know about you, but my friends hate it when I scream and bite. So anger doesn’t usually have a chance to get really released, and ends up getting stored up inside. And it usually gets packed in there with resentment, which is anger with a personal twist, and frustration, which is anger combined with helplessness.
So we end up with a toxic cocktail inside of us, made of anger, resentment, and frustration. Mmm. Yummy. And every time something else happens we don’t like, that cocktail gets bigger, and more explosive.
Anger cocktails are volatile. And when you’ve been storing one up long enough, it doesn’t take much to set it off. You’re sensitive. You’ve got a chip on your shoulder. People have to walk on eggshells around you. And you become what the psychologists refer to as an ass. Well, not you of course. I’m talking about those other angry people.
Or, maybe you’re the kind of person who contains your anger, and the only clue people have about it is the steam coming out of your ears. Containing anger takes a lot of energy though. And it’s usually the same energy that should be going toward things like your immune system, and staying healthy. So sometimes people who contain their anger have a way of not living too long.
So if you’re not supposed to hit and yell, and you’re not supposed to contain your anger, and you don’t want to look goofy, how do you deal with it?
First, get clue. It’s not about the person who’s “making you angry”, it’s about the anger inside of you that’s getting triggered. So begin by taking responsibility for your own anger. If you’re blaming someone else for your anger, you’re back in caveman times.
Second, get some objectivity. Allow part of you to become a neutral observer to what you’re doing. So even in the middle of being upset, get some little part of yourself to watch what’s really going on. And instead of telling yourself “I’m angry”, say “anger is getting triggered inside of me”. That puts a more neutral spin on it.
Third, breathe. Take slow, full deep breaths. It doesn’t cost anything, anyone can do it, and it totally works. As you take deep breaths, tell yourself, I’m letting go of anger. The more anger you let go of, the less you have.
And perhaps most importantly, do something to remember who you really are, and the kind of person you want to be. For me, that means I drop into my heart, and remember that I want to be a loving person. The more I cultivate that, the easier it is to let go of anger.
If you’d like to learn more about how to let go of anger, and not look so goofy, check out my program, Say Goodbye To Anger, on this website.