We all LIKE being right, but some people HAVE to be right as a matter of power and control over others. These people are very rigid in their thinking patterns because they don’t allow that others may have equally valid opinions or ways of doing things.Â While it IS true that sometimes we indeed have to draw a line-in-the-sand regarding what we consider “right,” and “wrong,” most conflicts between family members or other intimate relationships involve issues that usually are in the “gray” area rather than being starkly black and white.
To be less angry. let go of those “gray” issues (and even some of the black and white ones, if you can). Remember that while you may be technically “right,” the emotional cost of holding on to your righteousness may indeed by very high.Â What good is it to be right if its cost is the generation of hatred or emotional distance in a family member?
“As soon as you concern yourself with the “good” and “bad” of your fellows, you create an opening in your heart for maliciousness to enter. Testing, competing with, and criticizing others weaken and defeat you”……Morihei Ueshiba
We live in a complex world with over 6 billion other people, many of whom see things, value things and do things very differently from you. If others do things that upset us, it is natural to tell ourselves they are “stupid,” “wrong,” “bad,” “crazy,” or to make other judgments about them which may or may not be true or accurate.
A better way to talk to yourself is to remember that perhaps they are not 100% of the problem. Remind yourself that, as they say, it takes two to tango. That is, upsetting anger occurs as a result both of what they do and how you react or respond to it. Someone else may see the exact same behavior exhibited by the person upsetting you, but yet not become angry or bothered by it.
No offense, but in some situations you may be part of the problem. If so, perhaps you need to develop more tolerance, empathy, or understanding. When someone does something that upsets you, another way to interpret your being upset with them is that you lack coping skills at that moment to successfully deal with the situation.
Rather than angrily blaming the other for their behavior, focus instead on developing personal skills to better cope with it.Â For instance, have a teacher you don’t like who irritates you? RatherÂ an becoming angry or refusing to learn in that class, ask yourself how you can learn to better cope with him or her.Â Trust that this may be a growth experience that will help you learn to better cope with difficult people in your future.
Has it occurred to you that your attitudes, appearance, demeanor, and behaviors are constantly teaching others how you are willing to be treated? It’s like we are beaming signals to other people of which we may or may not be aware.Â Yet, we sometimes are astounded when people then treat us in ways consistent with those signals we have been sending.
Want to change someone’s anger toward you? Ask yourself if perhaps you are somehow “pulling” (or at least encouraging) that behavior from the other by how you are with them. Of course, this is not always the case, but it is an excellent place to start – and it is something that is under your control to change.
To continue this concept, perhaps you become angry when you feel that others disrespect you, bully you, don’t listen to you, don’t take you seriously, or perhaps don’t act lovingly toward you. Again, the appropriate self-talk here is to ask yourself if you could somehow change what you do to get a different response from the people you now have issues with.Â This self-talk is empowering and elevates you from victim to feeling a measure of control over your life because you can always control what you do much more than what others do or do not do.
“Iron is full of impurities that weaken it; through forging it becomes steel and is transformed into a razor-sharp sword. Human beings develop in the same fashion” – Morihei Ueshiba
To reduce anger, remind yourself that mostÂ of us are works in progress and, as such, are imperfect. We all have good days and and bad days; we all have areas of extreme competence as well as mediocrity; we sometimes shine and other times look pretty dull.Â Increased tolerance of our own mistakes, limitations and foibles as well as tolerance of the mistakes or imperfecions of others will make life less frustrating for you.
Some days you areÂ the pigeon; other days you are the statue.
When people read this “self-talk,” in anger managementÂ class, there is always immediate chuckling indicating self-awareness of how often we convince ourselves just the opposite – that things should go our way because after all, we are masters of the universe and legends in our own minds.
The mature person recognizes that things probably unfold in the world pretty much as they are supposed to – even if events don’t necessarily follow our personal plans, wishes, needs or wants. To what extent do we control our personal world? Philosophers have been dabating this issue for thousands of years without agreement; until they figure it out, you can manage your anger by realistically telling yourself that sometimes things will go your way, and other times they won’t – no matter how hard you try.
As you go through your daily life, what kinds of things irritate or anger you? If you are like most people, the list is porbably quite long and may vary in length depending on the day and your mood at the time.
Our anger management participants regularly tell us they experience workplace anger, desk rage, road rage, relationship anger, irritation withÂ parents, irritation with teachers, being mad at peers, being mad at siblings, fast-food anger, customer service anger, bank anger, computer anger, and ex-spouse anger. There appears to be no end to the growing list as our society becomes more and more complex.
When you stop and think about it, you will realize that there is no limit to things in the world that can trigger anger and stress in you.Â The only sensible way to view all this is to understand that you can’t live in a modern world without being constantly exposed to many potential anger triggers – which you probably are unable to change or modify. So, to surviveÂ (and thrive) you need to develop tools and skills to deal with those things that serve as anger triggers for you personally.
This involves first taking responsibility for how you deal with those angry feelings instead of blaming them on other people or cicumstances. ToÂ do this, you need to first separate the feeling of anger from the expression of anger. We have found that the tool of changing your self-talk is an excellent way to do that.
Why does changing self-talk help us with the expression of anger? Because the feeling of anger is natural when we are frustrated or have a goal blocked.Â But, what we tell ourselves about the anger trigger has dramatic effect on how angry we get and how we express it. Our thoughts affect our feelings just as our feelings affect our thoughts.
In future blogs, we will give you twelve powerful ways to talk to yourself when angry.
More information at www.angercoach.com
Online anger management at www.angercoachonline.com