“For every minute you remain angry, you give up sixty seconds of peace of mind.”Ralph Waldo Emerso
Anger. It’s a natural emotion we experience on a regular basis. We usually have several expectations, which, when not met, makes us angry. The outcomes or the way something should be done – if it is not in line with what and how we want it, triggers our anger. Usually, anger starts to rise in us when we feel a loss of control over people or situations. We also tend to feel this way when we feel misunderstood or unheard by other people.
We carry so many judgements and assumptions about people and situations that they act like a wall between us and the others. This wall, though invisible leads to misunderstandings and of course anger!
The famous poet, Rumi has expressed it beautifully, “Anger is like a strong wind. It calms down after a while, but lots of branches are already broken.” We all know what anger can do. Anger spreads like fire – if you push your anger onto others, they’re bound to reciprocate. People who face our anger may cease to be authentic with us. Anger can instill fear in others and lower their self-esteem resulting in loss of transparency in communication with us. A loss of connect, trust, and peace of mind may leave our relationships severely damaged. Relationships can get tarnished, but the biggest one is the relationship that you share with yourself.
Let’s dive a bit deeper. We don’t seem to realise it, but subconsciously we have fear attached to our beliefs about ourselves and don’t want them to come up in our life. We avoid these beliefs and will do pretty much everything to cover them up or drive away the feelings instigated by them. We end up creating patterns in our life and start control things our way to avoid the emergence of them. Anger is one such pattern or way of control.
Take some time and reflect on situations that usually trigger your anger. Try to relate them with your limiting beliefs like ‘I am not good enough, I am not heard enough, I don’t fit in’ and so on. You may be surprised to discover that many repetitive circumstances that make you angry are connected to these beliefs! As you become more aware of such patterns, you will be able to do something about it. Ask yourself, “Am I the belief or do I have this belief?” Awareness and willingness are two magical keys to work on your anger. Follow this paradigm when something sets off your anger.
Inflicting our anger on others or suppressing it, both may be harmful. Nonetheless, the good news is that we all have the power within to manage this overpowering emotion.
Here are some of the ways to manage our anger, particularly when it is the result of momentary frustrations or little things every now and then.
- Dropping the judgements and expectations is really powerful.
- Focus on learning and understanding the truth.
- Take a pause to disconnect from your everyday baggage.
- Control what you can, because irrespective of the energy you spend, what you can’t control will still be uncontrollable.
- Accept other people just as you – erroneous. Everyone makes mistakes.
- Align yourself with your loved ones – raise a red flag to avoid getting into the space of anger.
- Observe your anger as a fly on the wall – it’s just an emotion with a separate identity – you are not your anger!
- In the moment of anger, ask yourself, “Who the hell am I to have the right to expect from anyone?”
- Be in a space of love, compassion, and empathy and you will soon start looking at things differently.
Of course, there are many different ways in which we can address our anger. Different things work for different people. For some, practising the pause in the moment of anger works very well. Some people divert their mind by doing something else, or walking away from the situation. Humour is also an often used tool to manage anger. Meditation is a key component to remaining calm and poised. Writing down the angry thoughts or a dialogue with self are some other ways to vent out our anger without hurting anyone else.
Many people believe in the mantra, ‘Never go to sleep in anger’. Several people use the relationship paradigm where they consciously shift from controlling a relationship to owning it. And that shift helps them see newer perspectives and the awareness of being cent percent responsible of one’s relationships. Reflecting, empathising and listening to the unsaid are some other powerful ways to manage anger.
It is significant to have the awareness and power – to separate our emotion of anger from its expression and action taken thereof; recognising that anger is our emotion and not the other person’s and therefore taking its complete ownership without getting into the much loved ‘blame game’.