When I think of all the times I let someone infuriate me, it makes me furious. Why did I give anyone the power to upset me so much?
Getting mad is such a colossal waste of time. It saps our energy and our focus. Anger is enervating. It actually makes us angrier. We want to get back and lash out because we think someone has wronged us, lied to us, been unappreciative or ungrateful, selfish or downright mean. We may seek retribution in one form or another.
Sure, counting to 10 helps dissipate anger, but it’s not the best way to make it go away permanently. The best solution is not to get angry in the first place. I’ve learned this bit of wisdom from my youngest sister, who maintains her utmost cool through all kinds of situations and with all kinds of people, no matter how much they might irritate, upset or concern her.
It may seem impossible at times to stay calm and cool, but once you see the affect it has (on yourself and on others), you’ll find it easier to do over and over again.
My Christmas, post Chanukah and New Year’s gift to all of my FOF friends is a smattering of my sister’s teachings about anger management. By, the way, she is one of the most FOF women on the face of the planet. Here goes…
1. When someone curtly dismisses your sales overtures: Calmly tell them how sorry you are that you disturbed them and that you hope you can talk to them about so-and-so soon since you think they would benefit from what you have to say.
2. When someone tries to take advantage of your generosity or good nature, impinge on your private time or ask for something they have no right to ask: Say “NO.” Dispense with the discussions and debates. Just say “NO.”
3. When someone doesn’t do it the way you want, expect or deserve: Repeat your expectations calmly and forcefully without raising your voice.
4. When someone violently disagrees with you or vice versa: Quietly state your position and move on.
5. When someone is getting madder and madder: Stop and say to yourself, “She’s probably getting worked up because she has a problem.” Try to put yourself in someone else’s shoes, instead of working yourself into a fevered pitch.
3 Responses to “A lesson in anger management”
Advising someone to “not get angry” is like telling someone to yank the batteries out of their smoke alarm so they don’t have to hear that annoying noise. Perhaps what you intend is “do not *express* anger by means of blame, criticism or violent behaviours”. Anger is a signal that your needs are not being met, and it’s essential to listen behind the anger in order to recognize the need. (By need, I mean universal values such as consideration, love, purpose, respect, justice etc.) Then you can ask for postitive actions (of yourself or others) in order to meet your needs- maybe not perfectly or right away, but you are taking action, instead of being consumed by your anger. These are not my ideas, but they changed my life.
Read “Nonviolent Communication: A Language of Life” by Dr. Marshall B. Rosenberg, a proven process for transforming anger, shame and guilt into positive, life-serving action.
I agree the last line is a bit of an overstatement. Your point is well taken. I guess it could read: “Just don’t let anger get the best of you.”
Posts that urge people never to get angry is a bit much. I think I know what you mean but a little more than “don’t get angry” would be necessary. Screaming, etc. is always a no-go. But firm, “No way” & acknowledging anger quietly (when appropriate) is better than stuffing it. Truly. Perhaps we’re actually talking of the same thing. But I know some people who need to acknowledge their anger (not to let it fly, for sure)…but “just don’t get angry?” C’mon.