I woke up this morning wondering how one starts an article on anger. I knew the why but I was stuck on the how at least until I got thinking about our late dog Cursha. Cursha was a great black lab, friendly, loving and very faithful. She and I used to play Frisbee all the time and she was an amazing catcher and then my job was to wrestle the Frisbee out of her mouth. Since both of us were ultra competitive it was always a battle but in the end I often won. One day, quite by accident, Cursha bit me when trying to re-grip on the Frisbee. Without thought I took the Frisbee and smacked her hard across the head. I am not proud but I was angry and I acted on my raw instinct. I knew I hurt Cursha but I quickly reasoned it was OK, this wasn’t personal, she bit me and it really hurt! Within seconds I realized my mistake and I tried hugging and kissing her to tell my best friend how sorry I was but it was too late. Cursha never played Frisbee with me again. I have always regretted that I let anger get the best of me that day and live with regret that I never did play Frisbee with Cursha again.
Interestingly enough when people get angry they take it out on those who care the most about them and whom they themselves care the most about. You know that lucky inner circle called family, lovers and friends who get to see the real deal behind your walls. I think of all the kids who grow up with no self esteem or belief in themselves because their Mom or Dad lived angry lives. The parents weren’t angry at their kids yet anger showed in how they communicated their love. The reality is, no matter what you say anger is always personal whether you intend it to be or not. It’s like giving freely of your love but telling everyone not to accept it because it’s not really for them.
I am very lucky that I seldom get angry but when I do I become irrational, hurtful and vengeful because anger is a powerful emotion and it can and will blind us all.
Job loss can trigger anger because of the stress it creates in our world. One can stress about the unfairness, finances, self worth, loss of purpose, or the almost instant dysfunction one can feel in their personal relationships. Through meeting with hundreds of executives in career transition I can tell you anger can quickly seep into the fabric of our being and once there it is a bugger to get rid of and can do “unintentional” lasting damage.
While I don’t pretend to be the expert on anger I do have an opinion I believe worthy of sharing. First off, consider anger a passion emotion gone totally awry. Much like love is the ultimate pleasure emotion; anger is the ultimate and most destructive one. Both are brought out by a passionate feeling deep inside. I believe managing anger is a personal responsibility, so never ever ask others to be accepting of yours. Part of the solution in my mind is making a simple decision to never let anger get the best of you. Admit anger is wrong and can never be tolerated again in your world. Making that unwavering commitment is like a building a muscle and it will grow over time as you continue to find positive ways to manage your feelings. Much like the alcoholic there is no middle of the road alternative because once you give it a reason to be, it will take control. Consider walking, running, or any high activity pleasure because this will release endorphins that break anger down. Take time every day to find peace and love because these things will always sooth your soul. One thing I have noticed is angry people have little time to relax and find joy.
If you experience anger more than a few times a month (and I am being generous here) then let me be really clear, you have a serious anger problem that needs to be fixed. Take responsibility for your emotions; seek help (including professional) before you damage your own human spirit and those who have come love you. I do believe that even taking a simple breath or shifting thoughts is one of the best remedies to ever be found.
Anger can strike much like lightening whereby pent up energy builds and it needs to be released. Anger often manifests because of a personal conflict in dealing with reality. I would love to say life is easy and without bumps but it never is and never will be. What can and always will help us is the way we manage what we do in angry times. I am a big believer in always asking about the positive intent in every one of life’s little setbacks. So what if you started to believe that every thing happens for a positive reason? If people are driving you crazy, ask what is the positive intent that they are trying to accomplish. If you truly can’t find one, then you know what you should be doing with those people in your life. What is the positive reason you haven’t found work? Is life telling you it’s time to shift or you need to do more?
Remember anger is also an ugly deceiver and it wants you to see all the ugly there is. Since your view of the world is filtered through your emotions anger can and will give you a false and de-habilitating feedback of who you are and what others mean to you. Anger will often tell you that there is only one thing you are mad at, yet when you solve that, anger instantly pops up in another place and time. So anger is seldom about something in the here and now. What anger is doing is telling you that there is significant inner turmoil that needs to be resolved. Anger will also try to convince you that it’s a part of your DNA and you are simply wired to get angry. However, in all my research I have found nothing in our genes, our drinking water or the food we eat that says we need to be angry people, so simply make a die hard commitment to saying an angry existence is wrong and it has never solved anything.
There is hope though because with practice and commitment all of us can train ourselves with strategies to ride through our most angry times and learn to shine. We need to surround ourselves with positive energy, we need to ask ourselves if this emotion is really worth feeling or is it better to simply let it go. It may sound cliché but don’t get sucked in to sweating the small stuff!
Sometimes it would seem people get angry just for the sake of being angry. One friend I knew was angry because they were never left alone, then one day they were alone and they immediately got angry because no one was there. I still shake my head and wonder why.
A great friend often reminds me that the key is you must always speak your future. If you think and talk in anger, then ugliness and darkness will prevail. Conversely if you throw out positive vibes to the universe they are echoed and magnified on their return.
This month I want you to take a serious check on your anger and ask what it’s doing to your spirit, and to those who mean the most to you. Then I want you to rise to the occasion, get the help that you need, and take back what is yours, a peaceful, comfortable and happy existence. You deserve it; those who love you deserve it and its time to make inner happiness a part of your reality!
P.S. I am a believer you should never live with regret and anger makes us regret what we have done.