Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Anger - Is Appreciation the Answer?

Anger.  Just the word can change your emotions.

How do you deal with anger?  What makes you angry?  How do you get over it?

I am sure I just opened a can of worms a mile deep, but hear me out.  How we deal with anger can tell us a lot about who we are, where we come from and where we will end up.

I was told once that anger is a secondary emotion.  It almost always covers up another emotion we aren't ready to deal with.  For me it can be shame, hurt, embarrassment, betrayal, you get the feeling I am angry a lot?

Being angry is rarely productive.  (I say rarely because I am still hoping my kids will cleans their rooms to avoid me being angry.  It hasn't happened yet, but I am open to the possibility...)  Just because it isn't productive doesn't mean we don't use anger all the time.

I can think of lots of ways I use anger, but mostly it is to express extreme emotion to another person.  How sad is that?  I am a fairly intelligent woman who has lots of skills and talents and I choose to express myself to others through anger.  What is that all about?

I am hoping you have no idea what I am talking about.  I hope you have never solved a problem by raising your voice or stomping your feet.  I am confident you have never called someone a name when you were cut off in traffic.  I am fairly sure you only think nice thoughts about people who hurt you.  In fact you are likely aghast at the very idea of anger.

For those few of you who know what I am talking about I want you to remember there is a better way.  We react the way we were taught to react.  We don't think about it, we just do it.  If you don't like it, stop.

Yeah, I heard that guffaw.  Stopping oncoming anger is a lot like asking a train politely to stop barreling down the tracks.  It needs a ton of forewarning to stop.

Here is a suggestion I have found works for me.  (Don't laugh, I an baring my soul here.) When I see someone who regularly gets on my nerves and I know from experience I will get angry with them I try and see the good.  I repeat in my head things like, 'Bobby does XXX because he is my friend," or "Suzy did this because she likes me."  At first I have to find the small stuff, I mean the really small stuff, but as I become aware of what others are doing for me I find it much harder to be angry.  I also realize how much I need to appreciate them.  It is rather hard to be mad at someone you appreciate.

So there you have it, my two cents on anger.  I think a lot of it comes from a lack of appreciation.  You don't feel appreciated, so you get mad.  The odd part is you probably aren't appreciating the other person either.  So give it a try.  Learn to appreciate others every day.  As you start to think it you will start to verbalize it and you will feel happier.  That person may still be annoying, but chances are you will not be as angry. 

And that is a good thing.

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