Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Anger - A Normal Human Emotion


As I am sitting down to write my monthly newsletter this evening, I am filled with the black clouds of anger and frustration. Why, you might ask, is this so? Well, without going into detail of what tipped me into this distressing state, just let me say that it had something to do with the people in my life towards whom I generally feel great love. Now, this is by no means the first time I've felt angry and frustrated with one or more of my family members, but it's the first time in a long time since I've allowed these feelings to REALLY get under my skin. You might wonder why I would choose such a moment to write a newsletter and I'd like to provide an answer to this. The reason is simple: Anger is a normal human emotion which we are all capable of feeling whether we are people who are committed to LIVING ON PURPOSE, or not. The defining factor is not the way we feel, but how we choose to deal with the way we feel.

Life, as we all know only too well, does not solely consist of mountain top experiences or of feeling all warm and fuzzy towards people - even those we love, but for each of us carries frustrations, miscommunications, misinterpretations and loads of unfulfilled hopes, dreams and expectations....and tonight it just so happens that I am feeling the full force of all of the above.

So, why do we react to some anger triggers more readily on some days than on others?

The reason for this is that we are more easily tipped into these distressing feelings when we are overtired or especially fragile. This could be due to feelings of unwellness; having just endured a knock to our sense of self; experienced a significant change; or are simply feeling a bit low for whatever reason.

So, how do we best deal with it when this happens?


Well, you could do what I am doing right now...and that is to write about it instead of following your first inclination of ripping off heads or blasting the bejeebes out of the 'offender/s. Writing (for me) is great self-therapy!

If writing doesn't do it for you, choose another self-therapy tool. This could be running around the block, beating the stuffing out of a cushion, trashing your old tennis racked on the nearest tree (ensuring that you are not being observed by a tree preservationist!) or if you live near the beach, finding a deserted stretch and screaming until your throat hurts.

As anger and frustration are energy driven feelings any energetic process will assist in releasing the overload. Once drained of the worst, you'll probably feel exhausted and sad. If so, don't worry about it, it's normal and once this has passed, you will be able to see much more clearly. So, be sure to let enough time pass until you can again see beyond the tip of your nose before you tackle the issue. Be aware that
anger affects your eyes - it makes you short-sighted!

Once you have reached a clearer state of mind, decide whether your anger was justified or simply an overreaction to someone pushing a hot button:

If you decide that your anger was appropriate to the issue
tackle it from a foundation of calm, clear thought and then decide on an appropriate course of action. This may mean having a conversation with the 'offender/s'. It could necessitate letting them know calmly, quietly but in no uncertain terms (assertively!) how their behaviour caused you to feel and why.

If you decide that your anger was an overreaction to a minor event
spend some time considering how you could better deal with such a circumstance next time. Let go of the offense and cleanse your heart in whatever way this may seem appropriate to you. This could be through talking it over with a trusted friend or mentor; it could take the form of a symbolic act such as writing it down and then tearing it up; visualising the toxicity this issue has caused washing away as you take a shower; or letting it 'go' through prayer and meditation.

None of this is easy to do, especially when you are feeling really angry and raw and only want to 'strike out' and hurt those you feel have hurt you. However, if you are committed to LIVING YOUR LIFE ON PURPOSE, it is important to train yourself to
respond rather than react
to offences. So, tonight I am taking my own advice. I'm keeping my mouth shut, am pulling in my tail and will lay low until I can see more clearly before I decide on an appropriate course of action.


A day later, anger cooled, frustration subsided and decision made, let me add a few important DONT'S:

* Don't stew all night over the 'offence' or allow it to take over your every waking moment.
* Don't let what may at this point only be a molehill become a mountain in your mind or heart.
* Don't shove the issue under the carpet because it may seem too inconvenient, too scary or too painful to work through.
* Don't discuss it with people who lack in wisdom and maturity.
* Don't pretend to yourself (or anyone else) it didn't hurt when it clearly did.
Don't deal with the issue in the heat of the moment as you'll only say things you'll later regret.

* Don't allow the offence to remain in your heart because it will only sit there stewing in its toxic juices, merely waiting for the next offence to occur and all the while building more momentum.
Don't allow it to damage your important relationships.

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