Anger is hurt or pain transformed into the readiness to fight. Anger is not the problem. What is? What we need to fight and how.
Being attacked physically? Your survival at risk? Someone you love under attack? Even then fighting is not always the answer. Survival often depends on how fast you can run, on how quickly you can hide, but mostly on how good you are at negotiating a cease-fire.
Negotiating a cease-fire starts with responding appropriately to the hurt or fear that is the beginning of anger.
Think of physical pain. Think of hitting your thumb instead of the nail. When I do that, I curse angrily, then I take care of the injury. The trick of course is that most of the hurts leading to anger are not so easily understood.
Fear of hurt also drives anger, but being afraid is another hurt. and is often hidden by the anger.
The Behaviorists say anger is the interruption of a response sequence. You want to do something, but cannot get it. Painful.
The Cognitive Theorists add the thought that not getting what you want creates un-certainty aka anxiety. Anxiety is pain we try to avoid by casting blame. If we blame ourselves, we are visited with depression and that hurts. When we blame another we hurt less; however, blaming others leads to anger.
Finally, righteous anger is often the most deadly – think religious wars. Such anger stems from the hurt of unfair and injustice another. When I asked my students at Columbia University’s School of Social work to find an anger that was not driven by hurt or fear, most cited righteous anger created by unfair or unjust treatment. Injustice, however, hurts. Seeing others treated unfairly also hurts either by reminding us of the hurts we endured when were victims of injustice, or creating fear we might once again be a victim.
Anger turns to hate when it is held too long in our hearts and brains; letting go of anger is essential if we and the world are to find peace. these tips will help you use anger for a greater good.
EMOTIONAL FITNESS TIPS
Tip one: Recognize and acknowledge your anger. Denying feelings does not work. Some even suggest greeting your anger by name: “Hello anger, I see you are visiting.”
Tip two: As soon as you are aware of anger or hatred in you or another, start self-soothing. Take a Calming Breath, use calming self talk, consciously tense and relax your body, then a make Strong Body and Soft Face.
Tip three: When you feel the power of anger fading, look for the wrong that needs righting. Attend to the hurt; usually that means doing something caring for the angry person including you if the anger is yours.
Tip four: Learn and practice the skill of forgiveness. Add this to your calming self-talk. “I forgive and am forgiven.”
Tip five: Remember what matters. Anger not only destroys your peace, but can destroy the relationships that matter the most to you. One of the keys to staying strong is having a strong support system. Maintaining caring relationships means righting the wrongs, not indulging in useless anger which will come and go if you let it.
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I am in the process of revamping my site and working to add an easy way to sell media. The original EFTI Store is not longer. Lack of funds and as I am financially not able to hire help, I have become the site’s IT (not) expert. Which is leading me and you on a “Wild and Crazy Ride.” Ignore, laugh, or cheer me on.
LINKS OF INTEREST
These links are for those not familiar with Emotional Intelligence or the idea of Emotional Fitness.
Emotional Intelligence (en.wikipedia.org)
The five components of Emotional Intelligence (www.sonoma.edu)
Emotional Fitness Tips for Parents (parentsarepeopletoo.com)
An Emotional Fitness Program for Parents(amazon.com)