Well this past Wednesday, Americans woke up to a shocking development in the course of our nation’s politics. Donald Trump is president-elect. Many are feeling happy but many are feeling angry. How do we handle anger?
On This Episode:
As I’m recording this, there are angry protests regarding the election.
First, this is a political podcast so if you’re new, don’t turn it off. In fact, regarding the protests, I think it is awesome that we live in a country that allows the freedom to do so, in a respectful, nondestructive manner. Personally, I don’t understand what they accomplish other than awareness of a concern or issue but I’m not one to do marches but I respect the expression allowed by our constitution. Go America!
What is Anger? (for those of you who know me, I like digging into the meaning of words).
Anger is an emotion characterized by hostile opposition toward someone or something you feel has deliberately done you wrong. It is an emotion and if you’ve listened for a while, you know that emotions are not right or wrong. They just are.
It is how you handle that emotion that is at issue. If someone cuts me off in traffic, the anger wells up inside as a natural response. So at that point, I have three response choices. I could speed up on the guys bumper, honk the horn flash my lights and maybe give the finger! That’d be the negative response. I can tell you that often, a negative response does more damage to who? YOU! You get riled up in your emotions and your attitude and mindset just tanks. You also create patterns of negativity in your psyche with affect you emotionally, spiritually and physically.
Or, I could choose not to respond at all – a neutral response. You let the guy go by and don’t think about him or what he did at all. Not a bad option.
But the third response is a positive response. You pray for the guy (or if you’re not spiritual that way, you wish him well). Maybe his life sucks and he’s distracted. Maybe he is rushing for an important meeting that could affect hundreds of people. I don’t know. But the opposite of the negative response, this response creates a positive feeling of well-being within you. It creates patterns of a positive psyche and you feel better about what you did, but more importantly, who you are.
In Episode 4, I talked about the formula e+r=o. Event plus my Response equals the Outcome of how I perceive the Event.
For example, when the bible says, “Do not let the sun go down on your anger.” That does not mean completely fixing an argument with your spouse, let’s say before you go to bed.
Realistically, you get more and more tired and you end up giving up.
What that really means is do not let the sun go down before you decide how you are going to handle your anger. positively, neutral or negatively.
And you HAVE to deal with your anger!
Anger is only one letter from Danger.
The bible also says uncontrolled anger is a sin. I didn’t say uncontrollable – all anger is controllable.
Here’s an example. There’s a great scene in the original Pixar movie The Incredibles where the family is arguing at the dinner table and someone rings the doorbell. Immediately, they control themselves.
How you talk to yourself also helps in responding to your anger.
A man was walking through a supermarket with a screaming baby in the shopping cart. A woman nearby noticed that time and again the man would calmly say: “Keep calm, Albert. Keep calm, Albert.”
Finally, in admiration for the man’s patience as the child continued to wail, the woman walked up to him and said: “Sir, I must commend you for your patience with baby Albert.”
To which the man replied, “Ma’am, I am Albert!”
Normally, we think of anger as bad. Again, it’s how you respond to it that counts, but anger can also be a good thing. It can be a motivator. It’s what I call the pop-eye effect, “That’s all I can stand I can stands no more!”
A truth is that people change because they want to or because they have to. Anger can motivate you to change. I was coaching someone struggling with their weight and this person got to a point of saying, I’m so uncomfortable I’ve got to change! she was angry.
So next time anger seems to pop up, pause and chose your response carefully, knowing that a negative response has negative effects and positive response has positive effects, not just in you, but in people around you.