ANGER MANAGEMENT

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Many people who we see in our practice struggle with anger.   Anger at their spouses, anger at their parents, anger at their children, anger at their partners, anger at their bosses, anger at their friends. They come in feeling very justified in their anger, and seek ways to change the other person so that they can feel less angry.

THE REAL SOURCE OF ANGER

Anger over time turns into chronic resentment, which then affects the dynamics of their relationships, not to mention their overall mood. What most of us do not see is that much of our anger has its source in unfulfilled expectations.

A SET UP FOR PROBLEMS
When we expect our kids to be better behaved, our partners to be less self centered, our bosses to be more appreciative, our parents to be more supportive, or our friends to be more thoughtful, we don’t realize that we are setting ourselves up to be disappointed at best, and downright angry at worst, because they don’t fit our pictures.

ARE YOUR EXPECTATIONS REALISTIC?
We are not saying that these pictures are wrong. We are saying that it is the attachment to having them be met that leads to getting angry and staying stuck there! As you probably already know, this doesn’t feel very good! Sometimes our expectations far exceed the reality about what is possible. Sometimes the child we expect to be better behaved is having a bad day. Sometimes our partners are just not up to the task! Letting go of the attachment to our pictures can give us some relief from our angry feelings.

ACCEPTANCE IS THE KEY
When we are less angry, we can see people more clearly for who they are, and who they may never be. Basically, we can learn to love the good, and not focus as much on the bad. When we can accept the people in our lives exactly as they are, and exactly as they are not, our lives become more satisfying. When we have more acceptance of the way a person is, we can actually practice letting go of our expectations and pictures. If you want less anger in your life, you need to be willing to let go. This is the road to freedom.

What’s Love Got To Do With It?

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We all have said “I love you” to someone at some point in our lives; to a partner, spouse, lover, child, parent, friend. But, how many of us take the time to really look at what we mean when we say those three “magic” words? Is it a feeling we feel, a thought that we think, a concept that occurs in our mind’s eye?

WHAT IS LOVE?

For our relationships to thrive, I believe that “love” needs to be a way of being that occurs in our actions, not just in words or thoughts. We may feel that we love another, but are we being loving when we interact with them? It may be easy to be loving when we are happy or pleased with them, or when they are showing up the way we want them to be. But, when we are angry, upset, disappointed or hurt does our loving behavior fly out the window?

AWARENESS IS THE KEY

Without being aware of what we are saying and how we are acting, we can give ourselves permission to be hurtful, punitive, even downright mean some times. I’m not talking about being Polly Anna who is “nice” or “good” all the time, who says nothing and doesn’t make waves. I’m pointing to becoming aware of the impact our words and actions have on those we love. I’m talking about being willing to find ways of communicating that lead to resolution of a conflict rather than escalation.

THE BOTTOM LINE

Love is not a concept, or a warm fuzzy feeling, love is an action verb. It shows up in how we act toward those we say we love.