Appropriate Levels of Anger
July 28, 2007
It is appropriate to feel anger, but pay attention to how it feels. Is it something that you enjoy feeling? Do you like to feel stressed out and aggressive? Most of us don't, so you'll want to calm yourself down before you get overly agitated.
Is it really a big deal?
Every time you start feeling yourself getting upset, make it a habit to ask yourself, "Is this important enough to ruin my day, my hour, or the next few minutes of my life?"
Examples of "not a big deal" are:
Somebody cutting you off in traffic
Spouse forgetting to do the dishes
Somebody else's bad habits or manners
Is this really about you?
When things upset us, we usually have a little voice in our head that tells us "They wanted to hurt me. They wanted to make me mad. They wanted to push my buttons and ruin my day. They're disrespecting me just because they want me to know that they're better than me." Most of the time, this voice is wrong.
People make mistakes. We do stupid stuff. We forget that our actions affect other people. When we get angry, we forget that other people are just as prone to making those mistakes and doing stupid things as we are.
The guy who cut you off in traffic wasn't trying to disrespect you. He was just trying to get from point A to point B as fast as he could. He probably had reasons for being so impatient. Maybe he was on his way to the emergency room. Maybe he was late for an interview for a job he needs to feed his kids. Maybe he is an insecure person who was trying to show off with his speedy driving skills.
When your spouse forgot to do the dishes, he/she was probably distracted, or depressed, or overwhelmed.
When your kids bicker, they're just being kids. They're learning how to interact socially, what limits they can cross and what they can't.
When somebody else has bad habits, they don't realize they're offending you. They probably don't even realize that what they are doing is a bad habit.