Anger usually breeds controlling actions that are harmful to others and us, whether it be harsh words, divisive actions, or retaliation. We all too often become obsessed, possessed—and even recessed! It is therefore important to find ways in which to defuse your anger and resentment quickly. In this blog and in Losing Control, Finding Serenity, I offer effective tools and techniques for doing that. One way is by accepting people for who they are and life as it is. (See “Let Go of Control by Accepting “What Is.”)
Another is by acknowledging your part in the anger-provoking occurrence.
No matter how “innocent” I may have felt regarding a disturbing matter, at some point I realized that I had played some part in it.
Here’s a very recent case in point. I entered a tennis tournament in Anaheim, California, about 50 miles from where I live. It was raining at home on the day of my 1 pm scheduled second match, so I called the tournament director at 11 am to see if it was also raining in Anaheim. He said no, the courts were dry, and my match was still scheduled at 1 pm. So I drove down only to find the courts wet, and with no one around.
I was very angry—actually, “fuming” better describes it—that the director hadn’t had the courtesy to call me on my cell phone to tell me that it had started raining after we had spoken earlier. Then, as I was driving home, I thought about what I had been writing about in this very post, and considered whether I had some part in the mishap.
I quickly realized that I had. When the rain continued after I was on the road for 15 minutes or so, I could have called the director again to see if conditions had changed at the courts—which they obviously had—and then simply returned home.
More importantly, once I recognized my part, my anger immediately subsided.
Quite often it is not easy to recognize our role in an anger-provoking occurrence. Our anger prevents us from doing that. It can be even more difficult to own up to it once we do, especially if an apology is warranted.
It takes real self-honesty to admit that you were at least partly responsible—but the rewards are well worth it.
You will be more compassionate and understanding of others. Your own anger and resentment will lessen considerably. And it will help you avoid similar occurrences in the future.
Four Ways to Acknowledge Your Part in It
The next time you find yourself upset by something that you feel was not your doing, try these four tools to help determine what part you may have played in the matter:
*Reflect or meditate on whether you had some role—even a minor one—in the events that led to your anger and resentment. Preferably, do this when the embers have cooled and you are calm—and thus more open-minded.
*If you still can’t recognize your part in the matter, do the same thing again! Sometimes it takes awhile to rein in your ego and recognize your part in what happened. Consider whether you “pushed someone’s buttons.” Remember, too, that it may be something that you didn’t do, such as in the example above.
*Examine your tone of voice, facial expressions and body language. You may not be aware of “signals” you send that cause others to act or react in unkind ways. Your own anxiety may be responsible for much of what happened.
*Remove Your Ego from the Equation. Strong egos prevent us from clearly seeing situations. They cause us to try to justify or diminish our role. To remove ego obstructions, you must have the courage to be humble. True humility will allow you to recognize your own shortcomings.
Please let me know how these tools work for you. Please also share any ways that have been successful for you in acknowledging your role in anger inducing events.
In the meantime, remember to
Let It Go!