While conducting research for today's show, I found fourteen of the most common reasons people get angry. Keep in mind, these are only the triggers. Outside circumstances are never the actual cause. There are three root causes - hurt, fear, and frustration - that prompt anger in us. Let's examine some of the most frequent experiences that elicit an angry response and what steps we need to take to combat each.
- Rudeness: When others treat us disrespectfully, the message they are sending is that we are unimportant or less important than they are. We feel devalued; our feelings, needs, or input are not considered notable. Keep in mind that our worth is not defined by another's opinion of us. Their inability to appreciate us as we are reveals their flaws, not ours. Choose understanding of their weaknesses over hurt.
- Injustices: (perpetrated against us, another person, or any living entity) Natural human response seeks fairness for all living creatures. A lack of justice creates a sense of imbalance and disrupts the natural order of things. Consider this: life is rarely fair by our standards. Choose to seek to understand what is happening, why, how it can be corrected or used for the good of all.
- Being teased, bullied or treated unkindly: Anytime a person is being treated in an unkind manner, the message received is that they are not held in high regard by the offending party. People often try to exert power over the other person through acts of aggression and manipulation (the need to control is rooted in fear). Those who are truly confident within themselves are not intimidated by mean-spirited people. Choose confidence over fear, don't take personal offense, and rise above the incident. Be the example of true strength.
- Stress: (deadlines at work, traffic, family responsibilities, etc.)Stress is the result of trying to do too much in too short a period of time or without the proper training or materials. Keep in mind, that stress is created by the mind due to the unrealistic demands we place upon ourselves or others. Re evaluate your situation and remember to be reasonable in what you expect and do. Replace demands with sensibility and balance.
- Disappointments: (being let down by others, broken promises, betrayals, loss of trust, unmet expectations, could also include poorly made products and services, overly priced items, corporate or political greed). It is humanly impossible for anyone to be 100% trustworthy. Sometimes a broken promise is unavoidable, other times deliberate. Regardless, being prepared for disappointments by having a plan B enables us to continue to move forward in life. Replace resentment with understanding that not everything is meant to turn out the way we anticipated and that we have the ability to make every unexpected circumstance work in our favor.
- Failure: (inability to complete a task or reach a desired goal as planned) Many people judge themselves by how successful they are. Keep in mind, that failure is only a matter of perception. I may not complete the full marathon but running 17 of the 24.6 miles has a certain element of success to it. Choose to see mistakes and obstacles as stepping stones to greater accomplishments rather than berating yourself. Find the value in every experience.
- Family issues: (acquiring new family members, in-laws, new baby, adjusting to marriage, purchasing a house, infidelity, career change, relocating, serious health issues, caring for elderly parents, blended families) Families can be our greatest resources or the greatest source of tension in our lives. Expectations for family members and our relationships are typically higher that for others. Choose acceptance as a way of loving and valuing each person. Prioritize each new circumstance and only address those of the highest importance. Let go of the others.
- Financial issues: (too much money or not enough - leads to worry and anxiety) Put money into its proper perspective. Sadly, we equate success in life with how much money a person earns. The two are not even remotely connected. We place far too much importance on acquiring it, holding on to it, and how it is allocated . Money's only value is when it is used it for the benefit of our entire planet. Replace the need for greed with appreciation for what you currently have. If money is lacking, remember to be grateful for that you have and trust the God will provide all of your needs (not desires).
- Feeling coerced: (pressured into doing something you don't want to do or into being someone other than who you are) Families, churches, friends, business associates, and society in general pressure us to be what they deem acceptable. Build your self-confidence and self-love enough to be faithful to who you really are. Live an authentic life rather than one of lies and deceptions. Set boundaries and choose self-love over the need to fit in. Gently release those you do not support you.
- Feeling unsafe: (threatened either physically, emotionally, financially; having your values or rights challenged or taken away from you; a threat to your livelihood) Being safe is a God-given right of every human being. Those who truly care about us provide an atmosphere of safety and concern. Remove yourself from any perceived threat if possible. Speak up to those who are alarming you. Fear, a root cause of anger, reflects a lack of trust in one's ability to handle whatever situation they are in. Build your self-confidence; trust in your abilities and have faith in God. There is nothing to fear. You are fully capable.
- Being tired, hungry: The need for rest, sleep or food are basic needs for survival. Unmet needs lead to anger. Remember that it is the individual's responsibility to satisfy their own needs. Choose action over dependence on others to provide for you. Speak up and get up: do what you must to be content.
- Pain: (emotional or physical) Pain lowers one's tolerance level and magnifies that which we are normally able to endure. In addition to addressing those issues causing the pain, we must remember not to impose our suffering on others. Choose consideration of others as important as caring for ourselves. Be equally as thoughtful and sensitive.
- Being humiliated or embarrassed. No one has the ability to embarrass us. Regardless of what someone says or does, low self-esteem concerns itself with how one is being perceived by others. When we are confident within ourselves other's opinions no longer impact us. Choose to forgive the other person for their insensitive or rude behaviors for their actions are a reflection of who they are, not you.
- Grief: The loss of someone we love, our health, a lifestyle we've become accustomed to, and many others losses can propel us into the grieving process. Oftentimes, we feel misunderstood in our suffering, or pressured to move beyond it before we feel ready. This can cause us to lash out at those who we believe are unsympathetic to our situation. Choose to dialogue with those you are closest to in an attempt to enlighten them as to your situation. For those who seem uninterested or unable to understand, acceptance of where they are in life thwarts any additional pain and affords you peace of mind.
Anger is a normal useful, and even healthy emotion that has the potential to initiate positive change. By recognizing our triggers, we are better able to either avoid them or know in advance the best way to respond. In each situation, evaluate whether or not the incident is even worthy of getting angry. With these few simple suggestions, anyone can dramatically reduce their anger and choose happiness and peace as a way of life.
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