Self-Awareness 101 Episode 46: Dealing With Anger
In this episode Willard responds to a viewer’s question about ideas for getting rid of anger where the anger is held internally and affects her overall quality of life. Rather than taking her anger out on others or hurting herself, she knows that holding in this kind of anger affects her mood and her interactions with others.
Today we’re going to answer more viewer’s questions about dealing with anger.
As you may have heard me mention in previous episodes, I am a big believer that everything happens for a reason. And I say that because out of 42 episodes that we have released of Self-Awareness 101, the topic that we seem to get the most questions about is in regard to dealing with anger. And as I have shared in the past, I went through a huge transition from being an angry young man to who I am today. So because of that happening to me, I have got a lot of skills and experience to share in regards to this topic. You could say that I have been at all ends of the spectrum when it comes to ways to deal with anger. I have been the person who responds with rage and punches things or screams at people when it is inappropriate. And I have also been the person who is the calmest in the room when there is a total chaos going on and other people in the room perceive that my getting angry would be more than justified.
That transition didn’t happen by immediately jumping from point A to point B. It has been a process, an evolution that led me to finding more effective ways to respond to situations that I used to react to negatively when dealing with anger.
I received an email recently and I thought it was a phenomenal question. We have a couple of episodes on dealing with anger that we released earlier in the year. There was one called “Living In Gratitude”. Which is how I began learning of options for dealing with anger. And we recently did one called “Dealing With Your Anger” that was in response to a post in the forums where a gentleman had asked about different options for responding to anger rather than lashing out in ways that leave you regretting the way you reacted.
In the email that I just received the other day, I don’t remember if the woman is from Venezuela or Argentina, but she had shared that there is a different type of anger that she deals with. She expressed that she doesn’t lash out at people and she doesn’t do things to hurt herself. But she holds on to the anger inside and she knows that by dealing with anger the way that she does, it affects her mood, it affects the way that she interacts with other people. She knows that holding on to the anger this way doesn’t allow her to be the type of person that she desires to be. And in her email she asked if I had some suggestions for dealing with anger in that kind of situation? To answer her question I am actually going to refer back to a couple of other episodes that we have done, because by applying what I will share today and revisiting those specific episodes it will allow you to see the previous episode in a way that will lead to some new distinctions.
The first video that I would suggest someone look at for dealing with anger is the episode about how we are the ones who choose to attach meaning to things. Meaning that for everything that happens, we are the ones that determine whether it is good or bad, right or wrong. As an example, when another person does something that upsets us, we can choose to make it mean that the person was doing something to us and it was their intention to hurt us. Or we can choose to make it mean that they just were not thinking about how we would feel or they weren’t paying attention. But the reality is that we are the ones that attach the meaning to it. And we often make the choice based on judgments that we have created in the past.
One of the biggest keys for my own growth in respect to dealing with anger wasacceptance. Learning to accept everything that happened as being just the way that it was supposed to be.
I often get into debates when I say that because people defend their right to not accept very traumatic and horrific things that have happened in their lives. They will describe the situation and say, “And you’re saying I’m just supposed to accept this?” And my answer is emphatically “yes“.
Acceptance is the key. We have a choice. When we look at the most horrible things that happen in life we need to remember that there are ripple effects caused by that experience. Some of these effects we see instantly but many times there are things set into motion that we never see unfold. One of the examples that I share is the experience that happened with John Walsh and his son Adam. For people who may not be familiar with him, but he is the person that hosts the television show called America’s Most Wanted. If you are not familiar with John Walsh, his son was kidnapped and killed at a very young age, I believe Adam was not even 10 years old when that happened. And because of that horrific experience, John Walsh made the commitment that he was going to do something to make a difference so other families would not have to suffer the way that his family did.
Because he accepted that he had a choice of what to do with what happened, he has gone on to make a huge difference in a very positive way. Am I saying that John is happy about this experience? I don’t know him personally; I don’t know that he’s fully accepted what happened to his son. Being a father I can‘t imagine how I would react. What I am saying is that he accepted that he had a choice of how to deal with it and he decided that dealing with anger in a constructive way was the best response.
Acceptance. It is a practical solution to dealing with anger but there is also a very spiritual side to it. When we can admit that we don’t know why things happen, but we accept that there is a bigger picture and that everything is happening for a reason, we open ourselves to a level of peace that many people never experience. Most times all we can do is guess at what something means anyway. We rarely have all the information needed to truly know why something is happening. I mean a lot of times if you look around your life, you’ll see completely and total chaos. At least to you, it is chaos.
Let me give you an example. If you imagine that you are standing on top of a skyscraper looking down at the city street, you will see chaos all over the place. You would see cars going in different directions, cutting each other off. You would see people, animals, birds, the wind blowing garbage… everything going in different directions and from your perspective it looks like total chaos. But if you had the ability to zoom in and focus on each one of those individual pieces, you would notice that they all have a purpose. Each individual part of that bigger picture has an intention. They all have a role that they are filling. You can’t see it from the vantage point that you have, but every single one of those parts of chaos have a function that they are fulfilling.
It is the same thing in life. Every experience that you have is designed to lead you somewhere. That is often a huge step for some people to take because of their belief systems. Your belief systems determine everything about how you perceive the world. To further explore belief systems and how to change them you can watch this episode. What I mean is that what you believe determines how you react. If you believe someone is taking their anger out on you, or lashing out at you, you are going to react in a certain way. You are going to react differently if you believe that they are a good person who is just having a bad day.
So what is the best way for dealing with anger? I think there are multiple options. The first thing is that I believe that you need to take care of yourself. Meaning that you need to learn to find your center, to find that place where you are “unshakable.” Some people do this through meditation. Some people do it through physical exercise, understanding how to use their body to change the way that they feel. We talked about how your physiology is connected to your emotions in the episode about non-verbal cues.
What I want to offer to you in this weeks exercise is an invitation to set aside time for yourself every day to focus on taking care of you. A minimum of 15 minutes. If you think your life is too busy and have to start with five then start with five. But I believe that you will be amazed that when you commit to this you will find that you have more time to take care of yourself than you thought. Jerry said as we were prepping for this video that people compress so much into their day, they don’t have five minutes for themselves, they don’t take time for themselves. It create so much tension in your life, you become like a coiled spring waiting to release. So if you want to become better at dealing with anger, choose to take time for yourself where you can focus on letting it go.
There is something that I shared with my mother years ago when she was dealing with panic attacks that I think is very appropriate for dealing with anger. I had her put little pieces of paper all over her house and her car. The paper simply said, “I can choose peace rather than this.” That is a phrase that came from "A Course in Miracles" and that simple reminder made amazing changes in how she dealt with stressful situations. Simply remembering that in any situation, “I can choose peace rather than this.”
So again, take time every day, take 15 minutes to just center yourself. Also make sure to journal. Write out the things that are spinning around in your mind that are causing you turmoil. There are so many different approaches of dealing with anger. I would love to be able to say there is one key skill. Wait… there is! Let it go!
That really is the key. It may sound silly, but that is truly the key to dealing with anger. Let it go. You are the person that is holding it in. Do you need to forgive somebody? Do you need to forgive yourself ? Do you need to just take some time to shift your focus?
There are so many different possibilities on how you can best deal with anger throughout the previous 42 episodes that we have done. I just wanted to give you some new distinctions and refer you to a few to help you as we wrap up this episode.
I look forward to hearing from you about ways that you deal with anger. I look forward to your feedback. And I look forward to connecting soon. Take Care.
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Self-Awareness 101 Series with Transcription Plus
Introduction To Self-Awareness 101: To Inspire, Educate and Empower
SA 101 Episode 1: The Importance of Developing Self-Awareness
SA 101 Episode 2: How to Truly Learn from Mistakes
SA 101 Episode 3: To Soar, I Needed To Let Go Of The Past
SA 101 Episode 4: The Meaning That We Give Things
SA 101 Episode 5: Kind Words And Good Deeds Are Eternal
SA 101 Episode 6: Life Begins At The End Of Your Comfort Zone
SA 101 Episode 7: Two Most Powerful Words You'll Ever Say
SA 101 Episode 8: Making Time For What's Truly Important
SA 101 Episode 9: Expectations and Desires About How It Ought To Be
SA 101 Episode 10: Tap Into The Sources Of The Universe
SA 101 Episode 11: The Four Agreements
SA 101 Episode 12: Courage-Being Scared But Saddling Up Anyways
SA 101 Episode 13: The Power Of Belief Systems
SA 101 Episode 14: Change Is Inevitable, Growth Is Optional
SA 101 Episode 15: You Always Have Choices, It's OK To Say No
SA 101 Episode 16: Encountering External Resistance To Change
SA 101 Episode 17: Creating A Supportive Environment
SA 101 Episode 18: Our Decisions Determine Who We Become
SA 101 Episode 19: Questions To Ask When You Overcome An Obstacle
SA 101 Episode 20: A List Of Excuses Vs. Results
SA 101 Episode 21: The Meaning Of Honesty
SA 101 Episode 22: Living In Gratitude
SA 101 Episode 23: Repetitive Patterns
SA 101 Episode 24: Non-Verbal Cues
SA 101 Episode 25: Be Brave Enough To Accept The Help Of Others
SA 101 Episode 26: Positive Thoughts And Positive Intentions
SA 101 Episode 27: Active Listening Skills
SA 101 Episode 28: How Self-Awareness Relates To Spirituality
SA 101 Episode 29: Positive Affirmations
SA 101 Episode 30: Basic Meditation Exercises
SA 101 Episode 31: Personal Development At Work
SA 101 Episode 32: Toxic Shame
SA 101 Episode 33: Eliminating Clutter
SA 101 Episode 34: How To Forgive Others
SA 101 Episode 35: Self-Forgiveness
SA 101 Episode 36: Deepening Self-Awareness
SA 101 Episode 37: What Is Fear?
SA 101 Episode 38: How To Overcome Fear
SA 101 Episode 39: Dealing With Your Anger
SA 101 Episode 40: How To Find Your Passion
SA 101 Episode 41: Increasing Your Self-Awareness
SA 101 Episode 42: How To Feel Deserving
SA 101 Episode 43: How To Be A Humble Observer
SA 101 Episode 44: Progress Not Perfection
SA 101 Episode 45: Expectations and Perfectionism
SA 101 Episode 46: Dealing With Anger
SA 101 Episode 47: Taking Responsibility For Yourself
SA 101 Episode 48: Achieving Higher Consciousness
SA 101 Episode 49: Trust Life
SA 101 Episode 50: Being Skeptical
SA 101 Episode 51: Benefits Of Closure
SA 101 Episode 52: The Final Episode