Taming Your Anger
Ever experienced the white-hot flame of anger surging up over some hurtful disrespecting remarks made by someone close to you? How about hurling back equally poisonous and stinging insults that cut deep through their heart in your fit of anger?
And what happened when the rage of madness subsides? Those urge of retaliation, just evaporated, leaving trails of guilt, shame, a hollow feeling of sadness, and probably a broken friendship beyond repair.
Giving in to anger is giving up control
Anger is just like the eruption of the volcano itself, often uncontrollable once unleashed, leaving trails of destruction to families, spouses, friends, and acquaintance alike.
What causes us to change from peaceful and rational to be consumed by anger in such a short moment? If we are to trace the trail of our thought, it often leads to the one small word that is too big for our own good: EGO.
We humans don’t take it kindly when someone trampled our ego. We need to feel accepted, agreed with and have our ego constantly stroked. A direct hit on our ego is sure to rouse the familiar flame of anger in us despite the teaching that we should accept the criticism, to reflect our flaws and to improvise from that.
We are told to learn even from those who showed disrespect to us, as they are the examples of who we should not be. Of course, it is easier said than done. For the average person, it takes just a tiny fooling around with their bloated self-pride to get them agitated.
Suppressing anger only delays the impending explosion
When we let anger took control of us, we are giving up control of our dignity, our rational mind and we are stepping down to a level of lower intelligence, where our speech and action often caused irreversible damage to the situation. Most of us realized the importance to manage our anger, for the guilt that besets us aftermath is too heavy to bear and the price to pay for letting slip of control is too high to pay.
We would try to suppress our anger, just like putting a lid on a boiling kettle. It does work initially, but some may find that the pent-up emotion accumulates and starts turning into resentment or other negative thoughts the affects us gradually.
What really happens here is we are just suppressing the anger energy instead of managing it without any residual effect. And as more frustration builds up under the lid, it is only time when we are being pushed over the edge again, only this time, the outburst will be greater and so does the collateral damage.
If suppression doesn’t work, then what does?
I wish I could share a way that could totally remove anger from our system. Well, I do not know of such a way, and maybe as long as we are alive as a human being, anger will be a part of us. What I can share is a guided step, that through practice, can reduce the chances of outbursts, and yet it doesn’t cause any pent-up feeling of frustration or hatred within us.
Here’s what works for me (It takes practice, and it takes a longer time than you thought to master it):
1.Be Aware Of Your Emotion – when anger surges. There is often a small time window before our emotion takes full control and we started shouting words we are bound to regret. Identify and familiarise the change in your mental state when anger starts to build. This definitely takes some constant mindfulness practice to develop.
2. Suppression – But only for a moment. We are suppressing our anger to prevent any untoward speech and action that we will live to regret. But we are not doing this for long, as we are preparing to move into the next stage.
3. Turn our mind inward – We have noted that we are getting angry, and we have managed to put a lid on the boiling rage. Now we will disengage and turn our mind inwards. Focussing on the “Why” now would not lead us to any peace of mind. Focus on the feeling of anger itself instead of being angry. Observe how it stretch and twist our mind, how it burn our heart. Even be slightly fascinated with it, as if we are learning something valuable from us.
As the rage subsides
Anger, like other emotion, does not stay for long, unless we fed it with energy. Which is why turning our mind inward is the key point in letting the anger fades. When the rational part of us regained control, then it is time to ask the “Why”.
Seeking the reason for our anger now will often reveal interesting and unexpected answers. And it often amazes me that in the end, it has little or nothing to do with others but everything to do with our insecurities, ego, self-pride, assumptions, and expectation. And when we are to able to see this clearly, then our self-improvement can truly start.
What have your bouts of anger cost you?