In his book, The Power of Now, Eckhart Tolle writes about enlightenment and its natural enemy, the mind. He discusses how he believes that we create and maintain problems because they give us a sense of identity. Maybe this explains why we often hold onto our anger far beyond its ability to serve us. In fact, if you are like me – you replay mistakes and situations over and over again, allowing shame and regret to cloud your thinking.
I once read that “There will never be a time when life is simple. There will always be time to practice accepting that. Every moment is a chance to let go and feel peaceful.” This is my life.
I’ve really been struggling with someone’s anger lately. And, I’ve felt bad and responsible. And, in turn, that’s affected my family and other areas of my life. Know what I mean? So, after a long talk with my kids last night, I went to bed with the question: How can I learn (and show my kids) how to deal with people in our lives who are angry?
Here are my midnight thoughts:
1. Examine Your Own Response to Anger
What’s our first response to anger? We light up like a firecracker, get defensive and allow the anger to invade us. Yet, the best way to deal with someone’s anger is to work on our own anger.
I’ve watched myself get upset when I would get nasty emails or negative treatment from this person. And, it has affected my world. But you know what really bothered me the most? That his anger was controlling me. That seems backwards to me. If I’m going to feel angry, it should be because of something I’m doing – not because of someone else’s anger! Buddha’s most important advice – Look at your own mind first. You are responsible for your emotions. So true.
2. Look at What is Driving the Other Person’s Anger
Anger is an addiction. People who are always angry at someone or multiple things use those feelings to prop themselves up. Sometimes, anger addicts can be nice one minute and lose it the next. It’s a mask for their pain in life.
Generally, anger comes from fear. Angry people have a lot of resentment and discontent in life and they need to blame others for it. It’s how they hid their weaknesses and insecurities. Once we can see the vulnerability beneath the anger, such as hopelessness or lack of power we can stop ourselves from taking it personally and instead find compassion.
So, while I can’t help the person whose anger is being pushed over into our space, we can use is as a learning tool to see anger for what it is and feel compassion for those whom fear and insecurities are overwhelming.
And, even if the angry people in our world never get it … all we can really do is be responsible for own little world. Life’s one big learning curve, right?
Have a great day!