Everybody gets angry, even me. Professionally, I’ve been helping people understand and reduce their anger for twenty years. And in all honesty, I do practice what I preach. I experience far less anger and frustration than I did when I was younger, perhaps some of which is due to age. People often tend to mellow as they get older. They have a different perspective on life. Things that in younger years created great angst no longer hold the same importance. A bad hair day or an unexpected car repair no longer evoke the hysterics of days gone by.
Yet there are a few things that still test my patience: technology, at times, is the bane of my existence. I spend an enormous amount of time on my computer and cannot run my business without it. So when something goes awry, I feel powerless. I must rely on others who are trained to repair what is not working properly. Entrusting a task of this magnitude to a foreign voice on the phone leaves me feeling vulnerable. The very definition of anger is “a feeling of discomfort or displeasure brought about by feelings of helplessness or powerlessness.” Helpless and powerless – it my perception of myself within that situation that causes these feelings to arise. But my perception does not match reality. In fact, I always have power. I am equipped with reasonable intelligence, the ability to collect data, the power to rationalize, and to ultimately make decisions that are in my best interest. Free will: the ability to choose what I think, how I see things, how I feel , and how I respond. Once I remind myself of truth, I can free myself of feeling powerless and angry.
Here are a few tips to reduce the amount and intensity of anger you allow into your life:
1. Remember that you are fully capable in every situation you encounter. Realize that your true personal power lies in your ability to make choices – your free will.
2. Put everything into perspective. I live by the “Ten Year Rule”: will this issue matter in ten years? Will I even remember it a decade from now? If the answer is “no” I let it go.
3. When entering a new venture gather as much information as possible as to how things work, how to protect your property (or yourself) from harm, what to do when something goes wrong (plan ahead), and who to call when assistance is necessary. And always have a Plan B. Plan B’s provide a sense of added security and confidence.
4. Expect the unexpected. Understand that life, by its very nature, is filled with unforeseen surprises. One who is confident within themselves feels fully capable of meeting their new circumstances head on. A good challenge is an excellent opportunity for personal growth.
5. Know that every circumstance we find ourselves in is here for the higher good. Even those that disguise themselves as bad or wrong have the potential to enrich our lives. Seek the value in each and the anger will evaporate into clouds of appreciation instead.
It makes good sense to take reasonable precautions to protect oneself from life’s adversities. But trust that a certain amount will infiltrate your life regardless. Do not live in fear and worry (root causes of anger) of when they will arrive for they will most certainly find their way into your life and try their best to disrupt your peaceful domain. Accept them, address them, resolve them, and bid them a fond farewell. Then pat yourself on the back for a job well done and go buy yourself something new. (Just kidding about the buying stuff part.)