It’s hard to avoid getting angry. Even those who are relatively easy going find themselves irate from time to time. At the most inopportune moments, anger can rear its ugly head and create all sorts of havoc in our lives. Consider these examples:

You’ve been under extraordinary amounts of stress lately and your daughter is late coming home from a date. As she walks in the door, you blow up at her, screaming that she’s grounded for a month.

You open your latest property tax bill only to find that there’s been a major increase. You call the town and lash out at the receptionist telling her that the government is corrupt and you’re not going to give them any more of your hard earned money.

In a discussion on social media, it becomes apparent that you, a passionate vegan, do not share the same beliefs as a “friend” who loves a good steak on the grill. You get into a heated argument resulting in you calling her a hater and killer, powerful words meant to demean and sting.

Anger is a messenger that alerts us to the fact that what is occurring is wrong, according to our beliefs and standards. Perhaps we are being treated unfairly or we perceive that someone is in danger.

Anger provides for us the opportunity to make any necessary adjustments in order to right an inequity. We can correct that which violates our principles, restore justice to a discriminatory situation, or perhaps redirect the course of an occurrence in order to prevent any harm from befalling us or others. In any event, anger like any other emotion, is not inherently bad or wrong. Every feeling has a purpose and understanding what that is, is critical to knowing how to utilize it in a positive and constructive way. Good anger is beneficial and results in positive changes for all those concerned. It finds solutions, uplifts, protects, corrects, enhances, and enriches lives. Bad anger, on the other hand, makes matters worse for the one with the ire as well as those who are subject to its effects. It can cause physical, emotional and/or psychological pain, intimidate, instill fear, damage relationships, cause the destruction of property, send people to jail, destroy lives, and even kill.

Following few simple steps can ensure that the anger you experience will always be of the good variety.
BA: Bad anger; GA: Good anger

Postpone expressing yourself until you’ve calmed down. We’ve all learned by now that when we are highly emotional we run the risk of saying something offensive or doing something foolish that will only exacerbate matters. Give yourself enough time to calm down, cool off, think about what the real issues are, and the best way to discuss them. (Refer to the SWaT Strategy in The Secret Side of Anger)

Ex: Your neighbor’s children ride their bikes on your lawn even though you’ve asked them several times not to.

BA: You are livid and want to go next door immediately and berate the parents, telling them that their kids are unruly and that if they were good parents they would teach their kids to respect other people’s property. You then want to demand that they pay for the damages done to your lawn and threaten them with a lawsuit if they don’t.

GA: However, by giving yourself time to consider the real issues here, you determine that this is not necessarily an issue of bad parenting. Your real concern is the continued financial burden and time expended correcting the ongoing damage done by the children. The real issues, then, are your time and money. Having clearly identified them, you are now able to discuss those issues only, leaving any volatile comments about your neighbor’s parenting abilities out of the discussion. In this regard, you can hopefully preserve a respectful relationship with them.

State what you’re angry about and why. We think that we have a right, and that it’s best, to verbally express our anger. Some people sincerely try to find an appropriate way of doing so. However, if you look closely, to express anger means to verbally or physically let it out; to actually be angry. Anger typically appears as yelling, cursing, criticism, sarcasm, hitting, throwing things, and/or punching. It can also take a more subtle, passive/aggressive guise such as excluding someone or giving them the silent treatment.

BA: “I can’t believe you broke my favorite lamp! My grandmother gave it to me and it’s irreplaceable. You have no respect for my personal property! I knew I couldn’t trust you! If I broke something of yours you’d be furious!”

GA: “I’m really upset that my antique lamp got broken. It was given to me by my grandmother and can never be replaced.”

In the second example, you explained your anger, you don’t express it nor attack or blame the responsible party. This thwarts the need for the other person to defend themselves against and allows the encounter to remain civil. In this regard, you open the door to finding solutions instead of arguing.

Evaluate for fairness. Ask yourself, “Am I being fair and reasonable in this situation?” Taking a moment and evaluating your circumstances prevents you from making a foolish or possibly deadly error in judgment. It also enables you to evaluate what truly matters. Is this situation really that serious? Is it worthy of your anger? Are you blowing things out of proportion?

BA: “If you don’t eat all of your peas I’m throwing away your bike!” a frustrated mother screams at her six-year old.

GA: Mom re evaluates the situation. “Tommy is a pretty good eater but he really does hate peas. I could give him string beans instead. He’ll eat those will less fuss. As long as he eats some veggies I’m happy.” Problem solved and everyone’s happy.

In taking a moment to reassess our position , we have the opportunity to better know ourselves, to analyze our priorities, to reassess our values. There may be some postures in need of minor adjustments; others that need to be discarded completely. A moment of contemplation can be very enlightening and as a result we evolve to a higher awareness of the self and life in general. On every level, this is a significant benefit.
Separate the issue from the individual, the problem from the person. How many people can consciously separate being angry about an issue rather than with the individual?

BA: “Our family reunion is today. I’ve worked for a year planning this and now it’s raining. I told you not to have it in April, the rainiest month of the year. But, no, you wouldn’t listen to me. You are so selfish and controlling! You ruined the entire day!”

GA: “I can’t believe it – it’s raining and we have sixty people coming over for our annual family reunion. I had a feeling this was going to happen. This is going to be a disaster if we don’t act quickly. We all need to make some phone calls to see if we can rent some tents or a local VFW hall.”

In this instance, even though the couple clearly had different ideas as to when to host such a large gathering, the wife fully understood that even though she disagreed with her husband’s choice of dates, she did concede to his way. Taking responsibility for her decision, anger directed at her spouse would be unjust. In this moment, she was angry over the situation – the fact that her hopes for a sunny day were dashed by precipitation. She did not blame or attack her husband; she attacked the problem not the person.

Contemplate this: the next time you get angry, take your favorite object in your house and smash in on the floor. When you have calmed down, re evaluate your actions. Feel the regret for having damaged something valuable that was not responsible for how you felt. Now, imagine taking your anger out on another and causing them harm. Like the object, they are not liable for your feelings yet they suffered the consequences of your wrath. There is no justification in your actions.

Make matters right. Put forth 100% of your efforts into making matters better. After accurately identifying the issue behind the rage, concentrating on finding a solution, on fixing what is broken or does not work, on correcting an injustice or restoring fairness to a situation. By doing so, you are creating positive change in a negative environment that will benefit all parties.

BA: For a long time, there has been one member at work who does not do their share. You continually pick up the slack for them. “Enough is enough. From now on, I’m going to do the bare minimum, just like my coworker. If they can lax then so can I.”

GA: “I need to address this issue with them and hopefully get it resolved. If that doesn’t work, I’ll bring it to the attention of my supervisor. In any event, I take pride in doing my job well and will continue to do so. However, I will no longer do theirs for them.”

In the second response, you have chosen to use your anger to try and rectify an impropriety. Regardless of the outcome, you do not allow your circumstances to cause you to lower your standards. You resolve to rise above and be pleased with who you are at all times.
No one needs to fear anger nor deny it should it arise. Anger can be beneficial if you understand why it has appeared and what you need to do with it. Keep in mind the following suggestions:

~Postpone expressing yourself until you’ve calmed down.
~State what you’re angry about and why.
~Evaluate for fairness.
~Separate the issue from the individual.
~Make matters right.

Now that you’ve done that, go ahead and get good and angry.

Q: “Speak when you are angry and you will make the best speech you will ever regret.”
― Ambrose Bierce

Order The Secret Side of Anger, Second Edition or The Great Truth @ http://www.pfeifferpowerseminars.com/pps1-products.html

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I’ve been teaching people about anger for nearly twenty five years. What I do is commonly referred to as anger management training. However, this implies that people must first become irate and then seek methods of how to manage it effectively, express it appropriately, and ultimately put it to rest so it does not cause further distress or damage. This makes about as much sense as allowing your house to catch on fire and then taking the necessary steps to extinguish the flames. Firefighters emphasize the importance of fire prevention as a more intelligent approach to fire safety. And while anger is not necessarily a destructive emotion, it can be quite troublesome and on occasion deadly if one does not understand its purpose as well as how to effectively utilize it for constructive purposes. However, the entire process of becoming angry, putting forth a concerted effort to handle it responsibly, and ultimately relinquishing any residual feelings can be a risky, time-consuming, and mentally exhausting process.

Today, more and more people are opting to practice preventative medicine, i.e. incorporating healthy lifestyle strategies that reduce the risk of or prevent medical maladies from occurring rather than treating them after-the-fact. In this same regard, taking a proactive approach with anger through the use of prevention strategies is simply a smarter and safer way of living. Here is the F~B~I way to ward off ire and live free of strife, giving us the opportunity to experience consistent joy and peace instead.

F: Faith in God. Those who have a strong connection to their higher power have been shown to have lower levels of stress and anger. They are less judgmental of others, forgive easier, worry less, and have higher levels of inner peace. They tend to be more optimistic and positive in life, always seeking reasons to give thanks and be joyful. Those with deeply rooted beliefs in God understand that everything that enters our lives has a higher purpose. Life is never about the incident we are experiencing. Perhaps we are to learn an important lesson or the occurrence is meant to redirect the course of our lives or protect us from harm. Maybe God has a specific purpose that we are intended to fulfill and this is part of His Divine Plan. Therefore, those who live in faith aren’t bitter or resentful of that which does not follow their own plans. Nor do we sweat the small stuff for we understand that in reality it’s all small, certainly in relation to God’s power and grace.
Fear, the antithesis of faith, is one of the root causes of anger. Therefore, those who worry about actual incidences, or those they are projecting may occur, increase their levels of being annoyed, upset, or downright irate. By substituting trust in our Lord for worry, one alleviates any chances of anger arising.

B: Believe in the goodness of others. Much of our anger arises from the judgments and labels we put on one another. We observe someone engaging in an act that we find reproachable and we label them as immoral, selfish, idiots, haters, perverts, and so on. The moment we place a label on someone we have formed a powerful thought about them which determines how we feel. (See TECO Magic in The Secret Side of Anger) A derogatory thought will produce intense feelings of disdain, anger, bitterness, distrust, superiority, etc. However, we can ward off these types of feelings simply by believing in the goodness of humanity; by giving the other person the benefit of the doubt before forming an opinion of them. Perhaps they were unaware of what they had done or the serious nature of their offense. We can choose compassion over judgment understanding that no one is here to live up to the expectations of another; that every choice an individual makes is a necessary part of their life’s journey; and that every one of us makes poor decisions from time to time. Each of us are dealing with a host of personal issues that impact our behaviors and choices. Life is difficult and the journey long. Be patient with one another and forgiving at all times and this shift in attitude will prevent anger from manifesting.

I: Inspire. Live an inspired life. The word itself is self-explanatory. Inspired means to reside in spirit; to live as our authentic selves, spirit – beings of light and love. People mistakenly believe that we are physical/human beings with souls. Nothing could be farther from the truth. The reverse is true: we are spiritual beings having a temporary physical experience. When we acknowledge our authentic selves we live as expressions of love. We embrace the divinity within each of our brothers and sisters recognizing our oneness with the Divine Source of all that is good. Love never condemns or criticizes. Love supports and encourages; love is patient and understanding; love is kind and forgiving; love is gentle and humble; love is sacrificial and generous; love is all-inclusive.

When one chooses to live in love there is no room for anger for the two cannot exist simultaneously. One would have to make a conscious decision to relinquish their very nature and live in contradiction of who they are. That action alone leads to indescribable hardship, internal conflict, and despair. All suffering is the direct result of our choice to live deceptive lives. Therefore, the more you live in spirit, inspired lives, the more joy and contentment you will experience.

The F~B~I way to ward off anger is one few will abide by claiming it to be too simplistic or unrealistic. But I can assure you, based on personal experience, that when I follow my own suggestions such as these I find them to be completely attainable and valid. It is only when I relinquish authority to my ego do I cause my own anger and ultimate suffering.

I am passionate about my physical health and proactive in making certain I remain healthy and safe for the duration of my life. Yet my body is only temporary. My soul is eternal. Isn’t it more important that I apply that same passion to my emotional and spiritual well-being? You bet it is! I much prefer to live a life of peace, joy, and contentment. Therefore if I follow these three suggestions – have faith in God, believe in the goodness of humanity, and live an inspired life – then I can live free of anger and all its perils. I invite you to join me for this profound transformation.

“Peace isn’t the absence of fighting; peace is the presence of kindness.” The Secret Side of Anger by Janet Pfeiffer

Order The Secret Side of Anger, Second Edition or The Great Truth @ http://www.pfeifferpowerseminars.com/pps1-products.html

Listen to past shows on iHeart Radio @ http://ow.ly/OADTf
Listen to my newest iHeart Radio show, BETWEEN YOU AND GOD, @ http://ow.ly/OADJK
Follow me on Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Pinterest, Google+

Forgiveness..The Ultimate Freedom

Sometimes in life someone does something that we may feel is unforgivable. We get hurt, angry, resentful, and at times it can be all consuming. More and more though it is being found that these feelings negatively impact our health:
“There is an enormous physical burden to being hurt and disappointed,” says Karen Swartz, M.D., director of the Mood Disorders Adult Consultation Clinic at The Johns Hopkins Hospital. Chronic anger puts you into a fight-or-flight mode, which results in numerous changes in heart rate, blood pressure and immune response. Those changes, then, increase the risk of depression, heart disease and diabetes, among other conditions. Forgiveness, however, calms stress levels, leading to improved health.”

Forgiving can be a real challenge and it is important to remember that when we forgive someone we are not excusing the act but instead are releasing ourselves from it. In other words, we do this for us not for the other person.  One thing I want to mention is that time is a healer. It may be too much to attempt forgiveness until some time has passed. Allow yourself to feel all your feelings related to the incident and act accordingly. If you are angry express it, if you are upset shed your tears, give yourself permission to go through it all.

One thing I have suggested to my clients is to write the person who wronged them a letter. Put everything in that letter that they are feeling and use whatever language makes the most sense to them. Once it’s done set it aside. After a length of time that is appropriate for them I tell them to read it. Should you send it? Should the language be toned down? How do you feel now? Based on the answers to those questions they determine if it should be sent. Sometimes if it is too strong I suggest creating a ceremony where the letter is burned allowing all their anger literally go up in smoke.

Here are a few suggestions that may assist in forgiveness:

  • Decide that you want to forgive. A positive first step.
  • Put yourself in the other person’s shoes. Is there anything that you can think of that may have contributed to the way this person acted? Not justifying it but understanding it
  • Speak your truth about the situation. Talk to someone you can trust and who’s advice you respect. Get another viewpoint.

As you forgive take a look at the relationship. It may be that you can forgive and not have this person in your life any more. If that is not possible or practical being honest with yourself is key. Are you expecting an apology? If you don’t see one coming than accept that and realize this has more to do with them than you. Freedom is key here and to get your wings, forgive and fly!

On Tuesday, March 14th, 7:00 PM Forgiveness will be the topic on The Night Shift.  I invite you to join me.