Got anger? I hope so.
Oops! Does that sound like sacrilege on the Sow Peace site (the original name of this blog)? It isn’t. Anger is a useful arousal in the body that is instrumental in letting us know when our boundaries have been crossed. In that way, it is a good thing. It’s what you do with that arousal that makes all the difference.
When someone crosses your boundary or pushes your buttons, you will notice–if you are awake. You are then at a choice point.
- What are you going to do with it?
- Are you going to react, respond or generate? (See the blog called ” Are you reactive, responsive or generative? ” )
- Do you know yourself well enough to know what and where your boundaries are?
- Have you thought through communication, conflict management & negotiation strategies to use when that happens?
- Do you have good skills to use?
- Are you willing to look into yourself, or, are you hitting out at the world and everyone in it hoping it and they will change?
Your first task is to answer the questions above in the most honest way you possibly can. If you do not recognize that you are at choice when your buttons get choice, that will be the most important starting point.
Your second task is to examine where, when and how you learned your responses to anger. If it was from home as a child because that’s the way the family handled everything, you have some new strategies to learn. If it was something that cropped up after experiencing abuse repeatedly, that is a separate issue that needs specific attention.
If the strategies you are using are keeping you feeling healthy, living without regret while maintaining loving supportive relationships, you’re likely in good shape. If not, go to task three.
Your third task is to take out the mirror and have a good look. If anger is getting in the way of giving or receiving love, you are short-changing yourself. You are likely pushing it away just as it gets close. You burn bridges by fanning the flames. You can torch a relationship in a heartbeat.
I know you’ve heard me say this before but it is, and always will be true:
“If you’re still yelling at the driver in front of you, world peace is a ways off.”
And, I add to that:
“If all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.” ~ Bernard Baruch
Freely translated, if you do not do the work to change your inner landscape, you’ll think your anger is everyone else’s problem!
Sowing peace requires the willingness to give up shame, blame, judgment and justifying your own behavior. Other people don’t make you angry. You choose anger as a response to what you experience!