Anger Management Anyone?
A fool gives full vent to his anger – Ancient Proverb
In an increasingly pressure-packed world it’s not surprising that incidents of hostility, anger and resentment abound. Prolonged stress often brings out the worst in us-we become less tolerant and understanding of those around us, less focused on the wants and needs of others, and if you are like me, far more willing to offer a one-finger-wave to those who dare infringe in traffic.
I used to believe my anger was the result of what someone else said or did. However, I’ve come to realize that belief is a lie-the truth is that we each choose to get angry-no one else is to blame for our anger.
Dale Carnegie once said: “You can measure the size of a person by what makes him angry.” In other words, our anger reveals what is inside of us. Our ability or inability to control anger directly correlates to the values by which we choose to live. When our values are externally focused our anger usually is kept well in check. When values are self-focused we’ll easily rationalize being angry at someone or feel justifiable anger when we’re not getting our own way.
Our response to life situations and to the people around us are clear, reliable indications of what is going on inside of us. If we value love, our response toward others will be caring and compassionate, even in difficult situations. If we value gratitude we will be thankful for what we have, rather than being upset because we can’t get what we want. If we value teamwork, we’ll be happy to help the team achieve its objectives even if it means we don’t get our own way.
Dr. Samuel Peeples sums it up beautifully: “The circumstances of life, the events of life, and the people around me in life, do not make me the way I am, but reveal the way I am.”
We each are responsible for our own response in every situation. An angry response is a symptom of something else that is going on inside…something that causes us to abandon deeply held beliefs and values. Often that something is fear. Fear of the unknown. Fear that we won’t get what we want. Fear that we will fail.
Fear causes us to ignore our core values and respond with self-focused, irrational, often offensive behavior. Such behavior isolates us from others, it causes them to steer clear of us and it limits our ability to have positive impact at work, at home or in the community.
Anger management anyone? Don’t play the fool, examine, embrace and live-out the values you know to be good and right and true.