How do you react when something makes you extremely angry? How do you control your emotions from getting the best of you? Not easy to stay calm is it? It requires a lot of effort to do so!
In moments of anger a mix of emotions flood our soul. Feelings of resentment, confusion, injustice, sadness, and many more that come with anger. And though these feelings are screaming at us to do something about the situation that made us angry, something inside us tells us to let it go and stay calm.
And oh how difficult it is to let go of some situations! I’m not saying that we can’t face the problem that made us angry, but it’s how we face the problem that shows the true person we are. When we act out in anger and lash out against people, we lose control of the goodness in us. We allow the situation and our emotions to be in control of our minds. We lash out at people and decide to hurt them back.
A look at the past
Growing up I can now see I really was an angry child, teen, and adult. I had no self-control for my emotions when something was said or done against me or those I love. I acted upon what I was feeling with anger. I was not afraid to face anyone nor ‘put them in their place.’ In moments where I was fuming, my mouth ran itself with the cruelest words that I could think of, sometimes in my thoughts and sometimes spoken.
It wasn’t until a few years back I realized I was letting my emotions dominate my actions. Not only with anger, but with other emotions like sadness. I allowed my emotions to drive me to insanity at times, to the point I was damaging my relationship with others and myself. I needed change! I wanted to be a person who had peace and could react calmly when something made me angry.
It took a long time to start making those changes. In fact, I still see myself trying to react with my emotions instead of thinking first. It’s still a learning process. There are times I still react in anger when something stirs up inside of me. I’m not perfect, as none of us are, and there will be times when we will lose control of a situation with the actions we take when our emotions are not in check. Just recently I lost control to a situation that occurred where I confronted someone in anger after someone I love was accused of things that were lies. It had been a really long time since I had an angry argument (to this level) with someone. I had allowed my emotions to dominate my actions.
Instead, I knew the right thing would have been to express myself in a calm way. I knew the right thing was to settle the problem without saying things that I’d later regret. But since I can’t turn back time, there is no point in thinking about the ‘should have’s’ of the situation. Instead, I reflected on how I can stay calm next time something makes me as angry as I felt during this situation. I came up with some questions that are important to ask ourselves when we are about to act upon on our feelings of anger.
Our goal should be to always keep improving. Every time we are stuck in a situation and we feel we are about to lose control we need to ask ourselves a few questions before acting upon our emotions.
Questions to ask yourself before reacting to anger: Control your anger
1. Is it worth it?
Will confronting them change it? Is this situation worth the stress and the loss of peace?
2. Am I hurting someone?
Will the words you say hurt their feelings? Will you be paying them back for what they made you feel? Is it worth it to act like them?
3. What will I lose?
Will your relationship with the person be lost? Will you lose your kindness?
4. How will this change everything? What will it cause?
Will reacting a certain way change your relationship with this person? Will it cause an even bigger problem and extend itself to others?
5. Is acting this certain way who I am as a person?
Is this who you want to be known as? A person with no control? A person with unkind words and actions? Will your reactions be immature?
6. Does my Spirit approve of this behavior?
Will you feel bad afterwards? Will you regret it? Do you know what you are about to say is wrong?
These questions do not flash in front of us at the moment we most need it. Instead, we have to be intentionally take some time first to breathe, then to meditate on the problem that made us angry. Asking ourselves questions of how our reactions can have a negative effect will be the best action we can take.
I look back at the years where I grew up an angry person who fought with the whole world and I now realize how unfortunate it was that I lost many friendships because of my immaturity. Yes, some people hurt me, but most of the time these things that make us angry, were just misunderstandings. This is why it is so important to think before acting.
It’s okay to feel angry, what’s not okay is how we act. We end up making everything bigger and worse. After we ask ourselves the above questions, it is then we should face the situation with love. It’s hard. It feels almost impossible, but it really is possible.
Don’t let your feelings of anger control your actions. And I say this to myself also.
What are your experiences with anger? How do you react? How do you control your anger? Do share with me! I’d love to see know your perspective on anger.