I’m standing on the tee box of the first hole of the golf course. I’ve watched the Master’s Tournament and now envision my golf shot landing in the middle of the fairway setting up the perfect second shot; just like the pros. I rotate my hips lifting my arms and storing potential energy, then with all gusto, I release that energy downward striking the ball as hard as I can! Then I watch in disappointment as the ball dribbles just feet in front of the tee box. With anger swelling in my stomach, I try again, this time missing the ball completely. Expletives leave my mouth and my face turns blood red. Anger has mastered me as I slam my club into the ground.
Anger can ruin a golf game. It can also ruin friendships, marriages, and a career. It can take mere moments to ruin an otherwise peaceful life.
Anger is a powerful emotion that can motivate you to protect your family, but can also destroy your family.
So, for the sake of your family, friends, career, and health; choose to take control of anger and embrace peaceful living.
Do you have an anger problem?
Anger expresses itself in many ways. Behaviors like: avoidance, or excluding or ignoring others, or any sort of aggressive or passive-aggressive behavior indicates anger. Here is a brief list of behaviors or thoughts that might indicate an angry mood.
If the statement applies to you, write it down.
I blame others or I’m unwilling to accept responsibility for my mood and behaviors.
I avoid people that might make me angry (family members, co-workers, ex-spouses).
I am Intolerant of other people’s opinions and perspectives.
I refuse to compromise.
I frequently give ultimatums and fully intend to follow through with strict rigidness.
Thought: Admitting that I’m wrong would show weakness.
Thought: I resent the fact that I am always sacrificing for others while they do nothing for me.
Thought: When something goes wrong, it appears I get blamed every time.
Thought: It appears I must do everything myself.
Thought: If it’s not my way then it’s the wrong way.
Curing Anger Step by Step
If any of the above listed indicators apply to you, then you may consider making some changes. Where should you start?
1. Take Responsibility:
The cure for anger starts with an ability to take responsibility for angry behaviors and thoughts. Learning to challenge thoughts and control behavior is essential to curing anger. Take a moment to evaluate a thought that may be connected to the angry feeling. Is it possible that you may be too restrictive or judgmental in your thinking? If so, be willing to accept that others may have a different opinion or perspective. It is okay to listen to another’s point of view without accepting it as Truth. Truth is important, but be willing to hear other perspectives while reserving judgement. Trying to force Truth is not your responsibility. We must also respect that everyone makes mistakes. When circumstances arise, the responsibility falls on us for how we respond to that circumstance. Maintain a calm demeanor, recognize that whatever the situation may be, there is a chance that it has nothing to do with you.
2. Choose Forgiveness:
Forgiveness can be a scary and challenging idea for many. Betrayal, for example, may be a difficult thing to forgive, but forgiveness is as much about the health of the person forgiving as it is about the offender. Choosing to forgive an offense releases the weight of anger that is being harbored. So, how do you forgive? First, a clarification: 1) Forgiveness does not mean reconciliation. Just because forgiveness occurs does not mean that relationship is restored. Restoration requires repentance and an agreement for accountability from the offending party. 2) Forgiveness does not mean that consequences will be removed. If someone stole something, then they will still face the consequences even if there is forgiveness from the victim. 3) Forgiveness does not mean that the event will be forgotten. Forgiveness occurs when the person who has been offended overcomes the resentment towards the offender. Forgiveness is a choice that comes from a motive to release anger and choose peaceful living. In forgiving a person, you recognize and accept the depth of the hurt that was caused; then acknowledge your right to anger and resentment, but choose to offer mercy and grace. Sometimes the person who needs forgiveness is yourself.
3. Live Peacefully:
Choose to live with grace, mercy, and joy. Accept the idea that everyone gets hurt and everyone hurts. Of course, we want to minimize the hurt, so set boundaries and guidelines; but realize that pain and hurt are unavoidable. How you respond to that pain is a choice. Choose to resolve the anger, just as God chose to forgive us through Christ’s suffering. Justice belongs to God.
Is life without anger possible? It is! And I invite you to choose: Continue living under the weight of anger or choose a peaceful life. Don’t let anger hinder relationships, rather, come get the help you need and live free from anger. It is a choice.
Ryan Dunlap, LPC