Wednesday, 22 January 2014

My thoughts on Anger.

Some say that it is never appropriate to get angry. I think that in some cases it is necessary. When vulnerable members of our society are abused, such as children, the disabled and the elderly, I believe that the anger you feel as a result, motivates you to do something about it. It is how you go about channeling that anger that will determine whether you have a positive outcome or not. When you lose self-control, people lose respect for you and may even ridicule you. I taught children for many years and can attest to that. When you get angry in front of  individuals that purposely try to press your buttons, it gives them the power.

I grew up in a family where several of us had a bad temper. I had the type where I would keep hurts and resentments in, nurse them, and obsess about them until I could no longer take it. Typically, I would blow up about something relatively minor,where I ended up looking like a crazy person. Unresolved anger can eventually turn into rage.

Although I was a very petite and female, I have had people actually complain that they were afraid of me. I didn't even have to say anything, "the look" said it all. One example occurred when I was in my early 20's while I worked at a fast food outlet. I was feeling stressed because we were often busy and short-staffed. It was my job to tell the younger staff what the customer orders were while I manned the till. This was usually an evening shift (6 pm- 2 am.) and I worked up to 5 times a week. I was also attending university full time. Due to time pressures and the lack of experience, my teenage co-workers constantly made mistakes. Eventually, I would lose my patience and my response was not very nice, to say the least. I should not have been surprised when one of them bolted, crying, to seek safety with the management.

Obviously I had anger issues, but I didn't acknowledge it at the time. My childhood experiences had much to do with the underlying source of my inability to manage my anger. That is another story. Unfortunately, my problems with getting along with certain people continued into adulthood, to the point where I was happiest being self-employed. I had limited exposure to customers, as I worked under contract for a business that took care of that. At some point I got tired of hiding out in my basement and took another crack at outside employment. I had trouble keeping jobs because I spoke my mind to co-workers and bosses. I thought I should be treated with more respect because I was older and a former teacher. I discovered that that didn't count for much anymore.

To heal myself from excessive anger, that I mostly stuffed deep inside and the destructive behaviors that resulted, I had to let go of the past, forgive those that wronged me and also forgive myself for my actions. It finally dawned on me that the people that annoyed me the most were not going to change. What I could do was to change my attitude. I had read self-help books by
the dozen which gave me some pointers, but I found it difficult to apply these to my day to day life. In desperation, I turned to God in prayer so that I would not get fired from yet another job. I sought out a church that could offer me support. Studying the teachings of Jesus Christ helped bring me a sense of peace and the realization that we are all a work in progress. Anger is a natural response, but it is best to find ways to get it out of your system without hurting others, damaging relationships or turning yourself into a bitter, volatile person that no one wants to be around. Anger is manageable!

Some of you may be of a different faiths, do meditation and yoga, workout to get rid of stress and anger in other positive ways. In this blog I share what solutions have worked for me. If you have any comments or suggestions about how to deal with anger, I welcome your input!