Posts Tagged ‘controlling your anger’

Imagine… John believes that he is an easy-going and very pleasant fellow. Then one day, someone cuts him off in traffic and John now yells and screams at the other driver. At the stop light, John pulls up along side of the driver who cut him off and continues yelling at that driver. The other driver ignores John and, when the light turns green, simply drives away, while John sits there in his car… still yelling.

As John drives on and “cools off,” he thinks about what happened and feels a sense of remorse and shame for his actions, yet he also feels justified – because the other driver should not have been so rude and cut him off. The incident will come back to haunt John’s consciousness throughout the day, delivering a variety of feelings at various times. John subconsciously knows his behavior was in error and, eventually, will consciously admit it and vow to “act better” the next time. After all, he is a nice and pleasant person.

The very next day, John is sitting in a restaurant. There is a person standing next to his table speaking loudly on his cell phone. John glares angrily at this intruder and makes a few loud comments about “this rude person on the phone,” until the cell phone talker moves away. A few minutes later, John feels a sense of remorse and shame for acting in such a way, but feels justified – because that person should not have been speaking so loudly. As with the aforementioned driving incident, the cell phone encounter will haunt his consciousness and the anger game plays out the same way – ending in John’s vow to “act better” the next time. After all, John is a nice and pleasant person.

Actually, John is not a nice and pleasant person at all. He just thinks he is. John has an anger issue and a false sense of importance. After an incident occurs where John acts on his anger, he follows up that reaction with self-flagellation and false promises to not act that way again. This is a promise John will be unable to keep.

Why? Because John has created a false self-image of being a nice and pleasant person, when in reality he is not. He may even wonder, from time to time, as to why he gets angry and why he can’t control his anger. But he will never find an answer, because he is merely thinking about it and is not aware of that fact that he really is an angry person. His anger response is a knee-jerk or habitual response, which will continue in other situations – because John is not aware of his false self-image. Should he become aware of his false image, he will discover that his anger comes from within and not from the events on the outside. Should he choose not to become aware, he will repeat the same actions for the rest of his life.

True, the driver and the loud cell phone user were in error, but what about John’s reactions? In either event, an altercation could have happened, which could have escalated in a dangerous or drastic way. For John, these types of minor events will continue, and if John doesn’t change his reactions, he could, in the future, find himself in a very bad situation.

Again, John could “think” about why he is quick to anger, but it will change nothing, because thinking and awareness are two different things. Thinking is the job of the intellect; awareness is the job of spirit – it does nothing but watch and then slowly gives the answer, which is called awakening. 

To diminish his anger, John must first realize that the image he has of himself is false. He need not condemn himself – just accept the fact that he is quick to anger. Then when an angry moment approaches, he should not try to repress the anger, just watch it – as one would watch a bird fly by in the sky overhead. It’s that moment – that millisecond of silence when he is watching his anger go by – without judgment or condemnation – that he becomes aware of his feelings of anger. At that point, he is going beyond controlling anger or even anger management, he is “waking up” to his habitual feelings of anger. A simple recognition of the anger such as, “Wow, that makes me angry,” followed by, “That’s interesting,” delivers awareness. The very next millisecond will be a pause where there is no thought – just awareness.

This action allows John to stand apart from himself – to witness himself. He has created a space between the event and his emotions. Instead of his habitual response to circumstances that typically anger him, John is “waking up” to the fact that he does not have to allow his emotions (anger) to control him; he controls his emotions. John’s recognition of the space between his anger and the event allows for the weakening of the anger, which allows John to eventually break the chain of his past behavior. Most people do things and react to situations habitually, as if they were asleep. When you stop to view why you do the things you do and why you react to situations the way you do – you become “aware” and begin to “wake up.”

Now some might say this is akin to “counting to the number three,” before getting angry – but nothing could be further from the truth. Most people – when counting to three – do so with gritted teeth and a seething count-off. Therefore, they learn nothing about their true self and will continue to get angry over things that happen in their lives. However, by becoming aware of their true self and allowing anger to flow by without judgment or analysis, they open themselves up to a higher power, a spiritual power where their true self and understanding abide – a place of peace. Metaphorically speaking, in lieu of jumping into the raging tides of the ocean (emotions), you sit calmly on the shore (peace).

Should John repeat this “awareness” whenever a negative situation arises, it will deliver to him a new sense of consciousness about his true self – which is never bothered by the trivial actions of others. Eventually, he will notice that what used to make him angry no longer does. In fact, he will laugh at things that used to move him to anger. He will awaken to his true self, and, oddly enough, become the nice and pleasant person he thought he was… but now actually is.

Recognized as a funny motivational speaker who actually has something to say, Bob Garner combines his skills as a corporate entertainer and an empowering speaker who talks on performance and productivity at the meetings and conferences of Fortune 1000 corporations, worldwide.

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©2013 Bob Garner. All Rights Reserved. You may use this article, but you must use the byline and author resource.


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