Can you remember the last time you felt very angry or you saw someone angry?
Just thinking about the last time I felt angry creates such a strange feeling in my stomach which makes me rather upset.
We see so much anger every day, we are becoming an angry society and we are “losing it” much quicker and often than we used to.
Getting angry seems so much easier nowadays and a common practice: we get angry at the man who jump the queue, a friend who has not called, a pedestrian who is on the phone, a bus driver who does not wait for us, the girlfriend or boyfriend who puts the phone down on us…
If this is you, what I want you to ask yourself is: why are you so angry? What are you angry at? What is in you that triggers the feeling of being angry? Is it really them or is it really you you should be addressing?
Anger is such a powerful emotion which we often give for granted as we think is normal to get angry when things do not go the way we want, when other people do the wrong things or hurt us.
I always challenge my clients to see behind anger and ask what it is really behind this emotion, what being angry protect them from and how does anger serves them every day?
We mostly become angry when we feel unsafe, vulnerable and in danger. Like a scared dog that would bite only because he feels under threat.
Ask yourself: what are you hiding behind that angry feeling, what emotions have you not expressed that are generating so much frustration in your world?
Anger often comes as a consequence of suppressed feelings, emotions or simply unspoken words and most of all from a lack of love and support in people’s life.
We are angry because we feel misunderstood, because we feel unheard, attacked, because shouting is the only way we think people will listen and respect us.
This often originates from our childhood when our parents or carers preferred to tell us to keep quiet, to shut up when we did wrong instead of listening to our side of the story and listen to the reasons behind our misbehaviour. So often from an early age we close ourselves to ourselves, we shut down and we block our emotions inside: the perfect place where anger starts to build up.
This is why it is so important to listen to children’s feelings and emotions, to listen to their side of the story as to avoid a congestion of emotions which will result in anger and frustration later on in their life.
Ok, so the damage is done, now how can I repair it or learn to deal with this burning feeling?
First of all see what is the message behind it, let anger out in a safe place and with trusted people and start realising that anger will only bring more anger into your life and damage you and only you.
I remember one day I was cycling and forgot to put my hand out to indicate I was turning left and this driver got so angry at me, starting beeping, calling me names and he eventually stopped and confronted me.
I could have started shouting back, calling him names and reply to him in the same way but instead I decided to respond in the calmest and most peaceful way. I smiled, apologised, made a little joke and in less than a minute this angry man was laughing with me and actually helped me to pick up my bike which I had fallen in the meantime.
What a shift!
But what has happened here? By responding in a calm way I refused to put any woods in his burning fire and make him experience a different reaction from the one he would usually get from another angry person. By breaking this cycle, I had given him no other option than surrender to an act of calm, peace, kindness and real respect.
So next time you are in the same room with an angry person try to respond with calm and peace, be firm but kind and see what reaction you will get or if is you the one that is angry, stop for a moment and ask yourself what is that you really need in that moment.