Anger scares people. Men especially are frightened of it because they fear they might lose control and hurt someone if they allow themselves to really feel it.
David Hawkins, MD., Phd., the author of Power vs Force, put anger fairly high on the list of his Scale of Consciousness. He says that, so long as it can be given expression and is not repressed, it is good because it spurs into us action. It is a creative emotion.
At the same time, it can cause great damage if not properly controlled and managed. Knowing how to control one’s anger without denying it or suppressing it is, therefore, of paramount importance.
Radical Forgiveness can help.
The best working definition of an emotion is a thought attached to a feeling. Which comes first depends on the type of stimulus, but my guess is that in most cases it is the thought that causes the chemical reactions in the body that we register as the feeling.
The emotion is the result of cause and effect. The thoughts are the cause and the feelings are the effect.
The feelings themselves happen automatically and are beyond our control. What we do have dominion over, however, since they are the cause, are our thoughts.
This means the key to managing our emotions is to consciously monitor what passes through our mind. Then, be open to thinking in ways that will reduce the likelihood of these emotions causing a violent or extreme emotional response like rage, terror or shame.
The most obvious cause of strong feelings bringing out our worst emotional response is victim consciousness.
If we believe we are always the victim in every situation, and other people are responsible for our discomfort and every unpleasant situation that occurs, then anger will almost always be our default response. We will feel justified in feeling this way and become very self-righteous.
If, on the other hand, we are grounded in the Radical Forgiveness philosophy that says we are always accountable for what happens in our lives, and that, in spite of how things appear, nothing wrong or right is happening, then our emotional response will be very different. (Given a little cooling down time perhaps!)
We can avoid going into Victimland by using the 4-step, Emerge-n-See Radical Forgiveness process. The four steps are:
1. Look what I created!
2. I notice my judgments but love myself anyway.
3. I am willing to see the perfection in the situation.
4. I choose peace.
If we can remember to do this, the belief in the Radical Forgiveness idea will come to be part of the mix and will begin to modify our response. Nevertheless if tempers do not cool sufficiently and we are still feeling like victims, we may have to manage the anger that arises in the moment. You do this in four stages.
Stage 1: Recognize the Feeling. Acknowledge to yourself that you are angry. Bear in mind that anger is a secondary emotion and is usually sitting on top of another emotion, such as hurt, sadness, jealousy, fear, resentment, disappointment, etc. Anger is used as a way to cover up the real pain and protect the heart. So, if you are aware, you might be able to identify the emotion under the anger. If not, that’s OK. Just feel what you can feel.
Stage 2: Accept the feeling. Be OK with the feeling and love yourself for having it. You are a human being and it is natural that you feel anger in this moment. Do not judge it. Remember, there is no such thing as a negative emotion. It only becomes negative when you deny, suppress or repress it. Emotions give you feedback about whether you are lowering or raising your vibration, so they all serve a good purpose. They cover a wide range from utter despair to perfect bliss, and we are all given the capacity to feel them all. Who are we to say that any one of them is bad?
Stage 3: Delay the Expression of the Feeling. This may not be necessary. If it is safe to express it in the moment, go ahead and do so. If, on the other hand, it would not be appropriate, delay the expression of it until it is safe to let it go.
Stage 4: Express How You Feel. Find a safe way to get the feelings out of your body by doing something physical, like speaking it out, crying, shouting, beating cushions, chopping wood or any kind of activity. It helps if you have someone with you to be a witness.
So, be OK with anger, but ‘stay cool’ with Radical Forgiveness. It might keep you out of a whole lot of trouble.
Click the arrow above to listen to a two minute sampling of the chapter, “Manage Anger and Other Juicy Emotions” from the audio book, 25 Practical Uses for Radical Forgiveness.