Dealing with Aggression
By David Ferruolo
Sometimes life can be very confusing. We strive to walk a spiritual path, being accepting and forgiving. We smile and send blessings unselfishly to all that cross our path. We meditate and pray, but how do we deal with negative people when their wrath is directed at us?
We are all still human, and we have feelings, and yes, egos. When aggressive, angry people confront us, it is sometimes hard to keep that ego in check. Dealing with someone who is acting out of fear and insecurity can also be very tough. How do we gently thwart an abusive aggressor and still hold true to our beliefs and spirituality? It is a hard road, but I can offer some basic suggestion, which have helped my tremendously over the years.
"Let spirit guide you. Always trust your higher self to guide you to the correct course of action. Listen to your inner voice and discern what your emotions are telling you. Separate ego thoughts of retaliation and defense from those loving, caring emotions of your soul. Remember the ego will always defend by attacking or withdrawing, so we must know and curb our ego and settle into our spiritual higher selves. When we think and act out of love, we will always pick the correct actions.
"Try to See and agree with their point. We sometimes can understand the motives behind peoples actions if we give thought to their situation. Remember there is no right or wrong, there is only different points of view and opinion. So seek to see the other side of the disagreement. If you know the abuse towards you is unwarranted, and you cannot see the truth or motivation behind the situation, just calmly listen to what they have to say. You don't have to agree with them, but do strive to know why they are acting the way they are. Listen intently to what they are saying. You can rebut with something like; "I understand that you are felling a certain way, and that I perhaps did something to provoke these feeling, but I did not intend to cause this situation. That was not my intention and I apologize. I hope that you feel better soon, and if there is something I can do to help, please let me know Simple as that.
"Let them speak, and be truly interested in what they say. The ego is a simple thing to understand. Give it your undivided attention, and it is happy. If you are sincere when listening to others, it satisfies the basic need of attention and they will be less aggressive (most of the time, anyway). Like I said before, sometimes people just want to be heard and noticed. So listen and let them know you see them and are truly interested in their plight, even if the problem is with you. When responding, always use their name in the sentence. This makes them feel important, and may lessen their anger even more. Responses like. "Lisa, I understand what you are saying." Or maybe; "I can see where you are coming from, Lisa." And remember eye contact! Nothing says you are interested in what someone says more than direct eye contact.
"Accept responsibility for your actions. If you actually did do something to create the problem, and the complaint is legitimate, take responsibility for your actions. Apologize. Offer reciprocity or ask them if you can do anything to make them feel better. Most of the time, people just want to be heard and apologized to.
"Do not accept their gift of anger"keep your cool. One of my favorite Buddha stories goes like this: One day a disciple came to the Enlightened One. This student was angry and confronted the Buddha. The Buddha sat quietly in meditation while his student raved on. Finally, the student asked the Buddha if he could hear him and way was he not reacting with anger? The Buddha opened his eyes and politely said; "If I do not accept your gift of anger, does it not still make it your own? By keeping your cool and acting calmly during an angry confrontation, you will not give fuel to the fire. It takes two to tango, so if you do not armor up, the potential confrontation is merely one person venting. When in this situation, remember the other points in this article.
"Defuse their anger... by apologizing and letting them know that you understand that your actions led them to this stress. If someone is about to push you, you can either back away or confront their advances. Confronting their advances only deepens the well of discord and creates a fight, but by intelligently backing off, their aggression is immediately defused. By removing the motivation for their advance, you can defuse the situation before it gets out of hand. When you feel your anger rising in defense of your ego, immediately take a deep breath and find your center. Know that the anger and negativity within your attacker is only a reflection of what is inside of them, and not inside you. You are not the negative things this person says about you. This only makes your abuser a person that needs to be negative out of insecurity and inner fears. Forgive them, for they know not what they do or how to act in accordance with universal law.
"Knowledge is power. Know they really feel they have a reason for their negativity and aggression, but they do not know how to maturely convey the message to you. Thank them for letting you know how they feel. Let them know you appreciate them having the courage to let this matter out. Respond accordingly, but always reply out of love and respect and not retaliation, protection and fear.
The things people say may hurt our feeling, but as spiritual beings we can choose our actions to these negative situations and let it go. Your ego may want to let the person know they hurt you, but this is not the time. After the situation has been defused, you will have the chance at a later date to speak your truth. If the person is someone you whish not to speak with, a letter written from a place of love and compassion is a great tool to honor what you believe.
As we walk a spiritual path, we are not immuned from the negativity of the world, but we can choose to act in accordance with spiritual law. We will always be uplifted when we choose the right action and not retaliate in defense of our egos. The Bible says the meek will inherit the earth. A Course in Miracles expands that thought by saying that the meek will take over the earth with their passive inner strength. So remember these words and the above suggestions the next time you are confronted with aggression and anger. Be passive"take the high road, and let your spirit and inner strength rule the situation.
About The Author
Dave Ferruolo is the Author of "Connecting with the Bliss of Life: Powerful Lessons for Living a Peaceful and Happy Life." He is a former Navy SEAL an inspirational and motivational speaker, success coach, consultant and spiritual counselor. http://www.daveferruolo.com.