After stopping smoking I no longer know how to deal with my anger - what can I do?
The questioner's philosophy
There is a difference between managing your anger and outgrowing your anger. You manage your anger by techniques that buy time so that your angry reactions to life events have a chance to subside and you return to a degree of calmness - until the next time! You outgrow your anger by getting to the root of what causes anger, feeling that deep hurt, changing your consciousness to see the unity of life in every situation and in doing so find perfect unruffled peace within.
In your situation both of these approaches are necessary. You need to manage your anger when it occurs so that you do not cause harm with your explosive words and emotions to yourself and to the people to whom you are relating, and you need to explore the depths of your anger in private, or in a suitable therapeutic setting, so that you can go beyond it.
Managing Your Anger
You already know about counting slowly to 10 and breathing deeply when you are overcome with angry feelings. This is, in my opinion, a good short term measure for calming the angry storm.
Another technique you could use is the following. Whenever you are confronted with a situation that causes you to choose to feel angry, remember to not take yourself so seriously and to look for the funny side of the situation - a technique I call "Reach for the Ridiculous". For example if someone cuts in front of you to get that only spare parking spot, when you feel yourself becoming angry, see how ridiculous the situation is - here you are waiting for 10 minutes to get parked and when a space opens up someone else grabs it - how absurd is that! Ha Ha! Cultivate the habit of "Reaching for the Ridiculous" every time you feel the anger build - remember situations you are involved in can be crazy sometimes and that's all part of the wonderful mix we call life!
Healing Your Anger
Managing your anger is short term, temporary and necessary. Healing your anger is long term, permanent and profound and leads to a transformation in your ability to enjoy life and fulfill your potential. I would certainly recommend this path to anyone who aspires to be a wife and mother and live happily ever after!
At its root, anger is a symptom of our carrying a deep hurt or wound that has never healed. This wound causes us to be mistrustful of life, to fear circumstances as they develop and to attempt to control the detail of life so that it conforms to our wishes. Anger is the opposite of surrender.
In order to heal your anger you need to:
- Express your anger so that you get in touch with the deep hurt that is at its root, recall those memories, feel that pain, and let it go.
- Reorder your awareness so that you intuitively reach within to see the unity of life and how life is always, in every situation, unfolding perfectly and supporting your evolution and growth.
As you begin to express, get to the root of and heal your anger, you need to consciously change the way you observe and understand other people and the world around you. To effect point 2, I want you to live with certain questions every time you find yourself in a challenging situation. These questions are:
- What is this situation teaching me at the moment?
- How is this situation supporting my personal growth?
Then listen within for insight and understanding in relation to these two questions.
You say you are very opinionated. It is good to have opinions. Different opinions add to the richness of life. But being very opinionated is different from being a person with opinions. Personally speaking, although I may have opinions, I only offer them when they are requested or in situations where people value and need my opinions because I am working in a team. Otherwise I keep my opinions to myself.
What does it mean to be very opinionated?
Would you benefit from being more circumspect in expressing your opinions?
Would being less opinionated, help reduce your angry reactions to circumstance?
I said at the beginning of my reply that anger was the opposite of surrender. What does this mean? To whom or what do you need to surrender?
Like the ball game, there is an order and meaning to the course of events. This order is apparent to the coach, because he has learnt to observe the game and listen to the players. It is in seeing this order that the coach has his advantage. I too am a coach - a life coach - I see the order and meaning in life and in seeing this sense of order I am able to make myself available to help others - the players. Like the coach in a ball game, I do not do very much, but what I do affects the whole match.
I encourage you to also aspire to be a "coach" - in your relationship, in your job and in your life. You will find that when you observe and listen to others as their "coach," you will lose your need to voice your opinion at every opportunity and you will find that by maintaining this quiet inner posture of listening and observing, your opinion will be sought, noted and valued. Then you will have surrendered to inner guidance, have no need of anger and be living happily ever after!
Further Help and Resources
We also have a range of articles within Heart to Heart Coaching on letting go of anger at Quick Coach, many of which you will find helpful.