Most anger management tips teach you how to manipulate, control, or avoid your anger. While this may seem desirable at first glance, in the long run it ends up being counterproductive, ineffective and potentially dangerous.
The basic problem lies with how we as a society view our anger and our other emotions. We’ve been taught and conditioned – almost from birth – to regard our emotions as a necessary evil, at best:
“Feel your emotions – in private – IF YOU MUST – and then hurry back to the real world and deal with your life.”
We perceive emotions as a hindrance in our ‘civilized’ society; possessing little positive value but much negative value: they make you weak; they make you look bad; they make you less clear-headed.
Well guess what? It’s true! You will be weaker, less attractive and less intelligent if you don’t have a healthy relationship with your emotions. And you’ll develop many other problems as well.
But emotions create none of those problems. Rather, the problems stem from the innumerable ways we’ve come up with to AVOID feeling our feelings fully and then releasing them completely.
We’re already manipulating, controlling, and avoiding our emotions, including our anger. We don’t need any more tips on how to enhance that. We’re already doing it!
You know how to manipulate your anger. You do it practically every minute of every day, if you’re like most people in the world.
More ‘anger management tips’ are not the answer. Instead, it’s time for a fundamental shift in the relationship that exists between you and your anger.
Anger is not a necessary evil. It’s not a curse. It’s not something to be ashamed of. It doesn’t make you a bad person. And it’s definitely not a weapon or a club with which to manipulate others.
Anger – like all emotions – gives you power. Any emotion which you feel fully and cleanly – and then release completely – leaves you with more power than you had before.
All emotions can be a source of power. Just like the food you eat.
But if you don’t cleanly express your anger then it robs you of power and creates pain. And then out of necessity you go searching for anger management tips.
We end up thinking anger created the pain and problems, but really a faulty relationship based on faulty beliefs created the pain and the problems.
So the first step involves recognizing your current relationship with anger in particular, and emotions in general. How do you view your anger? Could you spend a minute or two to write it out on paper?
When working with anger your greatest ally consists of a sharp pencil and a stack of cheap paper.
First understand where you’re at right now. What defines your current relationship with anger?
Second, understand the big picture. You’ve been reacting to your anger in the ways you’ve been taught and conditioned to by society. Many well-meaning and good-intentioned people shaped and molded your relationship with your anger.
Look to your parents. Look to other influences in your world. You won’t have to search long and hard to find the formative forces in your life.
It’s not your fault – but it is your responsibility!
Third, feel the impact of your current relationship with anger. What has it done to you? What has it done to others? And what’s likely to happen if nothing changes?
Think about it – and then stop thinking and just feel. Feel it in every cell of your body. Let in the feeling of this impact.
The more you practice letting in the feelings, the more you’ll return to your natural state of being – which is to simply feel the anger – without telling yourself a story about it, so you can then let it go.
Next, forgive yourself. Forgiveness provides the space for change. Forgiveness always comes before a conscious, meaningful change in your life.
Now you’re ready for some anger healing tips. Here’s the best one I know:
First, let go of the righteousness. In other words, let go of the need to be right.
Anger problems come from the stories we tell ourselves; the stories we use to justify our anger. Basically, “I’m right and they’re wrong!”
If you’ll drop the righteousness that surrounds your anger, you’ll find the anger itself much easier to release. If you don’t let go of the righteousness, anger becomes IMPOSSIBLE to release.
So how do you let go of righteousness? Be willing.
The need to be right compares to lugging a concrete block around with you everywhere you go. The heavy cumbersome block attaches itself not with chains of steel, but with your will alone. Your willingness imprisons you, and your willingness sets you free.
Why do you need to be right? What price do you pay to be right? Now comes the time to enlist the aid of your greatest ally.
Armed with pen and paper, write out your little story of righteousness in great detail. Write with gusto and flourish. The more you articulate it, the more clearly you see it and understand it. And hopefully, find the wisdom to let it go.
You can also use your greatest ally to bleed off the static of anger that so often and so easily surrounds your body.
Have you ever noticed the static energy of anger that surrounds a person? Like a swarm of hungry gnats on a hot summer day, the anger creates frustration, irritation, even bitterness and resentment.
You can bleed off that static simply by sitting down and writing quickly – furiously – about whatever bothers you the most. You can release the irritation as if by magic. If you’re willing.
Unlike writing down your righteousness, here the key involves not thinking or planning what you’ll write. Just feel and keep the pen moving.
I used to scribble on the pages – page after page after page of furious scribbles – because I was feeling and releasing faster than words could form. And it worked wonders.
So let’s review these basic anger healing tips:
1. Healing your anger begins with understanding your current relationship with it.
2. Once you have a solid grasp of the problem, really let in the impact of your current relationship.
3. Forgive yourself for buying into the lies about anger and other emotions.
4. Practice feeling your feelings – cleanly. Give yourself permission to cleanly feel with intensity and without melodrama. Simply feel!
5. Know your little story of righteousness; all the reasons why you have the right to be angry. Of course you have the right to be angry. Everybody does. Everybody has been wronged. But it’s poison to hold onto it. Remember the concrete block analogy.
6. Use your greatest ally. Practice bleeding off the static anger by getting it out on paper. You don’t have to write our sentences or even words. Just scribbling alone will work – as long as you write with feeling.
7. Last but not least – be mindful that anger is not bad or wrong. It’s a human emotion. You’re a human. It’s only ‘bad’ if you hold onto it. Then it becomes a poison.
And remember, you get what you’re willing to have. Willingness always leads the way!all the best,
Mark Ivar Myhre
The Emotional Healing Coach
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