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Letting Go of Anger, Part 1

We live in a painful that inflicts anger producing situations. How you respond determines your emotional, spiritual and physical well being. According to Dwight L. Carlson, M. D., anger and psychological problems are directly connected. Dr. Bernie S. Siegel asserts that anger and physical disease have an unswerving correlation. My experience tells me that anger and relationship difficulties are one and the same. Anger is a spiritual issue.

Here are a few thoughts on letting go of anger.

Be willing to change. Change is an inside job. Each person is self-determining and your approach to life is exactly what you want it to be. If it were not, you would change it. Relating to people in anger is a misguided attempt to control them to get your way. Since it does not really work, be willing to use a different approach.

Take personal responsibility for change. Just wanting something is not enough. It takes desire and discipline to determine destiny. Discipline is being personally responsible for your thoughts, your judgments, your prejudices, your words, your tone of voice, your facial expressions and your actions. Taking personal responsibility may, on occasion, mean literally biting your tongue. Because you have a thought does not mean you have to express it.

Insights into change. We easily lie to ourselves by thinking if we want something badly enough it will happen. And so we see ourselves as changing, when in reality we have rearranged our prejudices and put a new face on the same old problem.

Do not allow your emotions to rule. Emotions are fickle, often false, and always fast fleeting. When emotions rise, thinking plummets. When emotions rise, blood flow to the brain decreases resulting in irrational thoughts and irresponsible behavior. The more emotionally involved you are, the more aggressive the behavior. The more emotional attachment the greater the propensity for hurt. The more emotions are involved the more hasty the reaction.

Not all needs are unmet. Sometimes we feel we have been wronged when we have not. Sometimes we feel we have a right to be angry when we do not. We feel our needs have not been met when they have. Because you wanted steak and got a hotdog does not mean you have been treated unfairly. Because you overslept and was late to work does not mean the world is out to get you. Sometimes a person feels he has no way out when there are solutions. Because expectations are so high, if they are not met precisely, a person feels wronged, hurt and devalued. When emotions are overly involved, the pain and injustice becomes distorted.

Be objective. Take yourself out of the middle. Replace feelings with thinking – rational thinking. Carrying a chip on your shoulder lends to a slight infraction being taken as a personal affront. Instead of viewing others as out to ruin your day, accept human frailty for what it is; selfish and imperfect - your as well as theirs. Get honest and analyze the problem.

Begin to notice and put these suggestions into practice. We will look at more strategies next week. Share your ways of letting go with us.

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