Now let’s get to something spicy:
On a daily basis, what makes me angry and why?
This question can help us identify the main sources that change our mood on a daily basis. Anger is one of our basic emotions so it has a great potential to make our day worse. When we’re angry, we tend to be more impulsive so we might react in ways we’ll regret later. Speaking about this, we get to another question:
How do I behave when I’m angry?
Once we know what makes us angry, we need to observe what we do when we’re angry so we can predict how is this influencing our lives. Improving the quality of our lives is the point to all of this. I believe that in order to improve it, we need to know what fucks it up. As an example, I get angry on a daily basis because of the selfishness some people have (especially in traffic) and this makes me talk (and drive) more aggressive which increases the chances of me creating some incidents. Another thing that pisses me off is when people jump to conclusions without knowing all the facts. This is due to poor communication skills. I hate assumptions. If this happens in my interactions, I tend to raise the tone of my voice (which is unpleasant since I sound like a headless chicken) whilst being more specific in what I say (even though I might sound stupid). I also tend to ask more questions so I make sure I correctly understood what others try to communicate. If this happens in the communications people around me have, I tend to “virtually” put myself in that situation so I can come up with some questions. “How is this helping me? So what if I know what makes me angry? It’s not like I can do something about it! I’ll even get angry sooner because I anticipate I’ll get angry.” If we know what makes us angry, we can come up with a plan to “fix” this somehow. For example, I tend to avoid certain roads because I know the traffic is heavier there. I’ll use some alternative routes. If I can’t, I’ll be extra cautious because I’m aware of what might happen. This second thing doesn’t help with my anger and because of this, I try to use empathy as a way to limit my anger because in the end, all people want to have a better life and they might not know another way to get there. This is actually the third anger-related question:
What can I do on a daily basis so I’ll get less angry?
In order for this exercise to be helpful, all the answers need to be specific. If there are places you can avoid, do it. If there are people that make you angry and you have to interact with them on a daily basis, try to be empathic. Try to understand what’s driving them to behave in that way (you can even ask them some questions that can help you understand) and you can even try to help them fix some of their problems. Bottom line, shit happens! And it can happen anytime all the time! However, this doesn’t necessarily means that we have to be driven by it. This is helpful because it also gives us some clues about our core beliefs since people don’t get angry for something they don’t care about. If we care enough to get angry, it means there is something important there. In my case, the fact that I get angry when I see other people being selfish means that deep down I believe humanity can be better if we realize that we live in a society and that what we’re doing can have a huge influence on other people. A sincere Thank you! can make someone’s day better and I don’t think it’s that much of an effort to do it. The fact that I get angry when I see poor communication happening all around me means that deep down I believe most of the problems we face are due to miscommunication and that it’s not really that hard to improve it a little bit. Of course, it is almost impossible to communicate perfectly, but it’s not that hard to ask a few questions to make sure the message has been understood. Since we talked about why is this important, we need to ask and answer the question:
What is this anger trying to say about me?
Please don’t write something like It says about me that I’m an angry person because we already established the difference between identity and behavior. Anger, along with other strong emotions, can help us realize some important things about ourselves, things that we might have not thought about until this point. I think that anger appears when we have some sort of a conflict between an idea and the self. When we encounter something that might seem threatening for our identity, we’ll react in a way to reject it so our self remains protected.
Overall, how much influence does anger have over you?