As human beings, we tend to behave, act, and react differently from other people, and we have different ways of coping with emotions, and ultimately, anger.
Often, it may be hard to avoid confrontations, and it’s hard to prevent ourselves from speaking our minds and potentially hurting the ones we love with our words. But not everything is as dark as it seems – here are a few techniques that can help us deal with such kinds of challenges we face on a daily basis.
1. Focus on the problem.
Okay, so this one is really important. Focus on the thing that is happening at the moment, don’t drag past events or fights into the present because the other side is going to start doing that too, and you have now gotten yourself into a never-ending cycle of intensive quarreling and disagreement.
2. Listen to the other side.
Before rushing to express your own opinion on the matter, try listening first. Like really listening, not just that automatic nod while the other person is speaking, and when they finish, you go on with what you meant to say or do anyway. Try getting into other people’s shoes, try understanding their side, and point out that you are aware of how they feel and that their words did not fall on deaf ears.
3. Compassion and sympathy can come in handy.
Anger resonates anger. Compassion and sympathy cause – you guessed it – compassion and sympathy! Approaching the person in a hostile and angry way will make them respond spitefully and aggressively too since they will feel attacked and criticized. Try doing the opposite – that way the other side will feel safe enough to approach you and simply, meet you halfway. Do the first step if necessary! More soul, less ego, remember?
4. Say no to passive-aggressive behavior.
Indirect reproaches, sullenness, light or subtle insults aimed at hurting you point out to such behavior. Try avoiding doing this because it’s immature, and if the person you are mad at is being passive-aggressive – speak about it! Make sure you tell them you disapprove of indirect anger and that you are willing to talk, listen and compromise. If they are still giving you the silent treatment or are being stubborn, well then, you are allowed to ignore them.
If you are too angry, it is best to wait a couple of days to tone down the intensity of your emotions. But then, you have to call the person and talk to them. Be civil, use gentle words, and share your perspective.
Be resolute – set up a goal and work your way to it. If your goal is to reach a mutual understanding and set the records straight, don’t quit until you get that. Just be patient and speak gently – high tone of voice or heavy criticism with no focus on anything good the person has done for you may be counterproductive.
6. Be forgiving.
Now, this is hard the majority of the time. But, if you truly care for the person, you should be able to do it, eventually. Focus on the fact that just like they hurt you, you have probably hurt them too – be it with your words or actions.
If you have expressed your feelings and asked them to share theirs, and if you could both conclude that you rushed into anger, but you still care for each other, then forgiveness seems to be the next logical step. You cannot be at ease until you do it, and you cannot move on until you do it.
Rechanneling pain into anger is not the solution, so try understanding your emotions first. Make sure your pain is justified, but then don’t intensify it as only more pain and anger will follow. Work on becoming an active listener, communicate your emotions and be understanding instead.
What you give is what you will receive.