This old Cherokee story really is about anger management. Anger management tips after the story are something I have found useful when dealing with people that seem oh so annoying.
There are lots of good tips about anger management around. I am not trying to find solutions to the whole anger management issue, obviously. Only this one aspect of anger, and what has worked for me.
If you have some serious anger management issues, consult your doctor
An old Grandfather talked with his grandson, who came to him full of anger. A friend had done him an injustice.
- Let me tell you a story. I too, at times, have felt a great hate for those that have taken so much, with no sorrow for what they do. But hate wears you down - it does not hurt your enemy.
It is like taking poison and wishing your enemy would die. I have struggled with these feelings many times.
It is as if there are two wolves inside me. One is good and does no harm. He lives in harmony with
But the other wolf... He is full of anger. The littlest thing will set him into a fit of temper. He fights everyone, all the time, for no reason. He cannot think because his anger and hate are so great. It is helpless anger, for his anger will change nothing.
Sometimes, it is hard to live with these two wolves inside me, for both of them try to dominate my spirit.
The boy looked into his Grandfather's eyes and asked:
- Which one wins, Grandfather?
The Grandfather smiled and quietly said:
- The one I feed.
(A Cherokee legend)
So what to do when someone really annoys you? Any anger management tips to help you?
The difference between these two wolves is that the other one sees the world as a threat and reacts without thinking. I am sure we all know such people. They seem to think the world is in some kind of conspiracy against them. No matter how kind you try to be towards these people, they see some negative hidden agenda in your behavior.
If you notice you react to people with anger all the time, remember those people are not responsible for your mental processes. Only you are.
It is perfectly all right to draw the line if someone is acting against your interests. But uncontrolled anger will not give a very reliable impression of yourself. You want people to take you seriously and so you need to behave in a more composed way. If you shout your anger to the world, you get angry responses back. And then you wonder why everyone is so angry and negative towards you all the time.
So - how to get rid of anger towards other people? Any tips for that?
First, say to yourself: "I chose to react in this way to the thing you said."
When you really notice your bouts of anger and stop to say this to yourself, you are teaching yourself you are responsible for your emotions. So always try to start by admitting you chose to react in an angry way.
Secondly - remember the good old "count to ten"? I use it too, sort of.
Usually when you have a conversation with someone, you can have little pauses. I use this to count to three - namely I count three good things about this person before I answer (and yes, it can be pretty hard, if you feel like your blood is boiling). Three things won´t take long, so the pause doesn´t seem too long either.
So say "Hmm...." and think of three things that are good about this person that annoys you.
If it is a parent (and oh boy do they know how to press our buttons...), you might think something like:"He built me that kite when I was a small child and we had lots of fun flying it. Oh, and he is always ready to baby sit when needed. He repaired the garage door for me."
Or if it is a coworker, you might think along the lines of "She is very good at handling difficult customers. She tells really funny jokes. She compliments my looks often."
Or maybe it is someone behind the counter, someone you have never met? Well you can then think "She is working here to help me. Her hair looks great. She is someone I can ask about the things I don´t quite understand."
You got the picture, I am sure. If we are dealing with normal people, we can come up with three good things to think about them. You never need to tell anyone wha you are thinking, so choose whatever good you can find about this person. When you do this, you have turned your mind to a slightly more positive direction before you answer. And that may be enough to cut the edge of an uncontrollable angry reaction.
You don´t need to reach a feeling of total love for that person - it would not even be possible, if you are about to react towards them in anger. All you need to do is to create a little breathing space, remind yourself there are good things about this person. And so you can react from a more calm standpoint. You shall also feel better, because you realize you can work your emotions - you are not at their mercy.
If you wish to take this even further, after the situation is over, think of three more things that went well for you.
You may even write your successes in a little notebook - that way you can see your progress. It is very motivating!
If you did well, reward yourself. Give yourself something nice. Rent a movie. Buy a book you like. Or maybe treat yourself to a nice restaurant. It is important that you "pat yourself on the back" for succeeding.
Once you learn to control your anger more, the feeling of control in itself is reward enough.
At first this positive attitude tip may feel strange, but just keep using it for a month and then evaluate.
I think you will notice a difference!
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