I once met this wise person who told me that there is nothing wrong with anger, that it is normal — but it is how we express the anger that makes a difference.
Having been angry for years, he told me that I would not stop at will, but it was possible to change. He told me to think about a few things when I get angry, which can be challenging in the heat of the moment, so I decided to write them down to look at when I get mad.
“Ask if it is worth it.”
“How is this anger benefitting me now?”
“Do not react, no matter how mad you feel—hold it in and be patient.”
“Put your phone away.”
We have all become more impulsive about the need to express anger. In this digital world, it means expressing it via instant messages or social media, angry Tweets that you cannot take back.
I thought holding things in was a sign of weakness, but sometimes it is a sign of intelligence.
Often, I have regretted the things said and texted when I was angry. So, practicing patience is one of the best pieces of advice for anger management. It allows me to feel anger but not react until I have cooled down. Generally, things don’t seem as awful after you give it time.
This is not me saying to hold things in, but it is always best not to react in the heat of the moment when things usually come out wrong. It is also not about letting all the anger go, but analysing it to see why it bothers you so much.
Anger is oftentimes hidden sadness, and as such, I thought of it as my strength. But I have hurt too many people in the process, so I am trying to rid myself of this habit.
So now, whenever I get angry, I look at my notes and wait. It is difficult, but I do it because it is the best way to approach anger. I take it one day at a time, and it works.
I am still working on not reacting unnecessarily to people but giving myself time to see if what caused the anger is worth it, and the truth is, it never is. In the past, I used to realise it too late, but not anymore.
It will take a long time for our society and its patriarchal ways to change. In the meantime, we cannot afford to lose more of ourselves and our ability to reason by giving into negative emotions. Change comes from within and from a mind at peace.
That is why the first step is to channel the energy productively. We need to be mature about this and know which emotions to express and which ones to hold in.
When I feel myself boiling inside, I wait, breathe, and pray for the strength to let go of the anger that benefits no one. I am working on controlling my anger rather than letting it control me. It is the best present I can give myself this Festive season.