Mother F’er. We’ve all got hot buttons, we’ve all encountered people who push them, and we all do some pushing ourselves at times. This post is designed to help you learn how to manage your fine self when you get angry and encounter a situation with someone whose personality + behavior you want to body slam.
#1 – It’s important to ask yourself why you’re having the visceral reaction you are; as in, “Why is it that when I encounter X, my stomach starts punching itself and my brain starts pile driving my temples?” Is it because some jabron cut you off while driving? Is it because someone stole your phone, or your boss is acting like a butt hole, or a friend machete stabbed you in the back, or maybe an ex really burned ya? There are different reasons for why you’d get riled up and it’s worth your while to explore what they are. When you become all hot and bothered (not the wokka wokka sexy kind) it’s supremely important to stop and reflect on what is making you mad, before you react, in order to get a handle on your emotions. This is because your glorious emotions are automatically triggered when you sense someone is being shitty to you, so you’ve got to stop, reflect inward and gain some perspective if you’re going to cope well.
I’m generally not an angry person. I do get mad about stuff sometimes, but overall, I’m not an aggrolite. So, when I encounter something or someone that makes me feel angry, it throws me off. Like knocks me on my ass thrown off. In order to regain my footing and ground myself, I’ve learned that I must do the bunny hop from the part of my brain that turns into emotional lava when I’m pissed, to the wonderfully cool and soothing thinking part that helps me be rational. By doing so, I am able to get into a space where I can explore what the heck my anger is about. Hanging in this space for awhile increases my understanding of my anger, and helps me figure out healthy ways to problem solve so I can cool my jets and handle the situation with poise.
I know that sometimes we need to act on impulse, fight or flight style, and tear ass out of a situation for safety, but these instances are rare. When someone pushes one of your hot buttons and takes you from 0 to 525,600 in an instant, your life is usually not in danger. Your integrity, pride, ego, etc., might be threatened, but your life is not. In these moments where you’re triggered to react, but your life is not in danger, getting in the habit of inserting thought before you do anything is something that I promise will serve you well.
#2 – Vent to people you trust AND THEN… ask for their opinion. When you are seeing red, you-are-seeing-red. Meaning, you could be blind to the other colors/factors involved a situation. Maybe it’s a cut and dry, black and white situation, but usually there are other pigments involved. Asking people you trust for input after you’ve vented about it is an important thing. But it’s also a hard thing because when you open yourself up, you might not get the feedback you want. You may be looking for, “Yo, you are 100% right and homegirl (or homeboy) is assed up for acting like this.” Instead, you might get, “Well, I see both sides of it.” Getting feedback will help give you a more comprehensive view if you allow yourself to be open to receiving it. It doesn’t mean you have to take what another person says as gospel. Just acknowledge, “Ok, I trust X to be honest with me because they love me, so their opinion has merit.” If it’s someone you trust, you know they are being honest. And if you don’t get the reinforcement you hoped for, just remind yourself that sometimes what you want to hear and what you need to hear aren’t always the same thing. Lower your defenses when you reach out to people you love, because if they truly love you, they have your best interest in mind.
#3 – After you give yourself enough time to reflect, cool down, and get other perspectives, go back to your emotions. Are you still feeling angry? If so, that’s important to recognize. You have a right to your anger. Your anger is likely being triggered as a defense and it wants to come to your rescue. If someone hurts or insults you on a grand level, having a reaction of anger is normal and healthy. It’s your minds way of defending you against an attack. And anger can be a sign of self-esteem. As in, you don’t feel like you deserve the treatment displayed by X, who pushed your hot button, got you mad, and offended you. So, go back to your emotion, honor your emotion, and then make a plan.
After you’ve had a chance to do #1 and #2 above (not a potty joke), you can come back to the situation and formulate a plan of action while in a collected state of mind. Believe it or not, it is possible to be angry and also collected at the same time- I’ve been there and totally done it! And when you’re able to hold anger in one hand and composure in the other, you can choose to respond to the situation in a healthy way. You can send that text, write that email, make that phone call, or have that face-to-face, in a zen state. Ok, maybe not totally zen, but you get what I mean, in a state where you’re thinking clear and have a handle on your emotions, versus, a state of being a spazzy mess with delusional thoughts and King Kong emotions. Which sounds better to you?
#4 – Don’t hold a grudge, it’s poison and will hurt you. I mean, the literal interpretation of “holding a grudge” makes me visualize a person holding a stinky load of wet summer garbage and excrement in their hands. YOU DON’T NEED THAT. I’m not saying you have to forgive someone for hurting you if you don’t want to, just that it would benefit you to let some anger go. Holding on to it doesn’t hurt the other person(s), it hurts you because it prevents you from letting happiness into your life. It’s all about YOU here people (it really is!) and holding a grudge leaves less room for awesomeness in your life because anger takes up space. So flush that doo doo brown all the way down and stop giving the person (or people) that hurt you the ability to continue hurting you.
Absolving yourself of anger doesn’t mean don’t ever get angry and defend yourself, or that you have to tolerate bullshit treatment, it just means take your power back so you can make more room for happiness and posi vibes. Flush the grudge and then tuck the anger to bed and let it sleep so you can focus on things that nourish your happiness, spirit, and wellbeing. Life is tricky sometimes and your anger will probably wake up again at some point to protect you, but knowing when to kiss it goodnight is a skill worth developing. I’m not encouraging you to go out and get aggro to get practice, just that, when you get mad, practice what I’ve suggested and see if it helps. If you can’t seem to let go of anger, or it’s constantly waking up, something inside you could be unresolved. I recommend more inward reflection and calling in the pros to assist if you can’t figure it out on your own. There could be some serious layers to it and that’s why people like me are around- to help you make sense of it. Reach out of you need to and search psychologytoday.com to find a therapist in your area.
That’s what I got!! Thank you for reading along and feel free to send me a shEmail or hEmail anytime!