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Wednesday, December 17, 2014

The Most Important Question to Ask When Angry

Moments and Seasons of stress, fatigue, grief, depression, anxiety, etc, provide the impetus to anger. What angers us is often not what it seems. The anger may be an entrenched sadness, helplessness, or fear that is exposed. Such is the nature of transference.
Much of our stress, fatigue, grief, depression, anxiety, etc we may not even be aware of, because these are not the presenting issues. The issue presented is something that frustrates us. The real issue is deeper and we are often aware of it later when we have calmed down, and perhaps in our guilt we ask, “Why did I fly off the handle like that?”
The most important question we can ask ourselves – in the moment of our fury – is, “Wait a minute – what is really the issue here?”
Of course, it takes significant self-awareness and self-control to be aware enough to ask the question and restrained enough to abort the angry action. But both areas of reaction can be improved and our responses can be helped.
Becoming More Self-Aware
Knowing what we are dealing with presently – the knowledge of our emotional and spiritual states – is such a great tool in the weaponry of forging better relationships; both with ourselves and others.
When we are aware of stress, fatigue, grief, depression, anxiety, etc we are able to be more checked and more conservative in our responses. We are likelier to be gentler with ourselves. And we likelier to ask the key question: “Wait a minute – what is really the issue here?”
Becoming More Self-Controlled
There is no easy way of becoming more self-controlled. It’s simply the matter of becoming more situationally patient. Although there is no easy way to be more self-controlled, the good news is there is no complicated solution. We just have to do it. At least if we are asking the question, “What is really the issue here?” we have the chance of holding ourselves to account.
Progress in becoming more self-controlled when it comes to anger is a forwards/backwards land. There are signs of progress and there are signs of regress. It’s best that we don’t judge ourselves too harshly. We do improve our responses over time.
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When we have the awareness to ask a simple question in the moment of anger we have more chance of reigning in our response. When we ask “What is going on?” we can pause long enough for higher-minded reason to kick in.
© 2014 S. J. Wickham.

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