“Anybody can become angry – that is easy, but to be angry with the right person and to the right degree and at the right time and for the right purpose, and in the right way – that is not within everybody’s power and is not easy.” - Aristotle
Have you ever experienced anger! A real anger! That age old emotion that when allowed to get to the surface can move everything within you, and take you to take action?! If you haven’t, there’s still time… 🙂
Anger is really a yin yang emotion.
These past few weeks, we’ve been thinking a lot and discussing at length the emotion of anger… A number of clients we work with have come forward and shared with us that, the past period has been filled with anger!
For those of you that know us, and that are familiar with our teachings, we do not propose control of things…We firmly believe, and the experience has shown, that everything we control comes back to haunt us…Like those lame things you see advertised around…’Come and learn how to CONTROL stress, emotions, life…Come on, get a life!
Everything one controls, tends to rebel, tends to come back and explode. Those that control emotions, stress, anger, usually do so at the detriment of their health. When one controls something, anything, one moves away from experiencing it and if one is not experiencing it, how can one know what they are controlling in the first place, and if that which they are controlling is good for them!
Anger has two faces
Great many things have come out of anger…Take Steve Jobs, the founder of Apple, for example. He was angry with the way programming/computers were designed and decided to do something about it…And look at the results! You too, dear reader, have probably, at some point in your life, experienced some of the benefits of anger, like when it helps you stand up for yourself and your values.
Loads of successful innovative business leaders are also angry. Out of anger, they create!
Anger and indignation at social injustice has fuelled major political progress.
But anger is also the emotion that fuels the wife beater’s punches, the emotion that fuels the screaming and shouting of the couple that should have gotten a divorce a long time ago, the emotion which fuels the words we wish we hadn’t said.
At its heart anger is a signal that some standard we hold dear has been violated; a signal that some value we believe in has been disrespected, resulting in a raw aggressive energy. Now the question becomes what do you do with that emotional energy? And, even before that explosion of emotion – how do you deal with the perceptions that make your inner self feel that someone has wronged you, or the Universe.
It’s like Aristotle said: “Anybody can become angry – that is easy, but to be angry with the right person and to the right degree and at the right time and for the right purpose, and in the right way – that is not within everybody’s power and is not easy.”
Where does it come from and what to do with it
Some people are infuriated when they are powerless, when they are helpless, when the situation is hopeless. The impulse is easy to understand: since anger is a reaction we have when things are not up to our standards it is only natural that we are angry when we cannot do anything about the situation. Sadly, such anger is a waste of energy, as is the anger denying the inner recognition of an unwanted truth.
Perhaps the best way to defuse such anger is to in a Buddha like way lower our standards. To let go of our wish and want and need for the Universe to conform to our will. This can of course be a lot harder in practice than in theory.
Back in the days when people were engaged by Marx and Freud there was a recurring thought that psychotherapy was bad because it reduced the revolutionary potential. And while we may laugh at this particular idea the thing is: there are a lot of things people should be angry about!
Some people are angry because the life they are living is not the life they want. Maybe your life has turned out to be something far beneath what you know that you are capable of. Maybe you are mad as hell and not going to take it any more! Good! There is plenty of raw energy there for you to channel and use to change your circumstances. To start living your real life, rather than an ersatz life.
With this in mind may we invite you to do the following exercise.
Anger from a third point of view
Remember a time you were angry. Now, as you take a deep breath and step back from the situation – you can see it all from the outside if you find it helpful – ask yourself with curiosity: what standard or value of yours was it that you perceived as being violated; what was the intention behind the feeling; what was the purpose of the anger?
Spend some time remembering times when you have acted effectively against violations of your standards in the past. Places where you have effectively drawn the line and said: this far, but no further.
Now come up with a number of different ways in which you can achieve the purpose of the anger, intention behind your feeling, the protection of your values and standards. (It may be as simple as talking about what you feel and why, rather than throwing vases and banging your fist on the table!) Select the best one and imagine actually using it. Are the consequences of using it in alignment with the results you want, then go for it – otherwise come up with some better alternatives.
And, since we are not all powerful Gods but mortals, there is the possibility that in spite of your best intentions and efforts your standards may be violated in the future. Spend some time coming up with useful and effective responses should this occur, and imagining putting them to use.
Sending you oceans of love,
Your calm and serene NLP trainers
Lidija & Thomas
Upcoming NLP trainings in Brussels and USA
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Lidija Markovic Rosati – ITA NLP (International Trainers Academy of NLP) Accredited New Code and Classic Code NLP Trainer and Master Coach, Hypnotherapist and Psychological Counsellor.
Thomas Björge - ITA NLP (International Trainers Academy of NLP) Accredited New Code and Classic Code NLP Trainer and Master Coach and Designer of New Code Game ‘Arrows’, to be featured in Dr. John Grinder’s upcoming book.