How Not to Manage Anger

“Anger is a symptom of weakness”

Anger is one strong emotion that everyone feels now and then. Parents and other senior people has advised us that we should control our anger. Somewhere I feel this is the wrong advice given to any kid or matured person. I believe that no emotion should be suppressed within. Anger is definitely destructive for society and we should not promote it. My point is that we always try to cure the symptoms and hardly address the real illness. Anger is just a symptom of internal conflicts, thoughts and expectations. If we only try to hold our anger, then one day it will blow like a volcano.

There is a very famous enlighten person called “Sadhguru” in India. In one of the interviews, someone asked him “How do you manage stress?” Sadhguru laughed and said, “Stress is not something to be managed.” At that moment I realized that there is a very deep truth in his answer. All the while we were focusing on managing negative emotions. This gave more power to all those emotions. We have always been walking on the wrong side of the path.

Instead of working on the anger, we should work and focus on being happy. As an individual, we should identify what is causing the distress or anger within us. Is it our expectation or our belief? Is it the way we have been conditioned or we picked up something along the way? This inner reflection will make you realize that you do not have to change the whole world, but only yourself. I am not talking about tolerating the indecent behavior of someone, but just getting rid of our angry reactions.

Expecting differently – We have expectations from our friends, family and from society. We expect them to behave in a certain manner and we expect to receive something in return for what we have given to them. We feel upset and angry when our expectations are not fulfilled. We always blame the other person for our angry reactions and hardly try to look within. Our perceptions and assumptions have led us to believe that there are certain ways in which people should behave, but in reality we do not know the person and the situation he or she came from. Let us look at the real life experience of famous author Dr. Stephen covey who has written seven habits of highly effective people in his own words.

I remember a mini-Paradigm Shift I experienced one Sunday morning on a subway in New York. People were sitting quietly — some reading newspapers, some lost in thought, some resting with their eyes closed. It was a calm, peaceful scene. Then suddenly, a man and his children entered the subway car. The children were so loud and rambunctious that instantly the whole climate changed. The man sat down next to me and closed his eyes, apparently oblivious to the situation. The children were yelling back and forth, throwing things, even grabbing people’s papers. It was very disturbing. And yet, the man sitting next to me did nothing.

It was difficult not to feel irritated. I could not believe that he could be so insensitive to let his children run wild like that and do nothing about it, taking no responsibility at all. It was easy to see that everyone else on the subway felt irritated, too. So finally, with what I felt was unusual patience and restraint, I turned to him and said, “Sir, your children are really disturbing a lot of people. I wonder if you couldn’t control them a little more?” The man lifted his gaze as if to come to a consciousness of the situation for the first time and said softly, ‘Oh, you’re right. I guess I should do something about it. We just came from the hospital where their mother died about an hour ago. I don’t know what to think, and I guess they don’t know how to handle it either.’

People do not want to hurt others, but sometimes their situation force them to take certain action. We only have to keep our expectations aside, after all every individual is different.

Giving power to others – You do not become stronger when you get angry, but you become a weak person. You might get some extra strength or verbal power, but in reality you lost to the other person. You gave power to someone to control you, to hurt you. Nobody wants to be angry, but we give up on that so easily and the opposite person takes the advantage of that. If we have control on our thoughts and which does not get changed by someone’s behavior, then there are very fewer chances of us getting upset or angry.

Keep in mind that when you do not get angry, you actually become a strong person as you have decided that you are not giving power to anyone to control you. You yourself decide what kind of thoughts you need to have and nobody can interfere in that.

Life is not fair – Life is beautiful, but it might not be fair. We all have to go through the suffering. On this journey, we have right to choose whether we want to stay angry and continue to suffer or we walk with the peace of mind. It might sound very simple, but if you meditate on this then you will realize that Life is all about choices. Many people have passed through the same circumstances as we are going through or we went through. Some opted to stay angry and some opted to move on to the brighter world. It is your choice that will form your life.

Get angry – There will be some situations in life where you will have to get angry. No emotion is useless. Surprised, I wrote the whole article about not getting angry and at the end I am telling you to get angry. Let me explain you it with a small story. One yogi and his student were having dinner in their hut and suddenly one person came and started shouting outside the hut. The yogi went outside and got angry on that person and told him to get away from their hut in a very strong voice. The student was surprised to see such an enlighten person getting angry. He asked the same to his teacher that as a yogi we are not supposed to get angry, but you shouted at that person.

The yogi started laughing loudly like nothing happened. He explained that “I am not angry, but that person was disturbing him daily and he tried to send him away couple of times earlier with calmness without any success. It was necessary to shout at him as he understood that language because of his past conditioning, but at the same time I maintained my peace of mind. My angry outer behavior did not affect my inner thoughts. I did it at my own wish and not because someone tried to pursue me to get angry. Not for a second I lost my control of mind”.

It takes some practice to act like such a yogi, but we can all achieve it. There will be some situation where you cannot just stand as a calm person. Most of us are conditioned to act when someone shouts at us. We cannot change it overnight. The important thing is to maintain the inner peace.

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