With the state of the world as it is right now, I felt it was important to talk about the anger that rises up within us and in others. We all can have our own individual opinions and still coexist. Often the people we disagree with are good people they just have different ideas about how to make our lives or the world better. It’s important to have an open mind and understand that often people’s feelings about the things they feel passionately about have nothing to do with us.
When you encounter someone who is very angry with you, it’s very important to try not to upset that person further as well as keep yourself from getting enraged too. Achieving a level of calm, respectfulness is crucial so that real communication can take place to keep things from getting worse. It’s a balancing act that can quickly cause you to tumble into the pit, where fighting takes place and people stop feeling each other. In a way fighting is like a war, we go on offense, defense or a combination of both but no one wins when people end up hurt. Fighting with someone can be a major energy drain and there are much better ways of getting your point across then yelling and insulting out of anger.
As anger rises in a person or people, disconnection progresses until the angry person gets to a level of complete detachment from the person they are angry with. They don’t even seem to view the person as a person anymore if the level of anger gets too far out of hand. When anger turns to rage then no reasoning or communication can be had, until the person experiencing the enraged state is able to calm.
If someone approaches you in an enraged state it may be very hard not to get angry right back, but if you stay composed and in control you help everyone involved. Many times the angry person might have had a great point to raise that had upset them but the way they approached the person they were upset with caused the person to not even see that point. Once they are fighting they may go back and forth angering each other more until neither side hears each other and are only acting and thinking on behalf of themselves. This is low-level communication and we should always try to avoid it.
When a person only sees their side of a situation and they yell, they are in their ego. I wouldn’t advise telling them this though because it will probably upset them more. Just understand this is where they are and know that it’s not the real them, it’s just what they are experiencing at this moment.
When you communicate at a high level you don’t raise your voice, you stay in tune with how the other person is feeling as well as yourself, in tandem. By listening and trying to understand, you can work to get at the root of the problem. Then after the talk, you can make reasonable decisions based on what has happened. This is not to say that you agree with the reasons the person is upset or that you choose to be around that person in the future. It just means that you diffuse a potential worse situation from arising. While this seems like a very simple thing to do, it takes a lot of work and I have found myself raising my voice and getting angry before I have remembered to calm the situation. The beauty in catching yourself, even when you slip up is that it gets easier to catch it sooner. After a while, it becomes second nature. We can find this calm in the storm by using the techniques we will go over in this article, to calm ourselves and maintain clarity throughout aggravating situations we find ourselves in.
Stay calm – Know that this person is struggling with something that may have nothing to do with you- in the case of an encounter with an angry stranger this is especially true, let that go easily. You don’t want to take on any of their energy or let that affect your day. As hard as it may be, wish them well in your mind, feel good knowing you stopped a situation that could have gotten out of hand. You’re like a diffusion superhero even if others don’t know it. Your calm and gentle approach will help others as well as yourself as you move through life.
Breathe – take deep full breaths, this doesn’t have to be noticeable, just fill your lungs with air. This will help your heart stay in a good rhythm and will keep from having stress hormones released inside of yourself. By breathing and staying calm you can keep the situation from getting worse and you may even cause the other person to feel foolish on some level for being so upset.
Admit when you’re wrong – If you do something you know is wrong, own up to it. The sooner you can admit what you did the better, even if your intention wasn’t to hurt anyone. Let them know that you see how what you did, or said caused them pain and take responsibility.
Teach people how to treat you – Some people don’t know how their actions are affecting you. Let them know when they do something that bothers you instead of letting it build up. You don’t want to find yourself so frustrated that you eventually explode on a person with anger. Sometimes people are completely unaware of the annoying habits or things they say that bother you, let them know what irks you. When you tell them about something that aggravates you they have the opportunity to change it. Don’t be afraid to let people know your boundaries and how you feel. If they can’t handle your truth they can keep on walking. You want to be around people who respect you.
Make a plan – Tell an angry person nicely, “how about next time you come to me with this information calmly and we can solve this together”. Let them know you don’t want them to feel this upset and that you care for their well-being. Politely designate a time and place to talk calmly, if they are unable to do so in this moment. If you find yourself losing your cool, excuse yourself from the situation until you have the time to analyze the situation with a clear mind.
Listen before you speak – When the upset person has had time to calm down, listen to what they have to say. Try not to make excuses, just hear how they feel, without letting your mind wander off. Don’t interrupt and speak once they have finished. It’s important to be respectful in the situation so both points come across and hopefully, middle ground can be found.
Our minds are very powerful and can combat terrible things people say out of anger. When we get upset our minds can be focused on a person with the intent of verbal harm. When this happens no one is totally safe, not even a saint. An insult might cause a kind person pain and have them question themselves by saying “you think you’re better than everyone” or “you’re fake”. The most damaging fights often occur when someone says something to try and hurt our vision of ourselves. When someone calls you a name, for instance, you might quickly go into a state of rage because your ego is now fully engaged in the fight and egos are masters of fighting. We need to remember that no matter what name we are called, we give the name power because no one can force us to believe what has been said. So don’t allow what has been said out of anger to change your perception of yourself. If there is some truth to what was said, just know that we are all works in progress and we can always grow to do better.
What I would ask you to do in these tough moments where someone insults you is take some deep breaths follow the tips above, walk away if you can and recenter yourself. Don’t allow someone to anger you where you puff out your chest and fire back. Lashing out to hurt a person, even when they have thrown the first blow will not accomplish the desired intention. No matter how justified you feel firing back with hurtful words or name calling won’t help you feel better, it will most likely backfire and you’ll feel even worse. All insulting a person who hurts you will do is make the person feel justified in what they said and the back and forth will continue.
In most situations, you have the opportunity to avoid a fight or stop a fight early on by recognizing what’s happening, remaining calm, breathing and not allowing your mind harm the other person with words. A technique I find that works well is to imagine the other person as a hurting child lashing out. We all have been through tough times in our lives and to realize that beyond the anger there is a soul inside that just wants to feel heard, loved and understood is a unifying thought.
I can tell you from personal experience that two puffed up chests flinging insults won’t accomplish a verbal ceasefire until they find themselves sitting, hurt in the rubble verbal destruction and it will feel very lonely. Your heart will be pounding, some tears might be shed, you’ll question the insults flung at you and probably feel terrible about what you said. This can be avoided though if you take the simple and effective steps.
Stay calm, breathe, admit when you’re wrong,
teach people how to treat you, make a plan and listen before you speak.
If you calmly address a person’s concerns by putting yourself in their shoes, to feel what they are going through, you can avoid fighting and start communicating.