Anger is a funny thing. Controlling it is not...
We tend to want to cover it up, the way we cover up certain body parts.
"Don't let your anger show."
Many people are afraid of anger - theirs and others. Some people use their anger as a weapon; or at least a tool of negotiation. A lot of people harbor their anger - hiding it, keeping it 'safe'. Keeping it hidden. Only bringing it out as 'necessary'.
Many use it as motivation. Or as a substitute for inspiration.
One thing's for sure. We all seem to possess an excess of it. Even those who claim to have no anger whatsoever are usually sitting on a MOUNTAIN of repressed anger.
No matter which category you find yourself in, the question remains:
"How am I gonna control this anger?!"
You might want to step back just a little and ask:
"Is it even POSSIBLE to control my anger?"
Yes. And no.
Keeping anger inside is like putting a pressure cooker on the stove and turning on the heat. For a while you can keep all the beans inside. For a while. But sooner or later, something's gotta give. Something MUST happen to that pressure.
One thing that often happens is we keep finding ourselves in situations where other people appear to be making us angry. We truly, honestly believe outside influences have the ability to create anger, or any other emotion, inside of us.
We could even pass a lie detector test by saying:
"They're making me angry!"
Because we've long since forgotten the original circumstances that turned on the stove. And we don't realize we've had that pressure cooker going since we were children.
All we know is someone is doing something - and we're left feeling angry. It's easy to conclude the particular situation we're looking at today is the source of the anger we feel inside. Because we're angry RIGHT NOW!
You know that little regulator that sits on top of the lid of a pressure cooker? The scientific name for it is the 'jiggler'. You touch it and it releases a little pressure. It hisses and snarls at you.
We hear that little noise, and we conclude the person who touched the jiggler is responsible for the release of pressure inside of us. And they would be, if it was their jiggler sitting atop their pressure cooker on their stove in their kitchen.
But it's not.
Undoubtedly, they have their own pressure cooker going on inside of them. No matter how sweet and innocent they appear to be on the outside. That's not your problem, though.
Cause you've got your own pressure to deal with. One way is to blame the never-ending parade of people and circumstances that keep 'making' you angry.
"Hey! I'm trying to control my anger here!! Why are you making me mad?!"
But you should be thanking them instead of blaming them. They're helping you release the pressure you've got inside.
That's one way to 'control' your anger. Let others brush up against your jiggler. Of course, it will never resolve the problem. And you WILL have that parade to deal with. A parade which never ends.
Whew! That's gonna get old! Maybe it already has.
Maybe you'd like to try a new approach.
Why not recognize you have a pressure cooker of anger inside yourself? Just like practically every single human on this planet. Let it be real. Let it be okay. You're not bad and wrong because you're a human.
Next, accept that it's YOURS. It's YOUR jiggler sitting atop YOUR pressure cooker on YOUR stove in YOUR kitchen. Don't pretend it belongs to anyone else. If you do, you're giving away your power, along with your ability to DO anything about it.
In other words, if you won't take responsibility for your anger, you can expect things to continue as they are. Or, more likely, things will get worse. Blame has a way of doing that.
If you accept your pressure cooker, then you can get about the business of doing something about it. Like relieving the pressure, for starters.
Here's one way:
Get out pen and paper and start writing 'anger letters'. Write down all the things that make you angry. To all the people who make you angry. Not as a way for them to 'get it'. (It's YOUR anger, remember?)
But as a way to relieve your own pressure. So YOU can feel better. Calmer. More able to deal with those people and circumstances.
These aren't letters you'll send or show to anyone. They're strictly for your own private benefit. As a way to bleed off the anger that's slowly building inside of you right now. It's a way to safely process your anger so it doesn't hurt you or anyone else.
Have you ever seen what happens to a pressure cooker when the jiggler gets knocked off? It's not a pretty sight.
There's nothing funny about beans splattered all over your kitchen.
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