Today I was brought the lesson of dealing with anger… Similar to cancer, it causes the harm to the carrier…
I grew up believing men were supposed to be tough. They fight, protect and from what I saw anger created fear in others and the guys who created the most fear were the most respected. This was based on a 10 years old child’s view of the world. It was neat in my teen years but I realize now that I carried it much further into my adult life than I even recognized. This thinking got me beat up. A LOT! Sometimes by the same person multiple times.
For a long time anger became a way of life for me. The deeper I went into allowing anger to run my life, the darker my world became. Ultimately. the more of a victum I saw myself as, the less my life became mine. It was owned guided and directed through anger & resentment.
As my enlightenment began 15 years or so ago, my beliefs about fear driven respect began to be overtaken by a respect for people I met that could be stern but kind, stand up against something without cursing or yelling to threatening. As this realization unfolded, which for me was a true spiritual awakening, I started to practice not being angry. This acting as if led to me almost exploding over simple things on numerous occasions. I could for a short period of time brush off the anger, act as if I didn’t encode resentful, but what I didn’t realize until after exhaustive measures on my part was that it’s impossible to act as if I’m not angry. Literally impossible.
Through my trial period of controlling my anger I experienced migraine headaches, chest pain, extra weight and sugar issues from overeating. All in my best efforts to utilize self control to not feel angry or resentful towards someone or something. My best efforts would have killed me if my thresh hold for pain were any greater! Thank God I’m not as strong as I want to be or thought I was!
Through growth, eventually I gained enough self esteem to ask these people that I began to respect for their abilities to deal with situations without using anger as their opening statement, how they were able to achieve such a miraculous feat? They gave me the precious gift of the following four steps.
1- At the on-sight of any situation that started had the potential of igniting anger, take a deep breath and exhale. A simple deep breath. Later I realized taking that deep breath put me in control of my thoughts, instead any programmed responses. The choice to take that breath gave me just that… A CHOICE!
2- Take a second breath and ask myself what is it about the situation that is touching on this part of myself. Might sound silly, but I almost guarantee it that fear of some sort will be behind it. The other culprit will be ego (which in itself is fear, so the guarantee stands :)) I cap an typically determine some type of fear within me that is touched on by whatever the situation I’m in at the moment.
3- Now that I am owning my thoughts and controlling my actions (instead of that instant reaction within me) I am better able to make the final determination on how I decide I want to respond to the situation.
There are times for me when I decide to act in an angry manner. Maybe that choice is because I’m not a saint, or maybe it’s because, like Jesus Christ turning tables over in His Fathers house, the situation calls for such action. What I do know is the number of times I have to review my actions to determine if I’m being the man I want to be are fewer than I ever remember. I haven’t experienced a migraine in quite some time now and my sugar and eating are healthier than they been for 20 years. I haven’t been beat up in a long long time.
The other benifit I’ll leave you with is that I have found that no matter what is going on around me, using these steps allows me to be in control of myself. Someone can be whirling out of control and it doesn’t knock me off balance.