Feeling angry? Here are some questions to ask yourself before you act.
Anger is there to tell us that something is wrong. That there’s a problem here. When we get angry we experience a surge of energy and a strong desire to assert and protect ourselves or others. Anger is really powerful but can be destructive if we only use it reactively.
Since anger is a primary emotion, that means it is often triggered by the secondary emotion that we’ve experienced as a result of the situation. It could be caused by an unmet need. It could be a violation of a physical, psychological or ideological boundary. Often times when we feel angry it helps to try to find that violation or crossing of that particular boundary. It is useful to ask ourselves, what about this situation isn’t meeting my needs or goes against my values and belief system? What about this situation is rubbing me the wrong way?
Additionally, sometimes when we try to develop a desired outcome in anger, we can often react or behave in a way that is actually outside of alignment with the same values, beliefs or boundaries that got crossed in the first place! Sometimes when we’re still responding from a place of flight/fight/freeze/fawn, we are still in self protection mode and therefore have trouble seeing beyond our own safety and wellbeing. We might look back later when the anger has subsided and be like, oh shit, I said or behaved in a way that I’m actually not super stoked about and that is not reflective of me and by beliefs (I’m sure we’ve all done this and experienced this).
Here are some questions to ask yourself when the anger is strong.
-WHAT ABOUT THIS SITUATION IS NOT WORKING FOR ME?
-WHAT’S GOING ON HERE IN RELATION TO MY VALUES, NEEDS, BOUNDARIES AND BELIEFS?
-WHAT NEEDS TO CHANGE IN ORDER FOR THIS TO ALIGN WITH MY VALUES, NEEDS, BOUNDARIES AND BELIEFS?
-HOW WILL OTHERS INVOLVED BE AFFECTED BY THAT CHANGE? WILL THAT RESULT STILL BE IN ALIGNMENT WITH MY VALUES TOO?
-IF NOT, WHY IS THAT? DO I NEED TO STAY WITH MY ANGER A LITTLE LONGER IN ORDER TO FIGURE IT OUT?
Asking ourselves these questions can help us with communicating our experience of the situation and with assessment of our desired outcome. Sometimes, if you feeling better about the situation requires others involved to partake in or receive disciplinary measures that you would not support or engage in if it were outside of this situation, then that’s a warning to you that you might still be stuck in reactionary mode.
If that’s the case, take more time to sit with your anger and feel it through. Let is pass and experience how your emotions and desires change. Then ask yourselves the questions again and see if you end up somewhere different that time around. This might take more time for certain people than others, and that’s okay because we all process at varying speeds.