Anger is not an innate emotion. It is something that is acquired by environment and society. If it is inherent, then all people should have this emotion embedded in their personality, right? Here is an interesting tidbit – according to Tony Robbins in his book “Awaken the Giant Within,” there is a tribe in the Philippines called the Tasadays, which does not have a word for hate, dislike, or war. The Tasadays do not need to come up with a word for hate because they do not hate.
Letting go of anger is one of the best things that ever happened to me. When I finally removed it from my list of emotions, I feel one of the heaviest burdens on my shoulder lifted. I am several steps closer to happiness.
Although it may seem almost impossible, but anger can be eliminated. Think of the ways it can ruin your health. Everydayhealth.com highlights how anger can increase your risk of a stroke, lowers your immune system, increase anxiety and depression, and shorten your lifespan. It also ruins your reputation and social life. Showing anger makes you unlikable.
I would not say I totally defeated anger, but I scarcely feel it anymore. Here are the ways how I eliminated it.
1. Remember that people look stupid when angry
When I was younger, I remember discreetly making fun of people showing tantrums publicly. People look foolish when angry. I realize that nobody is an exception. Everybody looks silly when angry, including me. Remember that virtually everyone today has a cellphone that can record videos. Do you want to be in a viral video that shows your ugly side?
Even if not public, I felt stupid after everything pacifies. I did not admit it and try to justify my anger, but inside me, I felt silly for being mad.
2. When mad, people get hurt
I do not mean hurting people physically, but emotionally, which is worse. Physical wounds heal, but emotional damage are permanent scars. I do not want to hurt people physically, so why replace it with something worse?
“When you let out hurtful words, you damage your reputation.”
When you let out hurtful words, you damage your reputation. People will avoid you in fear of saying or doing things that might tick you off. They will be better off with people who they can express themselves freely without worrying about making them mad.
3. Being more tolerant of differences
Understand that everybody is different. Everybody is raised differently, yielding different views.
“People have their own set of standards and nobody has to abide by another’s”
People have their own set of standards and nobody has to abide by another’s. Some people think it is fine to call them “son” and think it is a light-hearted way of addressing them, some take it as offensive and condescending. Some think football is the best sport in the world, some think cricket is. If you can understand this, you can be more tolerant of each other’s differences.
Respect other’s opinion. Does it really matter if your sports team is the best while the other team is the most detestable? Does it really matter if your colleague hates you? Remember that we are but a speck in this world. Individual opinion rarely matters.
4. Learn to forgive
Easier said than done. Learning to forgive is a cliché, but people still have a hard time doing it. What do you really want to do if someone has wronged you? Do you want to hurt the person? Wish him misery for the rest of his life? Then what? What happens to you? Nothing. You will still be the same angry person you used to be, no better.
Tony Robbins’ ex-business partner once embezzled a quarter of a million dollars and ran his company $785,000 into debt. He was able to forgive his partner and instead thought of ways how his company can survive this setback.
What did the other person do to you? Did she post something offensive to you through social media?
5. Replace anger with understanding
Remember that there may be hidden reasons why the other person did what he did. I believe that there is inherent goodness in people, and there may always be a justifiable reason for the offensive behavior. Try to understand that we do not see through the other person’s mind. If we are in the other person’s situation, most probably, we would have done the same thing or at least understand the behavior.
“I believe that there is inherent goodness in people, and there may always be a justifiable reason for the offensive behavior.”
Someone cut you off in traffic? What if it was an emergency and the driver’s child is in need of immediate attention or the child would not survive?
While there are arguments that being angry may yield some benefits, I believe there are ways to gain the benefits of anger through some other way. Anger can be a motivating force, provide self-insight, or a negotiation strategy. However, even without anger, I feel I can motivate myself (as plenty of people already have), study myself, or do negotiations with a win-win result.
Do you have any comments, suggestions, or questions? Feel free to comment it below.
(featured image credit: BalanceByDeborahHutton CC License)