Anger is a valid and important part of life the human community. It is a living part of the human puzzle. Anger has a message. “I’m listening,” it says. “Tell me what’s wrong. It’s important to me; I want to hear about it.” An unconscious emotion it may be, an inactive one, it is not!
If anger is an ally in life, when out of control, it can quickly turn into a nightmare. So instead trying to attack it, learn to pacify this powerful emotion. How? Here a few steps from the book Nonviolent Communication by Marshall Rosenberg that will help you better understand anger and be free of it.
1. First, question yourself. What’s wrong here? This helps you clearly identify the vibe within yourself in reaction to what is happening outside. What human need, or which of your values is being violated to make you this angry? Maybe it’s pain left over from an old wound. Anger becomes a beacon to alert you to the pain of that hurt. Notice the extraordinary power of emotion that unfolds within you now. A great strength is available, use it. Verbalized, your feelings could be summed up in this manner: “I am angry because I need to be listened to and you do not have time.”
2. Choose. Being angry is a tough, but vital, time to make a choice. Knowing your choices in advance is essential to your maturity as a person. Whether or not one accepts your choices, they still are valid. Take responsibility. Introspect and decide, for yourself first, what your choice is in the matter. An example of decisive thought: “I would prefer if you would leave right now for me to calm down and think.”
3. Make an affirmation. As in, “Here I am.” By clarifying your choices, you realize values fundamentally important to you at the same time. It’s a safe bet that you got angry because one of these very values was threatened in the conflict. You can express it as: “It is important for us to be available to each other; it is something that I consider necessary.” Take time to enjoy the values that make you who you are. Feel your power emerge when you say, “I firmly believe that what I have to say deserves to be heard, and can make a difference.”
4. Open up to others. This involves letting known the requirements, expectations or the circumstances that I expect in my relationships. As humans, we cannot demand changes in people we love. The challenge is to keep an open heart, even if the other’s behavior has not changed. This can manifest itself as, “Despite our differences, I continue to appreciate the person you are.” We must also allow others to speak (since listening is also a valuable action). Nothing works better than, “I’m listening.”
5. Anchor yourself. Now that you’re clear about your needs and personal values, you must act. The fifth step involves action, and can be expressed by a verbal agreement with the person at issue. This can be expressed as, “I pledge to…” (e.g., listen with sincerity, make myself more available, and so on).
Through this process, I suffered more, but I take back my power. A feeling of security and self-esteem solid settled. Once adopted by the repressed anger, my vitality starts to move and my life is more creative.