I have moments where it’s clear to me that I’m angry with someone. Do you ever feel that way? Sometimes, it’s someone who did something that hurt me many years ago. Sometimes, it’s the result of a dream I had, and the person actually never did anything at all!
In any case, I find that my anger often stems from a fear that’s hanging out in my head. As humans, we tend to combat fear with anger, because it gives us a sense of power. Otherwise, we feel weak and vulnerable in our fear. The truth of the matter is that fear is its own animal, and we need to confront fear to overcome it. I no more want to walk around afraid than I do angry, and I don’t have to. Confronting fear is the first huge step to overcoming it. When we do that, we can live confidently, peacefully, and happily.
I see people in business who harbor anger toward their competitors. There’s sometimes even hatred toward competition. While I believe in the power of competition to drive us, it’s a slippery slope to resort to anger and hatred. I propose that we dig into that anger and find the fear it’s hiding. What is it that we’re afraid of in our competition? Do they represent our potential for failure? Do they do something better than we do, and we’re envious of that advantage? Do they tell lies about us and cause others to doubt our integrity? Do they jackknife reasonable and fair profits for the sake of “winning?”
Whatever the case, it’s critically important that we identify the root cause of our fears and give them a name. Once fear has a name, it cannot hide from you any more. It cannot mask itself under a cloak of anger and poison you with the ill effects that constant anger has on us. Anger makes us weaker. It robs us of our joy and taints our wins and successes with bitterness and spite.
So, I’ve been searching within myself to find anger. When I find it, I start addressing it, giving it a name, and eradicating it. Here’s a quick formula for destroying your anger:
- Identify the person with whom you’re angry. Write the name at the top of a piece of paper.
- Next, write WHY you are (or were) angry with him/her. Be specific.
- Find the fear. What about that person’s choices made you feel unsafe or threatened in some way?
- How did that person have the power to make you feel compromised? How did you surrender your power to him/her?
- What different choices could YOU have made in that moment to maintain your safety?
- What different choices will you make when confronted with a similar situation in the future?
- Give yourself a smiley face at the bottom of the page. You’ve worked through your anger with ONE person and ONE situation.
Now, it’s probably not all as simple as that. Sometimes we have a lot of sheets of paper for a single person. That’s okay. With every sheet comes a little bit more freedom. As we put our fears to rest and make decisions about how we’re choosing NOW, we’re arming ourselves with true confidence and freedom from anger and its roots in fear.
Be happy! Anger is a waste of the precious time and energy you have to give. Tomorrow Begins Today.