We’ve all been there…wagging our finger at someone who we feel need’s shaming. But, as Marianne Williamson says, “It’s not our job to police the universe”.
But sometimes it feels like it IS our job!
Sometimes, someone does something that hits all our angry buttons at once and we not only fly off the handle, we hold onto that anger and stoke it like a fire. Anything can set us off if we’re triggered the right way…unconscious drivers, obnoxious coworkers, demanding family members…personal or not, there are times when we get overly upset and feel the need to rant and rave.
Whether it’s your boss, spouse, parent, child…we all have had the experience of been so angered that we start an entire make belief fight with them in our mind. Usually this involves you being vindicated in some way and almost always leaves them feeling ashamed and feeling horribly remorseful.
If this sounds familiar, it’s important to take a “time out” for yourself and notice the endless loop you are in. Whether it’s in your head, or on the computer as you rewrite an angry email over and over…however it’s transpiring, notice that you are stuck in an anger rut. (And don’t sent the email!)
Then, ask yourself how YOU are feeling. If you want to prove them wrong, that’s an indication that you feel you were let down and wronged in some way. It’s a signal that somehow, your expectations were not met. If you want to make them feel ashamed, take a look inward…are you ashamed of something yourself? Did they hurt you in some way? The desire to hurt someone else almost always comes out of our own feelings of being hurt.
First question to ask yourself: will confronting this person help me in any way? Will it open up the channels for communication, or will it lead to more negativity and failed communications?
If there is something you can do about the problem, I recommend taking at least 3 deep breaths. Then, respond respectfully and proactively rather than knee jerking a negative reactionary thought. And, if you feel like you will likely still overreact, go home and address it tomorrow after you’ve had a good night’s sleep.
If however, you know you are being irrational and want to let this go, there are a few things you can do to transform your feelings of upset into a more peaceful mindset.
#1. Ask yourself: Do I want to keep these attack thoughts? Can I find the place inside of me where I can genuinely say “I don’t want to feel this way towards them.”?
#2. Am I WILLING? Am I honestly willing to give up making them wrong over and over again in my head? Another way to ask that question is…what do I have to give up in order to let those thoughts go? What am I hanging onto?
Chances are, you will have to spend a good amount of time answering these questions. This is where journalling can be a huge help. It keeps your mind focussed in the present rather than drifting back into your anger again. You can clearly see your assumptions and your thoughts and then more easily find the place in you that’s ready and willing to drop this negative thinking.
Then what? Let it go. Some people visualize their thoughts in a balloon floating away. Or drifting down a stream or getting swept up in a breeze. For some people, just stating out loud “I am willing to let this go. I am now, letting this go.” is enough to feel peace.
However you do it, just do it. And then, when those feelings crop up again, (because they usually pop up again a few more times), you can kindly remind yourself that it’s actually in your best interest not to dwell on those thoughts anymore. You’ve examined your feelings on the matter and would rather feel peace, than anger.
As you know, I always like to start small. Start with the person that was so engrossed in their smartphone that they failed to look before they stepped in front of your car. Yeah, that unconscious idiot…start with your attack thoughts about them. Go through the process of asking if keeping these attack thoughts are helping you feel good. Find out where within you, you could be willing to let those thoughts go. And then, let them go…
I would love to hear your stories about this!