Posts Tagged ‘aggressiveanger’

ASSUME, ACCUSE, ASK

At some point in almost every person’s life, we have made false assumptions about another or blamed an innocent party for something they were not responsible for. Needless to say, both of these behaviors can lead to hurt feelings, people being offended and outraged or an angry defensive response from the targeted party. In some cases, it can prove extremely damaging to the relationship to the extent that an estrangement may occur or the offended party may seek retaliation of some sort.

Assumptions can be of a damaging, neutral or affirmative nature. Let’s examine each one:
There have been times when we have all assumed the worst about another person, particularly if it’s someone we don’t care for. You and your brother have never really gotten along with each other. He lent you his car over the weekend and a few days later discovered that the bumper was damaged. He assumes you are the one who is responsible since it was most recently in your possession. Without inquiring as to whether or not you have any knowledge of what happened, he automatically blames you. Regardless of the truth, he has declared you the guilty party and any investigation on his part is subsequently vacated. An incident such as this can be the catalyst that ends an already fragile brotherly bond.

A neutral assumption might look something like this: I presume that you will pick me up from work today as you have every day so far this week rather than ask you directly if you will be there as anticipated. While the assumption is neither favorable nor unfavorable, it can have a negative impact on the relationship should the other party fall to show up, not realizing that you were anticipating such. You feel disappointed or hurt by their actions; they are annoyed that you failed to ask them. While probably not serious enough to destroy the relationship, it can cause hard feelings that need to be addressed and resolved.

There are also times when we may make an affirmative assumption as well. Though less common, they often occur when someone we care about appears to be involved in an unsavory incident, for example. Imagine if someone witnesses a child doing drugs who bears a striking resemblance to your son and informs you of such. You become defensive and initially assume this person is only making these accusations because she dislikes your child, is a gossip, or wants to hurt your family. Negative assumption of the neighbor followed by an affirmative assumption of our child: you respond, “That can’t be possible. My son would never do drugs.” Wishing to believe the best about someone you care deeply about propels you to draw a positive conclusion without having any data to prove or disprove your theory. You look no further than your love for him and belief in your child’s innocence. You have formed an affirmative assumption.

As for accusations: when others accuse or blame us for something me may or may not have done, we feel as though we are under attack and our natural reaction to defend ourselves quickly goes into effect. Our anger escalates as we feel we are not being treated fairly. One serious accusation, regardless of its validity, can lead to a permanently damaged reputation and/or put the individual at serious risk. Consider accusations of sexual improprieties as an example. A person can lose their job without any proof of wrongdoing, can find themselves under investigation for a serious crime, and/or face the scorn and possible expulsion from their family. Accusations of any degree need to be given careful consideration before engaging them as they can have devastating consequences for the alleged offender.

In the case of a less serious personal interaction with another party where some matter has gone wrong and we are accused of being the sole party at fault, we naturally become agitated. Our perception is that the other party sees themselves as blameless, without having any accountability at all for what has transpired between them. Rarely when more than one person is involved does the fault lie with only one. Only when each party takes full ownership for their feelings, words, and behaviors can positive change occur. Personal responsibility is where our authentic power lies: our ability to choose (how we think, feel and behave).If my actions are problematic, I can choose to act in a different way, thereby effecting a different outcome. However, when I accuse and blame others I hold them fully accountable and in essence relinquish my power, thereby having no authority to effectively impact the situation.

When the tables are turned and we are the ones accusing or blaming others we fail to hold ourselves accountable on some level for the conditions around us: our financial struggles, our marital issues, joblessness or homelessness, poor health, lack of strong friendships, etc. We render ourselves powerless as we believe our circumstances are the result of some outside force rather than our own volition. Keep in mind, too, that powerlessness is one of the very foundations of anger.

Those who assume operate from a place of arrogance or indifference (to truth). When we make an assumption about an individual, in essence we are claiming to know without asking. “I possess superior intelligence, having the ability to assimilate information randomly. Therefore, I need not initiate in the inquiry process. I also have psychic abilities and can discern the motives behind your actions. I instinctively know that ‘why’ behind the ‘what’.” Assumers have no regard for truth. They only seek to support their own agenda; that is, they form a belief based on their feelings of those involved, collect all data to verify their claims, and avoid anything that may disprove their beliefs.

One would have little regard for a doctor who assumes to know what is ailing you. We would fully expect that they ask questions to uncover precisely what is causing you distress so that they may accurately diagnose and treat the condition. Anything less from them would be irresponsible and possible cause for legal action.

A police officer never assumes that the person holding the gun is the one who fired it, causing injury or death to a bystander. As obvious as it may appear, a responsible officer proceeds with an investigation, questioning anyone and everyone who may have any possible information that would lead to the prosecution of the rightful party.

Even in our judicial system, the accused is innocent until proven guilty. A prudent attorney will gather as much proof as possible to accurately locate and convict the person responsible for the crime and to protect the innocent party from a conviction.

Both assumptions and accusations are disrespectful to the other party as they show little interest in knowing the truth about them. Those who are truth seekers ask questions. They refrain from judging others or forming conclusions about a situation without first obtaining as much information about it or the individual as possible. They concern themselves with not having a scapegoat to hold accountable but rather for uncovering the facts so they can best address and resolve whatever the issue at hand is.

A fair minded person would never accuse or assume for fear of being grossly mistaken. One who is truly concerned about the well-being of others asks questions to be certain they know all of the facts before reaching a conclusion and deciding what steps to take next. It is the way in which each of us wants to be treated. As Ghandi so eloquently stated, “I must first be the change I want to see in others.” The Golden Rule instructs us to “Treat others as we wish to be treated.” The Bible commands us to “Judge not lest ye be judged.”

Therefore, be respectful of others as you would expect them to be of you. Refrain from assuming, accusing, and blaming. Ask questions instead. Be a seeker of truth. And only when you have obtained as much accurate information as possible, draw s just conclusion.

Q: “Those who seek the truth ask questions. Those who fear or are uninterested in the truth make assumptions or accusations. Always be a seeker of truth.”

Order The Secret Side of Anger, Second Edition or The Great Truth @ http://www.pfeifferpowerseminars.com/pps1-products.html

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IT’S NOT FAIR!

At one time or another, we’ve all complained that life isn’t fair. Children do it all the time: Karen, who is older by two years, is allowed to stay up later than her younger siblings. They complain to dad that they’re being treated unjustly, not realizing that at the same age her bedtime was thirty minutes earlier. As adults, we attribute this behavior to immaturity and expect that as children grow and develop this rationale will make way for a more judicious way of thinking . Sadly, many people carry this mind-set with them well into adulthood. Two of my favorite comedians from years back, Tom and Dick Smothers, had a standing skit where one grumbled that “Mom always liked you best!”, indicating a biased favoritism. On stage, this is entertaining. In real life, it’s unflattering and harmful.

Gary Zukov, NY Times bestselling author of The Seat of the Soul, says that the most important thing we have are our belief systems. Our entire lives are built upon them and if inaccurate we struggle and suffer. Believing that life was designed to be fair and balanced is a faulty tenet. When we see an perceived injustice we seek to recreate rightfulness. When it is not forthcoming, we feel frustrated and discriminated against. “I should have gotten that promotion, not the boss’s son. I’ve been here longer. That’s not fair!”

In our relationships, especially the close, personal or intimate ones, this kind of mindset can prove devastating. There are those who actually keep score: “I helped you when you needed it. Now you should give me a hand as well. That’s only right.” “I paid for our last evening out. Now it’s your turn.” In an attempt to keep things equitable, we manipulate the other party into feeling guilty should they decline our request. Seeking equality is a futile endeavor – it simply does not exist in an imperfect world inhabited by imperfect human beings. Attempting to do so is one of the quickest ways to build anger and resentment – toxic ingredients capable of destroying lives.

Life isn’t fair yet it is perfectly just. The lyrics to a Colin Raye song state that “You don’t always get what you want, you get what you need.” If we subscribe to this premise, which I do, then life is exactly what we need it to be. Each experience, each individual, each loss, each success is exactly what is necessary for us to fulfill our Divine Destiny, our Dharma (as Wayne Dyer calls it). If my child wants to be a great artist, I provide them with the proper canvases, brushes, and paints. If my son has a sprained ankle, I get him crutches. Identical? No. Fair? Yes. Each is receiving exactly what they need in that moment for their own good. Fair does not mean the same – it means having equal value. We become angry in part because we mistakenly assign random values to events and then compare what each of us has.

One of our greatest challenges lies in realizing that we are not meant to be treated alike but that the Universe, in all of its infinite wisdom, always provides exactly what we are meant to have for our higher good and that each experience has equal value.

What then is the solution to avoiding the bitterness and resentment assigned to the belief that life should be fair?

1. Remember that if life were perfectly balanced we would learn nothing: patience, appreciation, determination, forgiveness, and much more.

2. Celebrate the successes of others, extend compassion for their losses regardless of where you are in life, knowing that at the precise moment it is needed each will receive what they are intended to have.

3. Keep in mind that every single experience, no matter how insignificant, no matter how painful or frightening plays a unique role in fulfilling our Divine Destiny – which is always to bring us closer to God.

4. Don’t compare or keep score. One never fully realizes the challenges others are struggling with. Focus only on addressing and learning from your own. Failure to do so leads to self-pity, victimization, misery, and suffering.

5. Trust that God’s love for you always directs you to your highest good. Be at peace with your life. You are in good hands, the best hands, with God.

Life may not appear to be fair but it is always unbiased. Each of us is given exactly what we need to assist us in our spiritual growth and to bring us into a more intimate relationship with our Lord. Sounds pretty just to me.

Order The Secret Side of Anger, Second Edition or The Great Truth @ http://www.pfeifferpowerseminars.com/pps1-products.html

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EXPOSING COMMON MISCONCEPTIONS ABOUT ANGER

I’ve been presenting seminars on understanding and healing anger for 25 years and it never ceases to amaze me how much misinformation is circulating about one of life’s most powerful emotions. Lack of accurate facts and techniques can have serious repercussions in every aspect of life from relationships to health to joy and happiness. Consider the following myths and truths:

Myth #1. It’s wrong to get angry. Anger is a bad emotion.

Truth: In truth, all emotions are neutral and only have the value we assign them. Each one serves a necessary purpose as they act as messengers that provide great insight into the self: what matters to us vs what’s unimportant; where our values lie and what things violate them; what our expectations and judgments are concerning others, ourselves, and the world in general; what our personal issues are (in need of healing) which are currently causing us distress and trigger anger, jealousy, fear, etc.

Humans are hardwired to feel a wide variety of emotions which is a valuable asset. Once we are able to decipher the message and purpose of the feeling, we can use it to better understand ourselves, work on our personal issues and find peace with them, motivate us to make positive changes within ourselves and in our relationships or our environment.

Anger itself is neither wrong nor bad. Again, it’s a powerful messenger that alerts us to the fact that something in our life needs our attention to correct. It is the way in which we process it, express it, and use it that determines if it’s going to be a positive or negative force in our lives and in the lives of those affected. Anger can cause serious damage or allow for personal growth.

Myth #2. When you feel angry, it’s best to let it out and get it off your chest.

Truth: This is a double-edged sword. While suppressing or denying anger can prove detrimental to the one experiencing it (and ultimately to the relationship since those involved are not being honest with one another), doing so at the height of the emotion can be extremely risky. First let me state that it is not always necessary to express how you feel in that precise moment. Many issues can be resolved internally without ever verbalizing one’s displeasure. When I am angry, I need to first ask myself “Why do I allow this to bother me?” Very often, once I am able to answer that question I realize that it is my own perception, judgment or personal issues that need to be addressed. In truth, there may be nothing wrong or offensive about the other person’s behavior at all.

Sometimes, expressing your displeasure can hurt the other person’s feelings, cause the situation to escalate, give the appearance that you are unreasonable or hostile (if your anger is out of control), lead to embarrassment or regret, damage relationships, and more. People respond to various situations in one of two ways: either from an intellectual perspective or an emotional one. When operating from an intellectual mind, one collects all relevant data, processes it, and comes to a rational conclusion. When expressing themselves they are typically more calm and focused, offering logical, well thought out comments. Conversely, when one is highly emotional, they rarely act or speak logically. Emotions are powerful tools that cloud rational judgment and offer irrational statements, assumption, conclusions, and demands. It is best to practice the SWaT Strategy (from The Secret Side of Anger) giving yourself the necessary time to calm down, rethink the issue, and respond intelligently and fairly.

So the answer is both yes and no. There are times when it is perfectly acceptable and advantageous to let the other party know that you are upset with them or with what has transpired. Sharing feelings invites open dialogue that can clear the air, gain deeper insights, and strengthen relationships. In other circumstances, it is best to remain silent, giving oneself adequate time to process the event, draw a reasonable conclusion, find peace with it and let it go without revealing one’s initial displeasure.

Myth #3. You can’t help the way you feel.

Truth: Believing that one has no control over how they feel is one of the most dangerous and self-destructive beliefs one can have. In essence, they relinquish their authentic power over to others; they are at the mercy of how others treat them and their reaction to such. “You make me mad. You hurt my feelings. You embarrassed me.” They believe themselves to be powerless (the very definition of anger) thus putting themselves in the role of being a victim: helpless and without power. That is a terrifying place to be as others now have control over your feelings and life.

Anger, as are all emotions, is a choice. All emotions originate in the mind with a thought. I choose my thoughts and therefore choose the corresponding emotion. Thoughts are the single most powerful tool we have. Every decision ever made began with a thought. No one and nothing can control one’s mind. Someone may suggest that I think a certain way, let’s say that I should dislike a family member whom they despise. They may offer all sorts of reasons as to why I should hate them but ultimately I chose what I believe or disbelieve about the individual and those thoughts will ultimately dictate how I feel about them.

When my best friend fails to return my call after a week’s time, I can tell myself she’s being rude or consider that she might have simply forgotten. I decide if I want to be upset about a situation or just let it be. One evokes anger, the other compassion. Either way – my choice.

Myth #4. Other people/things make you angry.

Truth: People or events (outside stimuli) are triggers, not causes. Whenever we experience an event (something occurs, someone says/does something that does not meet our criteria for what we believe should happen) we become agitated. Pay careful attention to the expectations and demands you place on yourself and those around you. Unrealistic or unfair expectations are a leading cause of anger. We demand far too much from ourselves, (“I should be doing more/should be able to handle this”), from others (“He’s an adult. He needs to be more responsible.”), or from the world “(“If I work hard, I’ll be successful.”) Life and others will not always conform to our demands. When we experience disappointment, disillusionment, become frustrated or hurt we will create feelings of anger as we feel let down by others or the world.

Keep in mind that people are under no obligation to conform to our demands nor am we here to conform to theirs. Each of us has a God-given right to live life as best we can, keeping in mind that no one has a right to cause harm to another in any way. Remember too that life owes us nothing, therefore we have no right to expect anything other than what we create on our own.

Therefore it is imperative the consider that a simple readjustment of one’s expectations to something more reasonable and realistic for the situation alleviates any potential anger from manifesting. Pay careful attention to the thoughts you entertain concerning the event or individual you are engaging with. Those outside stimuli are only triggers; your anger arises from your thought process.

Myth #5. Anger is hereditary. If you have a bad temper you can’t help it – it’s in your genes.

Truth: Anger is a learned behavior. Claiming that it is inherited is an avoidance tactic – a way to circumvent taking responsibility for one’s attitude and subsequent behaviors and consequences. Children may grow up in a toxic and violent family and see anger as a normal way of life. But what is learned can be unlearned as well.

Under the right conditions, anyone can control their anger if necessary. If the consequences are potentially high enough (perhaps one risks getting fired for an explosive outburst at work) that person could contain their feelings until they were in a safer environment where the dangers of expressing it are far less. A bad temper is typically the result of one being overly sensitive and taking personal offense to minor infractions. Or it can arise from feelings of fear: the need to control in order to keep oneself safe and happy. All anger can be healed with the proper knowledge, tools, and commitment.

Myth #6. People with anger issues yell, scream, throw things, hit, punch, etc. Those who don’t react with aggression don’t have a problem with anger.
Truth: Not so. One is simply more apparent than the other. Many people are afraid to openly express how they feel and will keep their anger bottled up inside. This can lead to depression, health issues, relationship problems, addictions, somatizing (inflicting harm upon oneself such as self-mutilation or self-sabotage), self-loathing, and more. Others resort to sarcasm, the silent treatment or other covert behaviors. And still others are in denial of their anger believing that it is wrong and/or that they will be judged because of it. Either way, suppressing anger can have potentially deadly consequences.

It is critical to identify suppressed or denied anger within oneself. Those who are fearful of speaking up put themselves at risk for being used, abused, overlooked, taken advantage of and more. Their relationships lack truth and candor and will undoubtedly suffer the consequences. Sadly, undefined anger interferes with one’s ability to experience authentic happiness and joy in life. On every level, it can have devastating consequences.
Anger is a normal, healthy, useful, and necessary emotion. Acknowledge it when it arises, get to the root* of what is bothering you, heal those issues, and let the anger go. Anger appropriately utilized can yield positive benefits for you and those around you. Choose your emotions wisely for they direct the entire course of your life.

Q: Proverbs 15: “A hot-tempered man stirs up strife, But the slow to anger calms a dispute.”

*Learn more about the 3 root causes in The Secret Side of Anger
To order a copy of The Secret Side of Anger, Second Edition or The Great Truth visit http://www.pfeifferpowerseminars.com/pps1-products.html
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