Posts Tagged ‘healing’

ALTERNATIVE RESPONSES TO ANGER

Life doesn’t always turn out the way we’d like. When situations take an unfavorable turn, we become upset, frustrated, or angry. When others don’t agree with us, live their life the way we think they should, or act in a manner we find disturbing, anger is a typical response. With the exception a few extreme circumstance, an angry reaction rarely improves the situation or endears us to the other party.
For the most part, humans have very strong opinions about how life should be, how others should behave, and about what circumstances should occur and how they should eventually conclude. We expect a certain outcome that aligns with our beliefs or with the efforts we put forth. When situations don’t progress or end according to our plans we experience angst as to how the outcome will affect us and/or those we care about. For example, the recent presidential election has a portion of the country frightened and angry about what the future holds with our new president. Unpredictable weather on our wedding day causes concern for the overall success and enjoyment of our special day.

In another regard, we are quick to complain when an individual is not behaving way we want them to or the way we think they should be. This anger evolves when we label and judge people based on our criteria of what we believe to be right regarding their attitudes, beliefs, behaviors, life-style choices, etc. A harsh assessment of the other party leads to harsh feelings as well. (Thoughts create feelings.)
When anger arises in these areas it’s an indication that frustration or fear is lurking beneath: frustration that we cannot control our circumstances and fear as to how that situation will impact us and those around us.

Anger also arises from hurt: if someone criticizes the way we look we may take personal offense. Their perceived cruelty and lack of regard for our feelings is disconcerting. We feel disrespected and our natural defenses take over, fueling the need to correct them, put them in their place or retaliate with an even more hurtful comment teaching them that we will not tolerate their ill-mannered behaviors.
In each of the above examples, anger gives us the momentary feeling of power in a situation where we feel we have lost authority. However, any person or situation that can cause us to react in a manner not beneficial to us actually has more clout that we do. Thoughtful consideration of what feelings and reply are most advantageous actually restores our authentic power.

Consider the following alternatives to anger:

Compassion: a compassionate response can be the perfect solution to anger. Compassion consists of both understanding and empathy. We can view the individual whose behavior we find unacceptable from a place of understanding. Each person has a right to live life according to their beliefs, dreams, needs, etc. If someone is struggling or acting inappropriately, rather than becoming irate because they are not living up to my ideals, I can remove the “shoulds” (unspoken expectations) and in my heart grant them permission to have the experience they are engaging in, knowing that it is a necessary part of their life’s journey. If they are struggling, lost, or in pain, I can choose to feel compassion or sadness for their suffering, hoping that they soon pass through their current challenge to a more joyful place. Being patient and always treating them with kindness (which may include setting some reasonable boundaries) during this time are all components of being compassionate. Choosing this alternative response softens one’s heart and prevents anger from manifesting.

Humor* is another powerful tool for diffusing anger. We take life far too seriously. We take personal offense to what others are saying or doing rather than remaining emotionally detached. After all, their behavior is a reflection of their internal environment and has nothing at all to do with me. We become agitated when things don’t go according to our plans yet in reality a life that conforms precisely to our dictates teaches us nothing. We worry and obsess over that which we have no control over or that which in reality is relatively unimportant. (Ten year rule: will this matter in ten years? Will I even remember it? If not, then it’s not important now.) Humor puts any serious situation into its proper perspective. It diffuses fear and angst; it acts as a protective barrier to emotional pain as we recognize that what is transpiring has nothing at all to do with me; and it makes light of that which in reality has no significant value.

So when others behave badly, find it in your heart to forgive them for their indiscretions rather that judge them. When life hands you the exact opposite of what you requested, make light of it. After all, this life is only temporary so why get so bend out of shape when it doesn’t conform to your ideals? Rain on your wedding day? Break out the umbrellas and boots and dance in the puddles!

*Just a note of caution: humor is not intended to be directed at the other party. One can find humor in the situation or make light of their own reaction or behavior. Humor must never direct it at the other person. To do so is disrespectful and may very well make the situation far worse than it is.

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

Listen to past shows on iHeart Radio @ http://ow.ly/OADTf
Listen to my newest iHeart Radio show, BETWEEN YOU AND GOD, @ http://ow.ly/OADJK
Follow me on Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Pinterest, Google+

MAD, SAD, OR GLAD: THE OPTIONS

We all get angry from time-to-time. Sometimes our anger is righteous, that is to say it is justifiable and other times without valid cause. For instance, imagine your child is late returning from an evening basketball game. He does not call to let you know that the game went into overtime. You’re unable to reach him and become fearful that something awful may have happened to him. It was also agreed upon that he would call if he was going to be late. Your trust has been violated in addition to the fact that you are frantic (fear: a root cause of anger). Most would agree that anger under these circumstances is an appropriate response.

An unjustifiable cause of anger can occur when we have unfair expectations of others. For example: we expect that every family member share equally in the care of their elderly parents. If the majority of the burden falls upon one member for whatever reason, that person may become irate and resentful of the others. However, perhaps the others are not logistically able to assist equally. Or their relationship may not be as strong as the primary caregiver, thereby dictating to them that their obligations are not as compulsory. To expect that others share the same values, commitment or goals as we do is unrealistic. Unmet expectations lead to anger and bitterness.

I’ve found myself in the latter situation. As my parents aged, they needed more care. However, the sibling who lived closest to them supplied sporadic care at best. I chose to put aside a minimum of one day every week to be with them, caring for whatever needs they had at each stage in their life. Over the course of twenty years, their needs increased and at times I felt overwhelmed and exhausted. I had to make a choice: I could be mad at the other sibling for not being more helpful or I could be sad that she was missing such a wonderful opportunity to care for two of the most loving parents ever created. I chose to feel sad for her rather than mad. Anger is judgmental and poses a threat to my emotional and physical well-being as well as interfering with my ability to live a serene life. Sadness, on the other hand, does neither. As long as I do not allow it to consume me, being sad can soften my heart with compassion towards her and prevents bitterness from manifesting.

The second alternative is to be glad. While this might sound like an unusual substitution for being angry, it is a very valid one. Regardless of life’s circumstances, I am always given the opportunity to be joyful. I can view this perceived imbalance of responsibility as a chance for me to learn to be more understanding, patient, kind, forgiving, respectful, and non judgmental. After, who am I to demand like attitudes or behaviors from anyone? Who am I to impose my way on another? I am here to do what I believe to be right; to do what God expects me to do; to follow my heart and my life’s path. My sibling is not on the same journey as I and I must respect her right to do what she needs to do. In this regard, I can find appreciation and happiness in an opportunity to further my spiritual development.

One is always free to change how they feel simply by refocusing their attention in a different manner. I can focus on what I am unhappy about, I can judge and label the other party, I can claim that the situation is unfair and imbalanced, and I can also choose to feel angry and sorry for myself. Or I can view the other person from a place of sadness that they are unaware of what they are missing out on; that they are misguided or resistant to embracing a powerful spiritual opportunity; that they are not fully living from a place of love and generosity as they appear to be more consumed with their own lives than that of their parents. Changing my thought process, my internal dialogue – what I say to myself about them and the situation – allows me to avoid the anger that comes from judgment and replace it with compassion that arises out of sadness for their misguided actions. I can then refocus my thoughts on the valuable lessons I’ve just acquired, the spiritual growth spurt I’ve enjoyed, and the many blessings surrounding me that I am forever grateful for.

Mad, sad or glad: the choice is yours. Choose your thoughts; choose your feelings. It’s entirely up to you.

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

Listen to past shows on iHeart Radio @ http://ow.ly/OADTf
Listen to my newest iHeart Radio show, BETWEEN YOU AND GOD, @ http://ow.ly/OADJK
Follow me on Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Pinterest, Google+

DIFFUSING FAMILY TENSION

I’ve spent over twenty years working with families as a spiritual life coach. Many of my clients divulge painful or embarrassing situations that their families are struggling with, believing there must be something wrong with them since other families they know appear so well adjusted. I assure them that even in the most seemingly normal families there are often veiled matters of concern. Dealing with tension and strife in our family units can present unique challenges. In our social environments we can more easily disengage or remove ourselves from problematic circumstances. But when your sister marries someone who defines the very essence of drama, exiting may not be a logical option. Is there a way families can reduce the amount to tension between them? While we may not be able to completely eliminate it, we most certainly can take measures to make family interactions more enjoyable.

1. Always be polite and cordial to every family member, even those you may not be particularly fond of. Avoid ignoring or showing favoritism as it can easily lead to hurt feelings, jealousy, and resentment.
2. In disagreements, refrain from using the terms right and wrong. Leave your ego out of all discussions and respect each person’s position.
3. Don’t second guess other people’s motives for what they are saying or doing. If you are uncertain, either give them the benefit of the doubt or ask questions to gain further clarity.
4. Avoid engaging in hot topics. If someone initiates a discussion known to evoke intense emotions, redirect the conversation to a more neutral issue. Likewise in regard to fuel-injected statements, those comments that are designed to anger the other person: “You Always…”, “I Never…”, “You have a problem!” “ANY” Words: Always, Never, and You can be toxic in conversations. Ban them from your vocabulary.
5. If you have an issue with a particular family member discuss it with them in private. Do not invite others into the conversation. Respect their privacy. Remember: too many cooks spoil the soup. Be respectful by refusing to gossip or speak unkindly about the individual with others as well.
6. Never interfere with the relationship between one family member and another. If you do not care for someone, at the very least be tolerant of others who still do.
7. Leave the past where it belongs. Do not dredge up old issues or reopen past wounds. Address current issues only.
8. If you find yourself becoming upset with someone, stop and discern what is really troubling you. Very often it has nothing to do with the other party. They may be triggering an unresolved issue within you that needs healing.
9. Whenever possible and appropriate, use humor as a way of diffusing tension. -appropriate being the optimum word.
10. In any situation, we have the option of being an instigator, participant, or healer of family tension. Always choose the latter. Be the voice of reason, the peacemaker, the example for others to follow. And if for some reason you cannot contribute to the well-being of your family then at the very least do not contaminate it further.

Family members may not always cooperate with your efforts. But remember: you are not here for their approval, you are here to please God. In the words of St. Francis: “Lord make me an instrument of your peace.”

Order The Secret Side of Anger, Second Edition or The Great Truth @ http://www.pfeifferpowerseminars.com/pps1-products.html
Listen to past shows on iHeart Radio @ http://www.iheart.com/talk/show/53-Anger-911-Radio/
Follow me on Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Pinterest, Google+