Posts Tagged ‘health’

ANGER: FIRE OR ICE?

It doesn’t take much to anger some people. Even the most innocent comments can cause some tempers to flare. Innocuous situations can be misinterpreted leading to screaming matches, cursing, or physical altercations. In an instant, violence can erupt where calm once existed and destruction of property, injury to one’s person, or psychological damage can occur. Patience, understanding, forgiveness, and compassion are replaced by personal entitlement and arrogance.

Consider this: recently a friend of mine named Sara had an encounter in a store with a unfamiliar woman. The woman’s shopping cart was blocking the isle so Sara, not knowing who the cart belonged to, moved it to the side. The owner became irate shouting that Sara had no right to touch her cart and should have asked before moving it. While I consider this a reasonable request, I do object to her method of inquiry. The woman’s purse was in the cart and she stated her concerned that someone could have taken it to which Sara replied with an attitude, “If you’re so worried about your purse maybe you shouldn’t have left it in the cart and walked away!” The banter escalated into cursing at which point Sara’s friend, Karen, stepped up stating arrogantly that if Sara had been white the woman never would have treated her this way. Sara concluded by cursing the woman out and leaving.
There is so much about this situation that was unfortunate. Certainly, had the woman not left her cart unattended blocking the aisle, none of this would have transpired. However, had Sara posed a simple request for the owner to identify herself, this issue could have been easily resolved by the person moving said cart herself. Regardless of Sara’s actions, the woman’s irate response was extremely rude and uncalled for. Rather than trying to diffuse things, each continued to escalate the situation. Sara’s sarcastic retort resulted in a tirade of profanity. As if that were not enough, Karen added more fire by turning this into a racial incident. (There was no evidence what-so-ever that race was a factor.) More profanity spewed by Sara at the other woman before exiting the store finally brought this event to a close. Fortunately for everyone, it did not become physical, resulting in injury and/or possible arrest.

There are several reasons why people respond this way:

1. Entitlement Mindset: Those with a sense of entitlement feel as though they are above others; that ordinary rules of common courtesy don’t apply to them; and that if they have been wronged in the past they now have a free pass to walk around with a chip on their shoulder.

2. Responsibility Evaders: They fail to take personal responsibility. Sara was quick to point out the mistakes of the other woman without taking ownership for her own actions. If one person acts poorly it does not justify the other responding likewise. Remember the old adage: two wrongs don’t make a right. The fact that Karen turned this into a racial issue, when there was no indication it was, is additional proof that neither was holding themselves accountable for escalating the situation. Making this incident about skin color, of which Sara has no control, alleviates her of being responsible simply by default. (“I did not choose my skin color, therefore I’m not responsible for racial discrimination nor my reaction to it.”) This irrational thought process is invalid both in a legal sense as well as on a spiritual level.

3. Power Hungry: There are those who thrive on drama and the sense of power it affords them when they incite it. There is a sense of power and control over the incident and the individuals involved. They know how to push buttons and evoke the desired response. This is a form of bullying that results from low self-esteem and feelings of insecurity.

4. Justice Seekers: One who perceives that prejudice has occurred feels the need for immediate justice and to restore a sense of fairness and balance to the relationship. A bruised ego, one who takes personal offense to another person’s actions, is propelled into the “fight” mode as a means of self-protection.

In summary, in any given situation, we can act like accelerants and add more fuel to the already dangerous fire. Or we can be as ice, calming and soothing, preventing any damage from occurring.
Alternative Responses:

1. Always be polite and respectful towards others regardless of their behavior. Your actions are a reflection of who you are. Be authentic to your inherent nature – love.

2. Give others the benefit of the doubt. Someone may be having a bad day or misinterpreted something you said or did. Make allowances whenever possible and give others a chance to redeem themselves.

3. Acknowledge their feelings and experience. There experience is valid to them and without recognition it is very difficult to move forward peacefully. Everyone seeks validation.

4. Offer an apology for anything that may have offended the other person. An apology is a powerful tool illustrating one’s sensitivity to the other person’s feelings or situation. It is not always an admission of guilt as many believe.

5. Practice diffusing statements such as “I’d like to discuss this so we can get the issue resolved.” “If we could both remain calm that would be really helpful.” “I’m interested in what you have to say.”

6. Be sincere in your desire to resolve the issue quickly and to the satisfaction of all parties.

7. Whatever you say or do, make certain it emanates from a place of kindness, respect, concern, and fairness for all parties.

Even the most innocent situations can turn ugly in an instant. Each of us has the ability to accelerate a heated situation by adding more fire to it through inciteful words or threatening actions or arrogant attitudes. Or we can extinguish the flames by adding ice: sincerity, respect, helpful suggestions, accountability, and fairness.
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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
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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/
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