Posts Tagged ‘hurt’

P~R~E ANGER: PREVENT, REDUCE, ELIMINATE

You’ve heard me say in previous shows that anger is a normal, healthy, and in many cases a useful emotion. While some may believe that the feeling itself is wrong or bad, it’s not. It is the way we choose to express it and use it determines if it becomes a positive force in our lives to bring about beneficial change or a destructive force which makes matters worse for us or for those around us. Anger is nothing more than a warning sign that something is wrong according to our standards and beliefs: something violates our moral code of ethics, perhaps we witness an injustice occurring, or maybe someone or something poses a threat to us or someone else, and so on. Each of these alerts us that we must take appropriate action in order to restore balance, fairness, and safety to those affected. Once we understand the purpose of the anger showing up in our life we can relinquish it and focus 100% of our energy on the solution to whatever the issue is – to correcting that which needs fixing or is not working properly.

But what if I told you that there was a way you could prevent yourself from becoming angry from the get go? Or that you could radically reduce the amount of times you get angry and the severity of it? What if there was a way to completely eliminate anger from your life altogether? But if anger is truly useful, would it even be advantageous to never feel it again? I will tell you that you can do all three: prevent, reduce, and/or eliminate anger from your life without any harmful repercussions. Here’s how P~R~E Anger works:

PREVENT: Like the flu, it makes more sense to prevent getting sick than waiting until you are infected and then seek treatment. The first step in preventing anger from manifesting is to identify your triggers. Keeping in mind that there is a significant difference between root (internal) causes and triggers (outside events or people), awareness is the first key in recognizing those situations or individuals that elicit displeasure in us. Traffic, rude people, stressful situations, political conversation, criticism and so forth can all create feelings within us that are uncomfortable, distressing, and irritating. Therefore, whenever possible, avoid your stimulants. One would never knowingly walk through poison ivy but would circumvent it if given the opportunity. Doing so is both smart and self-loving. Care enough about yourself to only allow into your life that which enriches your life.

Granted, there are certain situations and/or people that we cannot easily avoid. Your boss, mother-in-law, unexpected traffic due to heavy volume, construction or accidents, medical emergencies – these are unpredictable or inevitable experiences that for a variety of reasons we must endure. Therefore, if you cannot circumvent your triggers, create a plan of action for when they show up. Know beforehand exactly how you will deal with each should you find yourself in that position. For example, if your boss likes to discuss baseball, knowing that you both support rival teams, and he continually points out how much better his team is than yours (trying to elicit a reaction from you), plan ahead to divert the conversation to another topic, explaining to him that you will not engage in this discussion for the following reasons. Or you can simply refuse to respond when he initiates the conversation or reply with a dispassionate comment. (Ex: simply state, “OK” and move on.)

REDUCE: Since all emotions originate from our thoughts, it is actually quite simple to dramatically reduce the amount of anger we experience along with its frequency, intensity, and duration. In any given situation, we form a thought about what is occurring, how it will impact us or those around us, and how we feel about it. What determines if we are ok with what is happening or not is based on the value we assign to it. Every issue is neutral in origin. It only carries the worth that we give it. If I view rising taxes as necessary to improve the quality of my life, then I am reasonably comfortable with it. However, if I believe politicians are misappropriating funds for their own personal gains, then I become irate. A reassessment of my thought process can alleviate any anguish I am experiencing. “There are many expenses that I’m unaware of that are contributing in part to the rise in my tax bill. Some of these are certainly necessary. Perhaps only a small portion is misused.” In this example, my anger might not completely subside but will be significantly reduced.

Also, a change in one’s perception (thought process) can easily reduce the number of times one becomes upset. Rain on the weekend that interferes with our outdoor plans can easily anger even the most accommodating person. However, rather than view the weather as the culprit to a ruined weekend, one can be grateful that the rain is replenishing the water sheds as well as appreciate the opportunity to engage in a fun indoor activity instead. Our internal dialogue, what we say to ourselves, determines how a situation impacts us. Two people can have the identical experience: one is at peace with it while the other is fuming. The only difference is their perception and willingness to reassess it to find its value. Once a positive value is assigned to a person or experience, anger cannot manifest because the experience or person is seen as an affirmative opportunity or blessing. Consider that when a difference of opinion arises, it can be viewed as annoying, that the other party is attacking my integrity, my level of intelligence or authority. Or, I can view conflict as opportunity to learn new ideas or to find new ways of doing thing better. Same experience, different perception, different emotions.

Take inventory of those issues that trigger your ire. Reassess them for their importance or relevance in your life. This will reduce the frequency. Should anger arise, pay careful attention to your internal dialogue. Change your thoughts, change your words, and your feelings will automatically follow suit. The intensity and duration of your upset will significantly decline.

ELIMINATE: If it were possible to completely eliminate anger, would that be beneficial or not? Before answering that question, let’s examine if it is even probable. Knowing that anger is a symptom of a deeper rooted cause, if we could initially identify the actual emotion we are experiencing before it converts to anger, then yes, we can eliminate it completely. However, this involves constant awareness of our surroundings, what is transpiring, and how we are being affected by it. In that regard, we can monitor how each event is impacting us at various levels from onset to completion. For example, if my best friend and I are discussing our diets, of which we are each subscribed to one radically different from the other’s, and she begins to comment unfavorably about my food choices, my attentiveness to my reaction to her comments immediately dictates that I am offended by her comments as they are attacking my level of intelligence. It is insulting to infer that I am not qualified to determine on my own what works best for me. This upset clearly indicates that I am hurt by her assessment of me. If I immediately address my hurt, and heal that by reminding myself that her comments may actually be her way of expressing her love for me, then I am more comfortable with her advice, thwarting any anger that may arise from my hurt feelings.

One can also train themselves to remain emotionally detached from their surroundings. Medical personnel working in a hospital’s ER do so. When a critical patient arrives, they do not allow themselves to become distressed but rather logically assess the situation and apply the proper care. In order to provide critical treatment they must remain emotionally neutral and respond only using their logical, rational brain. This takes great awareness and restraint on their part.

SUMMARY: Is it reasonable to think that any person could be so acutely aware of their inner self that anger would never surface? I believe that we have the potential to do so. But the greater question would be is it advantageous to eliminate anger from our lives entirely? I think not as it is a powerful and important emotion that serves a distinct purpose. Therefore, my recommendation would be to practice preventing and reducing the amount, intensity, and duration of anger in your life. Get to root of it, (hurt, fear, frustration), heal it and the anger never manifests. And in doing so, you will create more space for deeper joy, happiness, and inner peace.

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GOOD L~U~C DEALING WITH DIFFICULT PEOPLE

Last week, I spoke before a group of business professionals about dealing with difficult people. It seems that no matter where we are in life, whether at home with our families, in social settings, at work, or just out and about, we encounter challenging and obnoxious people. The first issue we must identify, however, is who the insufferable person is. Look in the mirror. Is the reflection one that others would label demanding, obstinate, stubborn, unmanageable or irritable? While it is not always easy to recognize our own imperfections, it is absolutely critical that we do so first. For if in fact, we are the one who is creating the difficulty, then a simple adjustment on our part can alleviate the problem and enable greater ease and cooperation with others. Remember Ghandi’s words: “I must first be the change I want to see in others.” If you are uncertain as to whether or not the issue is you, ask others for their assessment and input. Then listen open-mindedly to their response.

Having established that you are indeed the thoughtful and cooperative person, you realize that you seem to be a magnet for problematic people. Argumentative, stubborn, demanding, arrogant – whatever the nature of their behaviors – sometimes we are obliged to interact with them and do not have the option of disengaging. In such cases, is there a way we can collaborate with them that will make matters easier for all parties? Absolutely. It just takes a bit of Good L~U~C.

1. Listen. Very often, those who test our limits do so because they feel unimportant and are seeking recognition. Every human being desires to be heard, to have someone willing to listen to what they have to say. Whether it’s an opinion, feelings, sharing a dream or goal, discussing a regret from the past, or any other matter, genuine, undivided, from-the-heart listening sends a powerful message to the other party that they matter.

Time is one of our greatest commodities; it is one of the ways we measure what matters most to us. We make time for the people and activities that hold the greatest importance to us. Taking precious time away from a task, another person or even ourselves in order to hear what someone has to say lets them know that in that instant nothing matters more to us than they do. Being heard validates their worth. (Time is money; time is valuable. Therefore, if I give you my time it’s because you are important to me.) This simple act has unlimited benefits to all parties. It can boost a person’s self-esteem, bond both parties long after the experience is complete, offer an opportunity to practice selfless giving and concern, fosters mutual respect, alleviates stress, depression, anger, frustration, loneliness, feelings of isolation, and more. It hones our communication skills, promotes compassion and empathy, builds healthy relationships, and overall makes both parties feel good.
Listen with the intent to understand, not to respond.

2. Understand. In addition to being heard, all humans crave being understood. Listening to learn the facts about a person or issues is a far cry from fully understanding the nature of the matter or how it impacts the other party. Too often, we only listen half-heartedly. Our minds are divided between the person speaking and another interest. We hear their words and may understand intellectually what they are saying. But true understanding goes far beyond that – it also involves empathy, the ability to feel what the other person is experiencing.

In my “15 Minute Conflict Resolution Solution” training that I provide to corporations, I spend a significant amount of time on communication strategies. One of the most profound is something I call “Heart/Brain Communication”. It goes beyond the intellectual understanding of facts and figures and introduces the element of compassion, the ability to feel the feelings of the speaker along with a strong desire to alleviate any suffering they may be experiencing. This brings communication and understanding to a much deeper more personal level. This is what all of us seek.

Don’t misconstrue what I’m saying: understanding facts is critically important as well. So often, when people discuss an issue there is clearly a lack of knowing the specifics of what is being said. Misunderstandings, miscommunication, being vague or ambiguous leads to frustration, increased levels of stress, arguing, possible accusations and false judgments, aggravation, yelling, hurt feelings, and ultimately a breakdown in the relationship. Each of these elements leads to a distrust based not on a person’s deceitfulness but on a lack of clear communication masquerading as dishonesty or lies. Listen to understand on a factual level as well as an emotional one.

3. Cooperate and Compromise. When a lack of trust is not forthcoming in a relationship, whether warranted or imagined, people oftentimes become stubborn, arrogant, or difficult as a means of self-protection. Whether protecting their integrity, their feelings, needs, desires or wishes, their opinions or actions, people do so when they don’t feel safe in the other person’s company. By that I mean, they must know unequivocally and believe fully that they will not be ridiculed or criticized, that their well-being is of great importance to the other one, and that they will not be cheated or betrayed but rather treated fairly and with respect. Once a trust is established, they will naturally become more relaxed and cooperative.

One of the easiest and quickest ways of building trust is by being accommodating from the get go. Search for ways of working with them in a supportive role. Offer to be helpful whenever possible. Be willing to peacefully and respectfully negotiate whatever issue is before you agreeing to make whatever adjustments are possible in order to accommodate their needs and desires. Express your concern for their happiness and well-being verbally and follow through in your actions. Remember, too, that trust is built on integrity and promises kept. One indiscretion or broken promise can completely destroy that trust and it can take a long time to rebuild.

Compromise is another important component of cooperation. Again, people can be difficult due to latent fears they harbor that dictate they will not be treated fairly, that somehow their needs will be considered less important than others or hold no value at all. Making sure that their needs are addressed and fulfilled early on alleviates their concerns and the need to resist or to be defensive. “It is in giving that you shall receive.” Give a little upfront and you will receive their respect, trust, and support in return.

Depending on the nature of the relationship and the issues at hand, on some occasions it is perfectly acceptable to simply walk away from the difficult party and let things work themselves out. In other circumstances one must address the individual and find a way of getting along as best as possible. Don’t necessarily take the easy way out but know when it’s best to stay and when it’s best to walk away.

Remember, “The only way to defeat your adversary is by making him your ally. And you can do so with a little Good L~U~C: Listen, Understand, Cooperate and Compromise.” So Good L~U~C to all of you!

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

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ROAD RAGE: A MATTER OF LIFE OR DEATH

Recently, I’ve been driving into NY City to do mediations for a large clothing manufacture on Madison Ave. I used to teach classes at the Learning Annex and some of my son’s doctor’s were in the city as well. However, it’s been awhile and as incomprehensible as it may sound, NY has become even more congested than I remember. Along with additional vehicles, bikers, pedestrians, city workers and delivery trucks comes added frustration, impatience, anger, and rage. Whether in the heart of Manhattan, one of its suburbs, or major highways or bridges, our roadways have become even more dangerous to traverse than in prior years. Along with excessive speed and distracted drivers, aggressive driving has become the norm. We have all witnessed or personally experienced road rage and some have even engaged in it. Regardless of your level of involvement, road rage poses a serious threat to everyone and has proven to be deadly as well.

Stats: According to AutoAdvantage.com the cities with the most number of aggressive drivers are Miami, NY City, Boston, Los Angeles, and Washington, DC. Statistically young men are the most prone to road rage. A whopping 56% of men surveyed said they feel more rage on a daily basis verses only 44% of women and are more likely to act it out. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 94% of all accidents are caused by driver error and of those accidents, 33% are linked to behaviors assigned to road rage. In the1990’s AAA found that aggressive driving was linked to 218 deaths and shockingly that number has been rising by 7% each year. Half of all drivers subjected to another driver’s anger admitted to retaliating. Tragically, injury or death can occur even after the incident on the road is over. Drivers have been known to continue their anger even after the initial incident has concluded.

Triggers: the most frequent triggers of anger behind the wheel are being cut off, driving slow in the left lane, tailgating, flashing lights, rude gestures, stop and go traffic, failure to signal, careless/reckless driving such as speeding, weaving or frequent land changes, and excessive use of horn.
Be aware that if these incidences trigger anger in you, they will do the same to others drivers should you engage in them. Remember to be courteous to others as you would want them to be to you.

Causes: As with all anger or rage (intense anger), there are many triggers but only three root causes: hurt, fear, or frustration. Many who become enraged feel disrespected by those who engage in rude driving. This is actually an indication of being hurt. To disrespect means to devalue – one feels as though they are less important (in the eyes of the offender) than others are. Very often they feel targeted and personalize the other driver’s bad judgment. Keep in mind that their behaviors have nothing to do with you – behaviors are an expression of who the individual is and what their agenda is. Taking personal offense is the number one mistake people make that can convert any innocent incident into a more serious one.

Fear is another root cause of road rage: those drivers who cut us off or tailgate put us at risk for an accident and/or injury. Also, adults expect that those driving are mature and intelligent enough to know the rules of the road and obey them. When that is not forthcoming, people become frustrated that others haven’t or won’t learn responsible driving, are not capable, or that the system allows incompetent people to operate a motor vehicle.

Remember, too, that all emotions (anger and rage included) are not determined by the actual event but by how we choose to experience it (perception); what we say to ourselves about the situation; our thought process or internal voice. T~E~C~O Magic*: Thoughts, Emotion, Choice, Outcome. We choose our Thoughts which are the predecessors of our feelings or Emotions. Therefore, we choose how we feel about any given situation. Every Choice we make is determined by our Emotions: we act out what we feel. And every action (Choice) creates an Outcome or consequence. Therefore, in order to remain calm behind the wheel, one must continually monitor and choose their Thoughts. If someone is riding my bumper, I can say to myself, “This guy’s a jerk!” and instantly trigger rage. My rage then compels me to slow down my car to agitate him at which point he swerves to get around me, putting others and myself in jeopardy.

Or, I can say to myself, “Maybe he’s late for work and doesn’t want to lose his job.” In this instance, I’ll feel understanding and my reaction will be a compassionate one: I’ll move over to let him pass. Same incident but two drastically different outcomes, all determined by one thing only: my inner dialogue, or Thought process.

Tips if you’re the driver: ~Monitor your thoughts at all times. Remember that positive dialogue creates positive feelings such as understanding, calm, patience, etc. ~Before you react, ask yourself, “If I say/do _____, then _____ may happen. Is that smart, safe, logical, productive? Can I, as well as those I impact, live with the consequences of my actions for the remainder of their lives?” If the answer is uncertain or no, then refrain from proceeding. ~Choose an affirmative alternative. ~Change your perception (thoughts) about the other driver and/or the situation. ~Don’t personalize their behaviors. Remember, it’s never about you. Your actions are about you; theirs are about them. ~Always assume the best; give them the benefit of the doubt. “Maybe they didn’t see me when they cut in front of me.” ~Choose compassion, understanding, patience and forgiveness over rage. Ask yourself, “How many times have I been guilty of this same offense?” ~Always be courteous. ~Express gratitude “Thank God I was paying attention and didn’t hit him when he suddenly slammed on his brakes.” ~Avoid routes that trigger anger, such as high volume traffic, construction, etc. ~Practice deep breathing and/or sipping water while driving to maintain a sense of calm. ~Listen to motivational tapes or soothing music. ~Put post-it notes on your dashboard to serve as reminders to be a safe driver. ~View every driver, even those who are careless, as your mother, father, brother, sister, child or someone you deeply care about. You’ll be less inclined to disregard their safety.

Tips if you are the target: ~Don’t engage. ~Don’t make eye contact. ~Monitor your inner voice reminding yourself to keep calm and act responsibly. ~Remember your first priority is to keep yourself and your passengers safe (safety first). ~Remain focused on the road and driving safely. ~Take slow deep breaths. ~Recite a mantra or positive statement for focus. ~Do not return rude gestures. ~Do not stop your car, follow them, or cut them off. ~Do not roll down your window. ~Do not drive to or in a deserted area. ~Seek immediate help – dial 911 or drive to a well-lit/well-populated area, stay in your car and honk your horn to draw attention to yourself ~Drive to a police station or hospital for protection. ~Avoid! Avoid! Avoid! Immediately remove yourself from any potentially dangerous situation. Give angry drivers plenty of room. Let them pass if they want to. If someone cuts you off, slow down and let them. Do not speed up or obstruct their attempts. Never ever challenge them in any way shape or form. It could prove deadly.

R/D/C Method: Refuse, Diffuse, Choose
Refuse (to initiate or engage in dangerous driving); Diffuse (stop a bad situation from escalating using calming, responsible thoughts and actions); Choose safety over everything else. Make it your sole priority.

Final thoughts: Always choose safety first. Leave you ego locked in the trunk. This is neither the time nor place to become arrogant and self-righteous. As a responsible driver, we are all called upon to engage in safe, lawful driving habits, obey all laws, and extend courtesy to all those we encounter. It very well could be the deciding factor between life or death.

Remember: one bad choice can change your life forever! Smart actions save lives. DRIVE TO STAY ALIVE!

* TECO Magic, chapter 4 in The Secret Side of Anger

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
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