The ABC’s of How to Quit Being Angry
Recently I was on a flight and happened to be sitting next to two Buddhist Monks. I said, “Hi” and we struck up a conversation. Somewhere along the line I said, “I’m writing an article on how to quit being angry. I know Monks are usually known for being peaceful and kind, but I just wanted to ask you… Do you ever get angry?“
He paused for a moment, looked up, as if to really ponder the question. I waited in anticipation for what he would say. Then finally he said, “I have been angry… (as he held up his fingers) two times.” I almost laughed, (…but didn’t dare. This was too good). Being the inquisitive individual that I am, I pushed the envelope a littler further by saying, “When?” This time he didn’t pause as long. He said, “Breakfast and Lunch”.
I said, “What happened?” I was imagining this orange-robe-wearing Monk to say something like,
“Well, they didn’t make my food the way I wanted, so I threw the bowl across the the room and it hit the wall!”
But he just looked at me and smiled— as if almost to say… “Hey, we’re all human, right?”
But this brings me to my first point in knowing how to quit being angry…
A. Accept the fact that you’re not perfect.
Now, this doesn’t somehow give you a license to be angry, right? Remember, we’re trying to figure out how to quit being angry.
That being said, and I hate to say this, but you’ve got to lower your standard just a little bit, and not expect yourself to always do or say the right things. Some of us are way too hard on ourselves, and it’s down right demoralizing if, everyday you look down on yourself for not being perfect.
Now, why do I say this? Because when we set our expectations too high of ourselves, it’s all that much easier to get angry. You’re mad at yourself, now you’re mad at your spouse; then you turn around and get mad at the dog… at the dog!?? And it continues to spiral downwards from there, and (to be honest) it’s downright hard to get out of!
So, take a deep breath and repeat after me, “I accept the fact that I’m not perfect.”
B. Begin to expect people to do stupid things.
Is it just me, or does it seems like there’s increase in knuckleheads out there today? I say this facetiously, of course, because I suppose I’m a fellow ‘knucklehead’ to many I encounter on a daily basis, without me even knowing it as well.
Sure, they’re not expecting me to do “something stupid”, but give it a minute— and I’ll get on your nerves as much as the next guy.
But doesn’t it drive you crazy; and make you extremely angry when people do stupid things? Why? Because you’re not expecting people to do stupid things. You’re expecting the “perfect day” where everyone is nice, friendly, and cheerful. But isn’t it about time to wake-up and smell the coffee, and to lower our expectations of how people act?
Both, you and I know that we don’t live in the same neighborhood as Mr. Rodgers.
But listen to this story…
There was a gal who was sitting behind me on a flight to Bangkok. As I ever so gently eased my seat back (“Oh, isn’t Robb so nice…”), I could feel her anger burning as she pushed her hands against my chair. Then she proceed to jam her knees in my back in a not-so-subtle fashion.
Oh, these people will truly test your ability to either stay calm, cool, and collected, or… fly off the handle in a fit of rage. And here’s the thing— they’re all around us every single day of your life! You literally can’t get away from them.
Like someone once said…
“Church would be such a wonderful place, if it wasn’t for the people.”
I suppose the same could be said of this entire world. But how do you quit being angry all the time? You can’t get away from these people. Remember my Monk friend? Maybe he thought he could escape the world and all the crazy people. But guess what? They’re everywhere! Even in the mirror!
Call me crazy if you want to, but I believe that God allows certain things (and people) in our lives for a reason— especially the people that get on your nerves everyday where you work. It’s a test. And you know what? You’re going to pass the test… eventually.
C. Cool your jets!
When I was a little kid and having a temper tantrum, my Mom used to say to me, “Robert James! Cool your jets!!” And you know what? Even though I didn’t know what “jets” were, I somehow understood what she was saying to me, and I stopped.
In other words… It’s time to change your emotional state and stop being run by your emotions all the time.
Some of us get so angry that it literally takes over!
- Dishes will fly.
- Walls get holes punched in them.
- Ugly words are spewed-out all over at the people we love.
- “Bird” signals are made in the rear-view mirror on the freeway.
- …and the list goes on and on.
Recently I was in a meeting and one of the guys there was just being a jerk. He was slamming things on the table and began complaining about this and that. Oh, I could feel my anger beginning to boil up on the inside of me. I wanted to give him a piece of mind FAST!
But at the exact moment I heard a little voice on the inside of me say…
“Robb? What? You were expecting him to be perfect?”
All-of-a-sudden I felt my anger dissipate into a corny kind of joy. It was as if I said to myself…
“Sure, go ahead and be a jerk. This is kind of fun to watch”, (…as I began to have a cheesy, sinister grin on my face).
- Do you struggle with anger?
- What’s the stupidest thing you’ve seen someone do?
- How do you quit being angry?
Let me know in the comment section below!
Until next time,
Don’t wait for tomorrow— Live your best life today!