I AM SO MAD AND ANGRY RIGHT NOW!!!
These words come out of Walter’s mouth at least once a day. And that is a good thing. It means that already, at almost 4 years old, he has learned to use his words and tell us how he is feeling. I’m pretty sure I was in my 20’s before I acquired that skill.
One of the harder aspects of intentional living is anger. Why on Earth would anyone get intentionally angry? And yet, anger happens. It is a healthy, normal process – if we let it be. Things happen, and we get upset. So, intentional anger isn’t so much about not getting angry, or about getting angry by choice, but more about making choices about what happens when we do get angry.
Here are 4 tips for intentional anger:
1. Don’t make it personal. It’s ok to be angry, but keep it to the issue, not the person. Focus on the problem, and not on what the other person is or isn’t. No name calling, and no hitting.
Example: Your kid just squeezed a brand new tube of toothpaste all over the bathroom counter?
Solution: Explain that you are angry – even if you yell it. Explain WHY you are angry, in words the other person can understand. It is completely appropriate to say something like, “I am very angry that there is a big mess and now we don’t have any toothpaste. Please don’t do that again.”
2. Make I statements. Try to start your statements with “I,” Especially instead of “you”. Saying things like, “I need help to do the dishes every night,” instead of, “You need to do the dishes every night,” will garner much more cooperation.
3. Focus on resolution. There is no happy ending in blame, shame, or trying to get someone to admit that they were wrong. The happy ending lies in finding a solution that works for everyone. So focus on getting the real issue out in the open, and finding a resolution for the issue. This is true, even for yourself.
Example: Your spouse isn’t pulling his or her weight on household chores.
Solution: Ask for the specifics of what you want done. Don’t name-call, make blanket statements like “always” or “never”, or try to force your spouse into admitting fault. Instead, specifically state your problem and your desired solution. “I cannot get all of the chores done by myself. I would really like for you to start putting away your own laundry, and make dinner one night per week.” But remember to be open to compromise, as well
4. Take a time out. When you feel completely overwhelmed with anger, walk away for a few minutes. Don’t make any major decisions. Just take a minute to calm down. If children are involved, it is ok to assure that they are in a safe spot and walk away from them for a little while, too.
What other intentional anger rules do you use?