To be honest, I have always been angrier than my family and friends. When I was younger, I did not think much about it, but as I got older, I noticed how my anger has negatively affected my relationships with people more often than I would like. My inability to let go of those feelings and hold on to them has affected my life quality and the time spent with my loved ones.
When I was younger, I remember learning that it is better to speak about issues bothering you than holding them in, but I misused that information in my life. Yes, I agree that speaking up about critical issues is especially important, but I started to express myself regarding minor problems instead of thinking about them.
No one likes to be around an angry person, including me, but I have wasted so many hours of my life being mad at other people for minor reasons. I used to find most quotes regarding anger quite impractical, since I started to notice how much of my time I was spending being mad at others.
I asked others, and they said, “Don’t get angry,” which made me angrier because when you ask for help, it is not enough for people to tell you what you already know. I knew I needed not to be angry, but I needed to learn HOW not to be angry.
I have always been the type of person who is very particular about details, and if something doesn’t turn out exactly the way I want, I get more upset than an average person, which is quite a complex trait to have. I wouldn’t even want to hang out with myself when I am upset.
I used to believe that my anger was always justified and other people’s faults, so it made it seem okay to continue holding the grudge. However, when you spend most of your life being angry and upset with others, you waste too much time—time that you cannot get back.
So HOW do I stop getting angry?
I met this wise person who told me that there is nothing wrong with being angry because it is normal, and the problem with anger is how we express it. So, this goes against what I had learned about how we should express emotions and feelings. Of course, I was confused.
Having been angry for years, he told me that I would not stop being mad at will, but it is possible to change. He said to think about a few things when I get angry, which can be challenging in the heat of the moment, so I decided to write them down to look at them when I get mad.
“Ask if it is worth it.”
“How is this anger benefitting me now?”
“Do not react, no matter how mad you feel—hold it in and be patient.”
“Put your phone away.”
As I have gotten older, I have become more impulsive, and I felt the need to express my anger ASAP; and in this digital world, it means expressing feelings to friends, family, and social media that you can’t take back.
Often, I have regretted the things I have said and texted when I was angry. I always wish I could take something back. So, practicing patience is one of the best pieces of advice I got regarding anger. It allows me to feel anger but not react till I have had time to cool down. Generally, things don’t seem as awful after some time.
I am not saying that we need to hold things in, but it is always best not to express yourself in the heat of the moment because it usually comes out wrong.
It may sound dumb, but it might be the smartest thing I have learned recently. My dramatic and impatient nature struggles with waiting, but it is the wisest thing I can do. It prevents unnecessary conflict and the awkwardness afterward. It saves relationships, and it keeps me from hurting other people’s feelings.
It is not about letting all the anger go but thinking about it and seeing why it bothers you so much. Most anger is hidden sadness, and sometimes I think it is the way to show my strength, but I have hurt too many people in the process, so I am trying this time.
So now, whenever I get angry, I look at my notes and wait. It is tough to wait, but I know it is the best thing to do. It is a lesson I teach myself by practicing it one day at a time, and I know that it works.
I am working on never reacting to people but giving myself time to see if what caused the anger is worth it, and the truth is, it never is. I used to realize that too late, but now I want to stop making that mistake.
You need to know which emotions to express and which ones to hold in; that’s maturity.
When I feel myself boiling inside, I wait, breathe, and pray for the strength to let go of the anger that does not benefit me or anyone around me. It is the best present I can give myself now. I am working on controlling my anger rather than letting my anger control me.