Conflict Resolution - How to Work with Your Anger

The messages we hear when growing up is that anger is wrong and that we shouldn’t be angry. The message comes from fear that our anger might lead to violent action.

We are told to suppress our anger or to get rid of it. We have all heard phrases like “calm down, cool off, swallow it, ignore them, go hit a punching bag, go somewhere and yell.”

Anger is a human emotion that we all experience. It naturally arises when a need we have is not being met. It is not wrong to feel anger.

In dealing with anger it is important to be able to transform the emotion into an articulated feeling. Identify what you are feeling and express them in words.

Telling someone that you are angry is different from blaming them for how you are feeling. It is liberating to be able to say why you feel angry. Instead of acting out your feelings by yelling, attacking or judging; you can, by experiencing and thinking about what you are feeling, contain your own emotion and use it to express yourself.

Two components of anger

When we explore our anger, we will find two components:

Body centered energy
Head centered judgments of right/wrong

Learning how to process both the physical and the mental components of your anger will give you the strength to get what you really want, to get your needs met.

Transforming Anger into Positive Energy

  1. Locate the anger in your body. It often feels like intense energy that is difficult to contain. You may feel agitated. Your body may feel warm. You may feel the need to be in action, to do something, to strike out. It’s your body’s way of trying to dissipate energy. Staying with the energy of the anger will begin to transmute it. It will become less intense and energetic.
  2. Own your anger. Recognize the judgments that are attached to it. Notice your belief that the other person is to blame for how you feel. This is an erroneous belief. It is true that, what the other person did or said triggered your anger, but the real source of your anger is a need that isn’t being met.
  3. Put your judgments of blame aside. Focus on your needs. Recognize that your unmet need is a wake up call. Ask yourself: what need is not being met by this person?
  4. It is legitimate for you to have this need. Take responsibility for having it. Own it. When you focus on your needs, instead of blaming the other for how you are feeling, the energy of your anger will transform into strength.
  5. Focus the strength energy, on getting your need met rather than on blaming the other person for not meeting it. Tell them what you are feeling, what need is not being met and ask them for something that would fulfill your need.