Understanding Anger

Do you know why people get angry?  There are several reasons, but here are a few.
If someone makes you feel inadequate, you will strike out in anger.  If something you value is being threatened, you will feel anger.  If someone is in emotional pain, they will be angry, and you’ll probably know they are angry by their behavior and the energy they exude.  What they are unconsciously saying is “I am in pain, here’s some for you”.  Most anger or victim energy is caused by people feeling a lack of self worth, and by getting angry, they no longer feeling like a victim.  But in changing from victim to anger energy, they are still a victim of their own unconsciousness, and still releasing harmful chemicals into their body.

“Anger is never without a reason, but seldom with a good one.”
—Benjamin Franklin

We get angry because things aren’t happening the way we want, yet getting angry is the least effective way to make things occur as we want, because we are in our reactive (unconscious) mind instead of our thinking (conscious) mind.  We are thinking, unconsciously, that if we get mad enough, the situation will change.  Let’s say something bad happens.  Wouldn’t it be easier to just accept the situation and do what needs to be done? Instead, we create anger and unhappiness because we are attached to the idea it shouldn’t have happened.  You unconsciously believe that your anger gives you power, because it makes you right and the situation wrong.  You unconsciously use your anger as a currency… thinking it can buy you a different outcome if you get sufficiently angry.  By becoming aware that your anger will not have a positive effect on the outcome, you can begin to accept what is happening, which will weaken and change these feelings of anger.

 “You will not be punished for your anger; you will be punished by your anger.”
—Buddha

Some kinds of anger can be positive.  Anger motivated by compassion can be a powerful force to bring about swift and decisive action.  There have been many leaders throughout our history that were motivated by their anger to disrupt the status quo, and consequently made some powerful and profound changes.  I am not talking about out of control anger, but anger energy that is focused on making a positive change.  You may get angry about starving children, which may motivate you to do something to help.

“The question is not whether we will be extremists, but what kind of extremists
 we will be.  Will we be extremists for hate or love?  Will we be extremists for
 the preservation of injustice or for the extension of justice.”
—Martin Luther King

But anger, when not motivated by compassion, can lead to hatred…and hatred has no positive qualities at all.  The destructive effects of hatred are easy to see.  Feeling hatred totally overwhelms a person, and destroys their peace and presence of mind, which is the best part of their being.  Anger and hatred are your worst enemies; you would allow nothing else to rent a room in your head, where its only function is to destroy you.

“Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coalwith the intent of throwing it at someone else;you are the one who gets burned.” — Buddha

The only cure for anger and hatred is for you to develop patience, tolerance, and compassion by being aware of your core energy and your perceptions.  When you take a strong stance from a place of compassion and tolerance instead of anger and hate, everything becomes easy, because you have access to all of your intelligence and reasoning ability.  When you never fall under the spell of anger, you will always have control of your world.  Try this: When you get angry at someone or feel hatred towards another human being…realize that if you could take a look into their secret past, you would see enough pain and suffering to disarm all of your hostility, and you will feel compassion for them instead.

“The first drawback of anger is that it destroys your inner peace; the second is that it distorts your view of reality. If you think about this and come to understand that anger is really unhelpful, that it is only destructive, 
you can begin to distance yourself from anger.”
—Dalai Lama

The next time you go out in the world, you might want to direct your attention to people—in their cars, on the sidewalk, talking on their cell phones—and just wish for them all to be happy and well and to rejoice in the comforts and pleasures that come their way.  All of us have a soft spot: a capacity for love, tenderness and compassion.  If we encourage this soft spot it will strengthen and grow; if we ignore it we may become bitter.

“Love is not what you want, it is what you are. It is very important to not get these two confused. If you think that love is what you want, you will go searching for it all over the place. If you think love is what you are, you will go sharing it all over the place. The second approach will cause you to find what the searching will never reveal.”
—Neale Donald Walsch

Now…think about the people or events that get you angry…and decide how you can change your perception and interpretation of them to one of understanding, tolerance, compassion, and love.  And watch as your energy changes from negative to positive…and decide which one feels better.

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