Sunday, August 15, 2010

5 Steps to Peace After Anger Strikes

What do you do when someone makes you angry? Whether it's your spouse, friend or co-worker. Sometimes we lose our cool, blow our tops and say or do something to retaliate. Or maybe we do the opposite -- we just hold it in and don't deal with it. Either way, you are left feeling badly...and those bad feelings don't just evaporate. They must be dealt with.
Here are 5 simple steps to take the next time someone makes you angry. Try it and see if it works for you!

1. Immediately after the event, get pen and paper and write down exactly how you are feeling and what you are thinking. Get all of the negative feelings out. For example, "I am so frustrated." "I am so pissed off." "I can't believe she said that to me." "I can't believe he did that." "What a jerk!" Just get it all out! Write until you can write no more about it.

2. Now write down your intention for how you desire your relationship with that person to be. For example, "I intend to have a peaceful, loving and honest relationship with my spouse." or "I intend to have a positive, professional relationship with my coworker."

3. Next, write down everything you are grateful for when it comes to this person and this experience that has caused you grief. This can be tough, but it's important for you to soften your heart and realize there are gifts that come out of every negative situation. For example, "I am grateful I have a husband." "I am grateful he loves me." "I am grateful he helps around the house." Write down everything you can think of that relates to this relationship and the situation at hand. Once you have done this, you will be able to take the fourth step...

4. Write down what action steps you can take to own your part of the negative experience and move forward. You can't control the other person, but you can control yourself. What can you do? A big action step is to apologize. Maybe you could have done a better job communicating. Maybe you forgot to do something you said you would do. Or maybe you shouldn't have lost your cool. There is always something we could have done better.

5. Take Action. Now is time for the hard part. The apology. Yep, even though that person made you angry first. You are going to apologize first. And, when you do apologize, don't try to defend yourself by explaining why you did what you did -- especially if it puts blame on the other person -- that won't help. Just sincerely apologize. Tell that person you love them and that you will try to do better next time. Then, listen to what they have to say. Acknowledge your error. Tell them again that you love them and you will try to do better next time. Repeat this as many times as needed.

Some situations certainly will be more complex than a simple apology. Let me know if you need further guidance.

Written in honor of my family and friends -- the people I intend to experience loving, peaceful, honest and fun relationships with....

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