We celebrate Valentine’s Day in February, so it’s a time to focus on how we relate.
What we believe has everything to do with how we love. Every so often, I write an article on relationship myths. Relationship Myth #3: In order to get what I want in my relationships I need to use anger. (See Relationship Myths #1 and #2)
How do you ask for what you want in a relationship? Do you use anger, pressure, or some form of unhappiness? I hear from many of my clients that anger gives them courage and energy to progress. They go on to tell me that anger intimidates their partner, who then gives in to what they want, otherwise they are not heard. At least, this is the myth that has made deep pathways in their minds.
Anger is usually a reaction to hurt, pain, or a by-product of some limiting belief, like ‘I don’t deserve love.’ Change the meaning of your situation. And remember, no one can MAKE you feel angry.
Besides, anger can have long-term effects on your health and well-being. For instance, a person with continual episodes of anger has a five-time greater chance of dying before age 50. Anger also elevates blood pressure and increases threat of stroke, and heart disease. It can even weaken the immune system.
All forms of anger prevent us from finding solutions and keep us in the reactive mode. Whenever you start to react with anger toward your loved ones, take several deep breaths and count to 10. This will help clear your mind. Consciously stop being a ‘reactionary.’
I have found that how we define a situation, changes the impact. Therefore,our perceptions change so we can respond without anger. Clients tell me that anger helped them achieve some results because they were able to bully the other person, but at an enormous price. They felt mentally and physically trapped. It doesn’t really lead to happiness, only short-term gratification. In reality, it was not working.
I think the crucial question is, why would we not strive, nor ask, for what we wanted if we were happy? Why do we believe we need the anger to ask for what we want? In addition to taking deep breaths, questioning our reactions can bring more peace.
Since I am the question lady, one solution is to ask yourself the following questions when you’re not in the throes of the conflict.
- If anger was there to tell me something, what might it be telling me?
- If I believe I need it, how much anger do I need to feel? And for how long?
I’m not saying that anger needs to be removed from our repertoire of emotions, nor do I mean that we should repress our anger. Sometimes anger may be needed. It may be our fuel to blast through challenges. However, if we find ourselves resorting to anger every time things don’t go our way, we might want to explore and heal the issues behind the anger.
A few more solutions to handle anger:
1. Practice laughing more. This is a short video by Dr Sanjay Gupta of CNN Health about Laughter Yoga.
I actually heard large laughing groups outside my hotel window early every morning in New Delhi.
2. An article in the Chicago Tribune reminds us of the old advice not to go to bed angry. How do you practice healthy relationships? How do you ask for what you want?
You are welcome to reprint, copy, or distribute Lenora Boyle’s article, provided author credit is included.