Wednesday, November 25, 2015

The Illusion of Anger

I sent out an email about my upcoming show, The Illusion of Anger, and was met with an angry response. "Anger is NOT an illusion! People die from anger!" he wrote.  I am well aware of that. However, that is not the illusion I'm speaking of. According to Webster's dictionary, anger is a feeling of displeasure or discomfort brought about by feelings of helplessness or powerlessness. Powerlessness - feeling weak and vulnerable. I don't know anyone who is comfortable feeling helpless or fragile. It is natural for humans to want to feel safe. Anger provides us a sense of power and protection from a perceived harm. However, in some instances, this is actually an illusion. Let me explain. 

There are two types of anger: anger "the choice" and anger "the reaction". In the first one, the individual assesses the situation and mindfully determines whether or not it is deserving of their ire. "Is this issue important or can I let it slide?" A conscious evaluation that determines it's relatively minor dictates that it's not worth becoming upset about. Or perhaps it is significant in which case the individual intellectually chooses the best course of action, using their anger to bring about positive change. In this regard, anger proves advantageous and one truly has authority over it.
The second, reactionary anger, is characterized by the emotion gaining control over the individual causing them to act out irrationally, violently, or without regard for others, themselves, or anything around them. Logic is deficient as the person acts from a place of intense emotion and irrational thinking. Words and actions not typical of their behavior take precedent at which time there is little regard for any pain or suffering being inflicted on those around them nor any consideration being given to  possible future consequences. 

There are some who believe they need anger to survive - it serves as a means to protect themselves and prevent others from causing them harm. Those who are belligerent or aggressive feel others are less likely to take advantage of them or hurt them. However, like a drug, one can easily become dependent on anger as a means of survival and like any addict actually relinquishes their authority to illogical behavior.

When one is consumed with rage, they are in their weakest moment for they have given power over themselves to a situation or individual. "Rude drivers make me angry" relinquishes one's authority over their own feelings and ability to choose what serves them best. The illusion of anger is the deception that it empowers us. 

Our authentic power lies in our intellect, confidence, and free will. I have the ability to access whatever information I need to make a rational decision. I am confident that I can handle whatever situation I'm in or whomever  shows up in my life. I exercise the ability to make my own decisions and am not a slave to outside forces nor to my feelings. I have dominion over everything internal and maintain my composure in the face of a challenge. 

The key is to recognize when your anger is a deliberate choice or is reactionary in nature. Take control over yourself, your feelings, and your behaviors. That is where your authentic personal power lies. Utilize common sense, confidence, reasoning, and fairness and make anger "the choice" your course of action. In that way, you maintain authority over your life. 

Ephesians 4: 26 "In your anger do not sin."

Order  The Secret Side of Anger, Second Edition or The Great Truth @
Listen to past shows on iHeart Radio @
Listen to my newest iHeart Radio show, BETWEEN YOU AND GOD, @
Follow me on Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Pinterest, Google+

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Anger: The Bigger Picture

Have you ever found yourself in a situation that was somewhat confusing, uncomfortable or perhaps even dangerous? Sometimes it's hard to understand why things happen or why we must participate in particular activities. We don't often understand why certain people enter our lives or why they leave. "Living in the moment" is a wonderful philosophy but can obstruct our ability to more fully see the bigger picture, the why's and what for's. As a child, I believed I had the meanest parents in the world. In my limited mind, I could only see the restrictions they placed on me that prohibited me from doing the things I wanted or that appeared to be fun in the moment, such as climbing to the top of the 60 foot oak tree in the backyard. I found myself angry with them much of the time. Yet as I grew older, I understood that the decisions they made were for my well-being and designed to keep me safe and alive. 

Cleaning my room, doing my homework before playing with my friends, eating my veggies - each of these rules were part of the larger picture of my life. Being disciplined, nourishing my body or even  being leery of strangers all served me well later in life.
Consider this: as an adult, perhaps we're facing exploratory surgery that will be painful. This can cause us to become angry and bitter until the doctor explains that in doing she so will be able to uncover the serious medical issue plaguing us and with proper treatment can most likely correct it. 

There is much suffering that one must endure in life. With the recent terrorist attacks in Paris, the world is reeling from the shock of yet another atrocity committed against humanity. For many, there is no logic to these horrific events and people cry out for revenge while governments call for retaliation. Certainly I do not condone nor minimize the horrific acts perpetrated on our brothers and sisters yet I am able to see beyond the incident and understand this from a broader perspective. As a people we have collectively devalued human life. Due in part to technology which dehumanizes people through violent games, sexualized images, social media bullying, and a general disconnect from physical interaction with others, we have less regard for one another as human beings comprised of flesh and blood and feelings and needs. We have lost our ability to feel compassion and empathy for one another and prefer the company of our computers to that of others. Our tolerance levels have plummeted to zero and courtesy is almost nonexistent. Pews in churches that were once filled to capacity now sit in anticipation of the arrival of a few diehard followers. God's name is only spoken in conjunction with profanity and cynicism reigns  where optimism and cheerfulness once resided.

Yet in times of extreme tragedies, civilization remembers its humanity and reaches out in love and concern to embrace one another in a strong statement of solidarity. People turn to God in a desperate plea for guidance, assistance, and strength. Prayer replaces criticism; families gently hold one another in remembrance of their unity and love; footsteps echo in churches around the world as people come together in prayer. In a world where wrong has become right, and moral values have been replaced with a "do what makes you happy" mentality, where those who've been sworn to protect us are now viewed as criminals and greed overshadows generosity, a tragedy of this magnitude serves in part to remind us of what is truly important, pure and honorable. It helps to restore our sense of right and wrong and propels us to find ways to cohabitate in peaceful unity with one another. And while some may blame God for such horrific events, rest assured that He does not have the capacity to inflict harm upon His children. He endowed us with intellect, free will, and a set of 10 Commandments to ensure our well-being. We chose which path to take in life: one of violence and hatred or the path of righteousness and love.

Like the athlete who endures sore muscles, a torn cartilage or broken bones, in anticipation of achieving world-class status as the premier competitor in their sport, we must be willing to look at the bigger picture of any event that takes place in our personal lives or on a global level. When we look beyond the moment and explore the deeper meaning of what has occurred it enables us to see the purpose behind the event and thus replace anger with understanding and hope.

Know that there is always a bigger picture, a higher purpose to every person and event that touches our lives for each is meant to unite us in love and compassion and ultimately bring us into a closer union with God. And once acknowledged, anger can no longer thrive.

Order  The Secret Side of Anger, Second Edition or The Great Truth @

Listen to past shows on iHeart Radio @
Listen to my newest iHeart Radio show, BETWEEN YOU AND GOD, @
Follow me on Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Pinterest, Google+

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Mediation With a Twist

We all have the opportunity to be mediators at various times in our lives. Two family members are arguing and cannot come to a resolution about the issue in dispute. We intervene and lend a helping hand. Perhaps an objective third part can offer some insights or suggestions that have alluded both parties.

Where there is dissension there is discord which can easily lead to anger, aggression, and broken relationships . Our role is to help restore harmony between both parties so that they may find a peaceful resolution to the issue and maintain the integrity of their relationship.
How does one accomplish this without formal training as a mediator? Here are a few key points to remember:

1. Your role is not to find a solution to the issue but rather to be the peacekeeper, the voice of reason, to keep the tone of the conversation respectful and productive. Proverbs 20:203 "Only fools love to quarrel." Gently, but firmly, remind both sides to remain calm and polite at all times.

2. Encourage both sides to validate the other person's position. They need not agree with it but simply acknowledge that they heard what was said, realize it's importance to the other party, and will consider it in the process of finding a solution. This helps to alleviate any fear or concerns from both sides that could potentially lead to a breakdown of communication.

3. Model heart centered listening. That is, encourage both sides to be compassionate and thoughtful towards one another. Listen to understand, not simply with the intent to reply.

4. Resist the urge to shut the other person down when they are speaking. Refrain from
criticizing their ideas, feelings, or need. Practice being empathetic and sensitive towards one another. Psalm 141:3: "Help me to guard my words whenever I say something."

5. Challenge both sides on any inaccurate facts. Skewed knowledge can lead to heated arguments. Reference accurate resources for truthful information. Suggest both sides re evaluate their perceptions as well for any flaws.  Request that both try to see things from the other's point of view as well.

6. Suggest either one apologize when necessary for any thoughtless or hurtful comments or gestures they have made. A timely apology can squelch a rise in anger and immediately restore harmony to the discussion.

7. Suggest that both sides find a way to compromise. Being certain that both parties receive some of what they are seeking allows for a mutually satisfactory end result.

It's not difficult to help parties reach a reasonable solution to any dispute. The key is to keep the discussion peaceful and respectful at all times. In this way, both sides can be more comfortable and relaxed in voicing their opinions and concerns and ultimately, hopefully, reach an agreeable resolution.

Order  The Secret Side of Anger, Second Edition or The Great Truth @

Listen to past shows on iHeart Radio @
Listen to my newest iHeart Radio show, BETWEEN YOU AND GOD, @
Follow me on Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Pinterest, Google+

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

"WHY" This Gets Rid of Anger

It doesn't take much for some people to get angry. For others, the process takes a bit longer. There must be certain criteria present before one is willing to relinquish their serenity. For those who fly off the handle rather quickly, there is a simple one word question they can ask before choosing to become irate. The question is "Why?" Not "Why am I angry?" but rather "Why is this happening?" Let me clarify. 

Very often when an individual says or does something, we take issue with it and become upset without understanding the why behind it. We don't feel that person had any reason, or at least not a valid one, for saying or doing what they did. "I know I said I would help you paint your living room this weekend but I'm not going to be able to come over." You fly off the handle accusing the other party of lying to you and not being a good friend. Without seeking to understand the reason behind the action you form a judgment that is harsh, thus leading to feelings of betrayal and anger. The township where you reside passes several building codes that make no sense to you other than to cause you more aggravation and expense when remodeling your house. "This is absurd! They're trying to bleed me dry!" Your parent forbids you to date the captain of the football team and you scream "I'm 17 - I'll date whoever I want!"

Our lack of knowledge impairs our ability to surmise a rationale behind said actions. Lack of understanding leaves us feeling at a disadvantage;  it renders a sense of helpless and powerless, the very definition of anger. And we all know that knowledge is power. By simply asking "Why?" I may acquire the necessary explanation of the reasons behind the current situation. This enables me to better determine if there is valid reason to become upset. Understanding empowers. It enables me to make an informed, rational, logical, intelligent choice as to how to react and/or respond to the other party. I can exchange judgment for awareness and compassion, thus avoiding a negative reaction. 

How would you respond to an individual if you knew their motive behind their choice was well intentioned even though the end result did not reflect that? Perhaps that person really wanted to help and honestly did the best they could with the knowledge and skills afforded to them. There are times when a simple misunderstanding may prompt someone to make a decision that appears completely illogical to others. "Based on the set of choices I had at that time, I made the best decision I could." We don't always have the ideal set of options and sometimes must avail ourselves of the one with the most apparent advantages. A parent who denies a child something they want may be doing so in order to protect their offspring. Being too immature to fully understand their motives, the child throws a fit of rage. But upon clarification by the parents, their ire recedes as they more fully appreciate the concern behind the decision.

There are times when we may not be privy to the "why" and must make the best decision regardless.  Even in the event we acquiring the motivation behind the action, the individual may still feel justified in becoming angry. In those situations, be willing to carefully express your feelings while channeling your anger in a constructive manner.   
Before jumping to conclusions, seek to understand the "why" behind the action. You just may save yourself a lot of unnecessary angst and preserve the integrity of your relationship as well.

Order  The Secret Side of Anger, Second Edition or The Great Truth @
Listen to past shows on iHeart Radio @
Listen to my newest iHeart Radio show, BETWEEN YOU AND GOD, @
Follow me on Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Pinterest, Google+