How to Handle Being Pissed Off
Do you ever click on an internet link that you know you shouldn’t open? My “don’t click on that!” links include animal abuse, especially stupid and cruel treatment of horses. The link I recently clicked on against my better judgement was a video of a woman riding a horse and you could hear the voice of another woman who was supposedly the trainer.
The horse started to buck, and the “trainer” started to yell: “Hit him! Hit him in the head, it hurts more!” The rider began hitting the horse, and the trainer and other voices on the video were heard urging her on to beat the horse. It was disgusting.
I had an immediate emotional gut reaction. I wanted to take a whip and hit that so-called trainer in the face; how do YOU like it, bitch?
My heart ached for that horse, surrounded by humans who wanted to beat and hurt him. But what am I supposed to do with that anger, other than let it seethe inside me, which I know won’t change what happened to this horse. To carry anger at a video clip populated by total strangers is akin to drinking poison in the hopes that those strangers will get sick and die.
But what CAN we do with our anger. Isn’t it often justified?
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What I want to do when I see someone abusing a horse.
Even Christ, the Prince of Peace, charged into the temple with a whip, chased away the moneychangers, knocked over their tables, and set free the animals that were being sold for sacrifice.
If nobody ever got angry at injustice and did something about it, then injustice would be allowed to continue, and wrongs would not be made right.
It’s a balancing act with our emotions. How do we act on anger in a constructive way, without letting it eat us up inside?
“Get mad, then get over it." ~ Colin Powell
Here are some solutions:
1. Direct your anger towards problems, not people. So instead of thinking “That woman is a bitch” think instead “That isn’t the right way to train a horse. What can I do to promote a better way.”
2. Recognize the anger you see in another person, but don’t let it become your anger. “That woman must be really angry to take it out on a horse. I am not the kind of person who takes out anger on the innocent and helpless.”
3. Set your anger aside for now. Remember that time honored piece of advice for when you are mad at someone in your life: write a letter detailing all the reasons you are angry – let it all out. Then put the letter in a drawer and wait a few days, a week, a month; chances are when you go back and read it again, most of your anger will have evaporated.
4. Don’t hand over power to somebody else. If another person triggers anger in us, then we are giving them power to control our emotions. Especially don't give that power to some total stranger on the internet!
5. Anger can be a trigger, a warning light for something else. When anger washes over us like an unexpected wave, it’s an opportunity to reflect on what is really going on with our lives, something very personal that we haven’t wanted to think about.
6. Spare your friends, your family, your pets, and your horses. It’s all too easy to let festering anger out on people and animals who don’t deserve it.
7. Distract yourself. Go out and socialize with family or friends (But don’t dump your anger on them either; someone who is always bitching is not fun to be around). Watch a funny movie, take a sightseeing drive to someplace new, maybe even indulge in a little retail therapy.
Do you have a strategy for dealing with situations that make you angry? I would love to hear about it; share in the comments below.
To read some strategies on dealing with FRUSTRATION, click on this blog post.
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