By Byron Loy, MA, LPC, LCPC, CRADC
Anger isn’t a wrong emotion or even a bad emotion. There are even some things which should probably make us angrier than they do. However, even in those instances, there are appropriate ways to handle our anger. Jesus told us, in Mathew 5:21, “You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘Do not murder, anyone who murders will be subject to judgment’.” So far so good, I hope…
However, Jesus goes on to say, “but I tell you that anyone who is angry with his brother or sister will be subject to judgment. Again, anyone who says to his brother, ‘Raca‘ [an Aramaic term of contempt], is answerable to the court. And anyone who says to his brother ‘You fool!’ is in danger of the fire of hell. Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar, and there, remember that your brother or sister has something against you; leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to them; then come and offer your gift.” (vs. 22-24)
Here’s 14 tips to “Cool Your Jets” when your “Rav Gets Toasted”:
- Anger is a secondary emotion. Stop in do a personal inventory – What else were you feeling and what thoughts led to those feelings?
- It is better to have a right relationship than to be right.
- Allow people to leave the room, or to be quiet, if they need to. If you try to make them talk, you are partially responsible if they say things you both regret. In an emotionally charged interaction, both people need to be allowed to state what they believe, and/or take a break when necessary, without being “forced” to stay and talk.
- If you need to take a break from an argument, set a time when you will return and talk.
- We often rehearse in our minds what we are going to say. Be sure to think kind thoughts and adopt an attitude of problem solving.
- Use “I feel…” statements, rather than “you…” statements that send a message of blaming the other person for your feelings.
- Avoid mind reading. It is unfair and often inaccurate. Ask questions instead.
- Avoid interrupting or talking over people.
- Avoid words like “Always” and “Never”. They are often overgeneralizations and lead to arguments about how exaggerated they are, distracting the conversation from the point.
- Avoid “why” questions, because they tend to lead people to become defensive.
- Work to understand rather than to convince.
- Keep your voice even and lower it in volume and octave. Not only does this help calm others, but even you will find yourself calming from the sound of your own voice.
- Do not use profanity or name-calling, as people will feel disrespected.
- Avoid belittling and sarcasm. Sarcasm comes from the Greek Sarcasmos, meaning “to rip the flesh”.
Byron Loy, LPC, LCPC at Agape Christian Counseling Services, is licensed counselor and certified alcohol and drug counselor in Missouri and Illinois. Graduating from Wheaton College in Illinois, he utilizes cognitive behavioral and family systems interventions to assist those he serves. With over 20 years of counseling experience, he appreciates the honor of serving others at some of the most difficult times of their life. Click on the picture to the left to read his bio.