So I was speaking to someone recently about how angry they were with some stressful things and people in their life.
I listened carefully and tried to empathize--also in full transparency, it got to be a lot and I at some point was begging them to stop!
At one point, I just said, instead of being angry maybe try to be compassionate.
And I could see in other person's reaction that they thought perhaps that I had hit on something a little eye-opening here.
We can get angry about all the stresses and injustices that we perceive in our lives.
People blame us, attack us, don't appreciate us, talk down to us, disrespect us, even bully us or try to hurt us.
Also life throws some pretty stinging to earth-shattering circumstances upon us.
And maybe we have every right to feel angry.
But usually the anger, unless we need the adrenaline-rush in fighting for our survival and for our core beliefs and values, doesn't help us achieve what we really want.
What we want most of the time is to resolve things!
But getting angry and lashing out often only makes things worse.
We act rashly, we overreact, we say and do things we may regret afterwards, and the consequences of our reaction can be severe to us afterwards in terms of alienating and harming others, escalating the situation and making it worse, creating hurt and destruction in our own wake, and even losing jobs or getting yourself in trouble and sent to the pokey.
If instead of getting angry and flinging arrows, we look at things from eyes of compassion, we can listen to others more carefully, understand the situation better, and try to rectify bad relationships or cope with stressful life events by employing emotional intelligence and a soft hand/skills.
This is not to say that we should excuse really bad behavior or truly unforgivable misdeeds, but rather that we should look at things in a larger context, the role we play, and as part of our our life challenges to make things better and overcome.
Anger and the associated response is appropriate when the little devil is doing their misdeeds (lashing out severely and/or repeatedly with harm and intent), but compassion can help to see everything else for what it is or isn't and gives us an opportunity to react with a level head, a stable hand, and humanity as a first resort. ;-)
(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)