Posts Tagged ‘anger’

Struggling to “Be Here Now”?

Thursday, October 23rd, 2008

Click here to read my English usage blogs.

Many of you know Ram Dass’s famous book, Be Here Now, the 1971 precursor to Eckhart Tolle’s The Power of Now. From the titles of these books, you get the idea that there is something to be gained from focusing on the present rather than being run by our painful past or anxiously awaiting the unknowable future. Easier said than done, perhaps.

We have all seen (or have) the bumper stickers that say, “I’d rather be ____.” And who doesn’t say wistfully, “I wish,” ending the sentence with fantasies of Friday/the weekend/vacation/a new job/a new relationship/more wealth. There’s nothing wrong with wishing and hoping and fantasizing. It’s a testament to our optimism and unique ability as humans to imagine the future. However, this same ability sometimes works against us.

One of my clients told me that he and his wife are going through a tough time. He’s afraid they may not make it. After a brief pause, he added, “Jane, I want to be hopeful. So I’m just going to put my anger and hurt aside.”

If it’s possible for this man to truly let go of his anger and hurt with the snap of his fingers, then more power to him. But if his hope depends on ignoring his painful feelings, that hope is bound to be short lived. Anger and disappointment, ignored and pushed aside, tend to recirculate. As much as we try, denying “what is” doesn’t make “what isn’t” more attainable.

Like this husband in pain, I often wish I were “there,” or at least anywhere-but-here, now. But we can only change that which we acknowledge exists. If we can practice sitting with our feelings as they are—all of them, not just the comfortable or happy ones—if we can stay present with the present, we notice that our feelings evolve.

Anger dissolves into hurt, sometimes tinged with regret. Hurt and regret give way to sadness and mourning. If we don’t run from this grief, it eventually leads to a unique combination of acceptance, forgiveness, understanding, and compassion. From this fertile soil, wisdom sprouts, flowering into grace. Grace releases us from the grip of suffering. We begin to notice that we feel free where we formerly felt constrained and tight. This process may happen slowly or quickly, but with patience, compassion for our struggle, and perseverance, it will happen. Isn’t this worth being here now for?

Announcements

Click here to read more about Jane’s popular self-help book, Enough Is Enough! Stop Enduring and Start Living Your Extraordinary Life, #15 on Amazon’s bestseller list in the spirituality category.

Dear Jane Podcasts
Listen to and Download Dear Jane Podcasts
I’ve got 32 podcasts available for listening so enjoy!
________________________________________
Jane’s Coaching and Training
For over 20 years, Jane Straus has coached individuals and groups, facilitated organizational retreats, conducted training programs, and presented keynotes for corporations and nonprofits nationwide.
To get exceptional results from coaching and training, you need someone who knows how to assess blind spots as well as enhance strengths. Jane’s coaching helps individuals and groups maximize their potential and improve their productivity and work relationships. Jane works to ensure that each client receives the wisdom, skills, and support he/she needs to succeed and often co-facilitates with industry-specific leaders who have chosen to mentor the next generation.
Contact Jane directly at Jane@janestraus.com to discuss your coaching or training needs or visit JaneStraus.com for more information and testimonials.

Click here to read Jane’s article in USA Today on the lessons we can glean from celebrity breakups.
________________________________________
The Blue Book of Grammar and Punctuation 10th Edition
Amazon’s #1 Bestseller in Four Categories!
#1 in Reading
#1 in Lesson Planning
#1 in Vocabulary
#1 in Grammar

An indispensable tool for busy professionals, teachers, students, home-school families, editors, writers, & proofreaders. You can view the entire contents of The Blue Book of Grammar and Punctuation online here. Plus get over 200 Subscription Quizzes that can be done online with instant answers or downloaded and copied to your heart’s content! Only $29.95/year (over $171.00 in savings!). Discounts available for schools, bookstores, and multiple copies. Order your copy today!

Insights on Bullying

Tuesday, August 26th, 2008

Click here to read my English usage blogs.

If only the saying, Sticks and stones may break my bones, but names will never hurt me were true. In reality, being judged, teased, or made fun of, that is, being bullied, can break one’s spirit and cause deep scars.

Children who are abused or ridiculed by their peers, siblings, even teachers or parents can’t help but believe that there is truth behind the cutting words or angry slap. To a child, everything is personal. They are likely to blame themselves for causing others to hate them enough to hurt them. What happens from there?
When someone is bullied, they are apt to go into endurance mode. In Enough Is Enough, I offer this about the dangers of endurance: Endurance is when you wake up in the morning assuming today will be as emotionally painful as yesterday and the day before. Endurance means that you don’t experience 365 different days a year; you experience the same day 365 times a year. Endurance is believing that your wishes, dreams, and goals don’t matter. Endurance is hopelessness, dread, and anxiety.

Those who have been bullied suffer from endurance and are likely to develop a belief system that is severely limiting, self-judgmental, and fear-based. What are the symptoms of this suffering?

If a child doesn’t commit suicide, get strung out on drugs, or have a fatal “accident,” he or she often grows up exhibiting Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome, becoming distrustful, secretive, self-abusing, and sometimes even abusive towards others as a result of all their pent-up hurt, rage, and humiliation. So how can we stop the bullying? How can we help those who are being bullied?

The good news is that bullying is finally receiving the attention it warrants. We are recognizing that bullying creates more bullying, is a trigger for depression, suicide, and drug abuse among teens, and often creates a lifetime of disorders that hinder people from thriving.

One story currently garnering major press began in my home town of Mill Valley, California, at my daughter’s school, Tamalpais High. Two sisters who attend the school, Emily and Sarah Buder, along with their mother Janet, read an article about a girl, Olivia, in another town, who had suffered from bullying at her middle school. Although the Buders had never met Olivia, they felt compassion and wanted to reach out. They began an e-mail campaign requesting other teenagers and anyone who had ever suffered from bullying to write to Olivia. Fast forward: After just a few months, thousands of letters had poured in from all over the world to support Olivia and her mother.

Olivia has come to believe that there are many good people in the world. In addition, truly eye-opening were the letters she received from bullies. What she and the Buder sisters learned from these bullies is that they are also victims of emotional or physical abuse themselves.

The story of these two girls making a difference in the life of a stranger and the lessons they all learned is now available as an inspiring book just published by HarperCollins called Letters to a Bullied Girl. If you have a child who has been bullied, if you know of someone suffering from bullying, or if you were EVER bullied, I encourage you to get this book, available at Amazon now.

Bullying is a cycle. To stop it, we must take it out of our collective closet, just as we have finally begun to do with sexual abuse and domestic violence. By opening our eyes to the symptoms of those who are being bullied—depression, self-destructive behaviors, frequent “accidents,” suicide threats, anxiety, poor performance at school, difficulty concentrating, drug abuse—we let those who are suffering know that they need not endure ridicule and abuse in silence. If you have the courage to ask, you may find that a child has the desire to share this secret with you. Few want to live with the secret of being bullied. Most think they have no other choice.

Most importantly, to stop the cycle of bullying, we must remember that anyone who bullies has likely been the target of bullying themselves. While we need to have zero tolerance for the behavior, we must reach out to the bullies, protect them from further abuse, and treat their emotional scars. As the writer Alexander Soltzenitzen wrote (slight paraphrase): “Wouldn’t it be wonderful to take all the evil people and put them over there, then we wouldn’t have to deal with them. And all of us good people would stay right here. The problem is that the line separating good and evil cuts right through the human heart.”

Let’s get out of Courtroom Earth where we label bullies and simply punish them, and set up Classroom Earth where we open our hearts, remembering that harsh and hurtful behaviors are disguised cries for help.

The Buder sisters didn’t know what a difference they would make in one girl’s life and now, through the book, in possibly tens of thousands of lives. They were simply compelled to do something. Whatever compels you, trust it. You are bound to make a difference.

Announcements

Click here to read more about Jane’s popular self-help book, Enough Is Enough! Stop Enduring and Start Living Your Extraordinary Life, #15 on Amazon’s bestseller list in the spirituality category.

Dear Jane Podcasts
NEW! Listen to and Download Dear Jane Podcasts
I’ve got 32 podcasts available for listening so enjoy!
________________________________________
Jane’s Coaching and Training
For over 20 years, Jane Straus has coached individuals and groups, facilitated organizational retreats, conducted training programs, and presented keynotes for corporations and nonprofits nationwide.
To get exceptional results from coaching and training, you need someone who knows how to assess blind spots as well as enhance strengths. Jane’s coaching helps individuals and groups maximize their potential and improve their productivity and work relationships. Jane works to ensure that each client receives the wisdom, skills, and support he/she needs to succeed and often co-facilitates with industry-specific leaders who have chosen to mentor the next generation.
Contact Jane directly at Jane@janestraus.com to discuss your coaching or training needs or visit JaneStraus.com for more information and testimonials.

Click here to read Jane’s article in USA Today on the lessons we can glean from celebrity breakups.
________________________________________
The Blue Book of Grammar and Punctuation 10th Edition
Amazon’s #1 Bestseller in Four Categories!
#1 in Reading
#1 in Lesson Planning
#1 in Vocabulary
#1 in Grammar

An indispensable tool for busy professionals, teachers, students, home-school families, editors, writers, & proofreaders. Click here to see the contents of the book online. Plus 161 Subscription Quizzes that can be done online with instant answers or downloaded and copied to your heart’s content! Only $29.95/year. Discounts available for schools, bookstores, and multiple copies. Click to order

The Gift of a “No Holds Barred” Apology

Saturday, January 5th, 2008

(Click here to read my English usage blogs.)

Recently, Ron Whitney, a life coach and lay counselor at his church, wrote to tell me that he had read my book, Enough Is Enough! He added, “I hope I am not being out of line, but as I read the chapter on forgiveness, I could not help but think that you might appreciate a letter I wrote to my ex-wife several years ago.”

Well, I thought so much of Ron’s letter that I asked his permission to reprint it for you. It is a wonderful example of (1) an unconditional apology (no ifs, ands, or buts), (2) self-forgiveness, and (3) nonattachment to outcome. (Ron asked for and expected nothing in response.)

Dear ____,

I have agonized over writing you for several years, trying to figure out how I would say what I want to say.

I want to tell you how deeply sorry I am that I offended you in numerous ways during our marriage. I am deeply sorry that I was not emotionally available to you. You were right in your frequent complaints that I “was always down the street and around the corner.” I am deeply sorry that I allowed my interests in Auburn football, softball, umpiring and church activities get in the way of our relationship. I am deeply sorry that I did not express my anger toward you when anger would have been an appropriate response. I recall on more than one occasion you asked me if I never got angry with you. My response was always, “I choose not to get angry.” I was so arrogant. I am deeply sorry that I did not confront you in a loving, compassionate way when I thought you were out of line. I am deeply sorry that I denied for almost all of our married life that I had a problem or that we had a problem.

I hope that you will forgive me for these ways I am aware that I offended you and caused you great pain. I also hope that you will forgive me for those offenses of which I am not aware.

Sincerely,
Ron

How many of us long for such a letter? How many of us would feel unconditionally loved by someone’s willingness to admit the wrongs they perpetrated against us?

I hope that Ron’s letter to his ex-wife serves as a reminder that you deserve such a letter, whether you ever receive one or not. And perhaps it’s time for you to write such a letter to someone who deserves the gift of your amends.

Jane Straus is a trusted life coach, dynamic keynote speaker, and the author of Enough Is Enough! Stop Enduring and Start Living Your Extraordinary Life. With humor and grace, Jane offers her clients and seminar participants insights and exercises to ensure that the next chapter of their lives is about thriving as the unique individuals they have always been and the extraordinary ones they are still becoming. She serves clients worldwide and invites you to visit her site, www.stopenduring.com. Here you will find excerpts from her book, more articles, TV and radio interviews, and clips from her presentations.

She is also the author of The Blue Book of Grammar and Punctuation, www.grammarbook.com, an award-winning online resource and workbook with easy-to-understand rules, real-world examples, and fun quizzes. Contact Jane at Jane@JaneStraus.com.

Anger and Decision Making

Friday, October 26th, 2007
 
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Dear Jane,
I was numb in my marriage for over ten years before starting therapy. Now I recognize that I have been angry and resentful towards my wife and want a divorce. I was ready to tell her this the other night after dinner. But we were watching Dr. Phil and he told a woman who was in the same situation that she wasn’t ready for a divorce until she’d worked through all her anger and was clear headed. With a lot of conviction, he said that as long as she could get riled up at her husband’s behavior, she wasn’t ready to leave. Needless to say, that shut me up. Do you agree with Dr. Phil? Am I not ready yet? Do I have to wait until I’ve released all my anger? How will I know that I’m not just going numb again?

Dr. Phil’s advice is based on the premise that most of us don’t know how to work with our anger consciously enough to make good decisions while in the throes of it. However, as I write about in Enough Is Enough!, anger can give us important information if we learn how to listen to its meaning.

Anger is a secondary emotion. In other words, we may feel anger first, but underneath anger are resentment, hurt, fear, and/or sadness. If we want to make good decisions, we need to get beneath the anger to our more vulnerable feelings.

Hearing about your anger and prior numbness, I imagine that underneath it you feel resentment towards your wife. But underneath every resentment is a personal regret. What do you regret about your own behavior? Do you regret being numb for so long? Do you regret wasting precious years of your life without experiencing intimacy with a partner? Do you regret being too afraid to look at your marriage honestly before now?

Once you are honest with yourself about your regrets, the next step is to give yourself compassion and forgive yourself. Take whatever time you require to do this until you are no longer in self-blame. Then you will be clear enough to choose whether to stay or to go. Even though you may not be done with feeling all your anger, every time it emerges, you will know how to work with it to get to your deeper truth. As you become competent with your anger, it will no longer run you; it will serve to give you the valuable information you need to make self-loving decisions.

Announcements

Enough Is Enough! Seminar in New Orleans
I have been invited to New Orleans to give a workshop on November 18, 2007 for some folks whose lives were impacted by Katrina. During my stay, I will keep a video diary, which I will upload to my Web site, StopEnduring.com. If you live in New Orleans, you are invited to attend this free workshop. Contact me at Jane@janestraus.com.

Donation of The Blue Book of Grammar and Punctuation to New Orleans Schools
I am donating 120 copies of the Eighth Edition of her bestselling reference guide and workbook, The Blue Book of Grammar and Punctuation. If you know of a school in the New Orleans area that could use the book, contact Jane at Jane@janestraus.com.

Jane on TV January 10, 2008
I will be interviewed on NBC 11’s The Bay Area Today on January 10. I will be talking about New Year’s resolutions. Expect a fresh take on the subject. More details to follow.

Jane Straus is a trusted life coach, dynamic keynote speaker, and the author of Enough Is Enough! Stop Enduring and Start Living Your Extraordinary Life. With humor and grace, Jane offers her clients and seminar participants insights and exercises to ensure that the next chapter of their lives is about thriving as the unique individuals they have always been and the extraordinary ones they are still becoming. She serves clients worldwide and invites you to visit her site, StopEnduring.com. Here you will find excerpts from her book, more articles, TV and radio interviews, and clips from her presentations.
She is also the author of The Blue Book of Grammar and Punctuation, Grammarbook.com, an award-winning online resource and workbook with easy-to-understand rules, real-world examples, and fun quizzes.
Contact Jane at Jane@JaneStraus.com.

10 Keys to an Extraordinary Life

Wednesday, June 20th, 2007

When I am asked to summarize the essence of my book, Enough Is Enough! Stop Enduring and Start Living Your Extraordinary Life, I offer these ten keys. I hope they serve, on a daily basis, to help you create the extraordinary life you deserve.

TEN KEYS TO CREATING YOUR EXTRAORDINARY LIFE

1. Recognize that you are enduring.
Do you feel that you never have time to stop? Do you distract yourself with eating, working, volunteering, cleaning, etc.? Do you resent that you never have time to do the things your spirit longs for? Do you feel resigned rather than inspired? If you wake up most mornings feeling anxious, bored, or numb, looking forward to some imagined future time when you will feel happier – “when my children finally start school,” “when my bills are paid off,” “when I retire”-then you are enduring.

2. Release your self-judgments.
Your negative beliefs about yourself that are holding you back-you’re untalented, too fat, not smart enough, etc.- are probably rooted in your childhood. Why would you let your “inner seven-year-old” run your life? These judgments are real but they are only as true as you have believed them to be. Give yourself compassion for having carried the burden of your self-judgments. Replace them with affirmations and find new evidence to support your willingness to believe in them. Affirmations are as true as you allow them to be.

3. Question your limiting beliefs.
When you tenaciously hold on to the belief that the world works in one particular way (against you), or that there is only one right way to do something (and you are doing it wrong), or that your actions will inevitably result in a specific and predictable outcome (bad), you are strapping on blinders. Make a commitment to take off those blinders. It will take practice and patience to stay out of “limiting belief territory,” but eventually it will become second nature. You’ll quickly start to see that life no longer feels boring and predictable.

4. Drop your acts.
When you put on the armor of an act, you sacrifice your authenticity for protection. For instance, you think no one can hurt you if you’re tough enough…or that everyone will love you if you’re nice enough…or that everyone will respect you if you never admit to being wrong. Your acts will become your prison. Instead, give yourself joyful permission to become more of who you really are. You will feel free and you will find that who you are is much more interesting than any character you could possibly play.

5. Face down your fears.
What fear is keeping you from living your extraordinary life? Whatever it is—quitting your unfulfilling job, leaving an abusive marriage, telling the truth about your past—you must face it head on. Recognize that F.E.A.R. means “False Evidence Appearing Real.” Think of the worst-case scenario and see yourself living through it with dignity. Get support from others. Create an affirmation, such as, “I am now courageous.” Then, just do it. Remember that no matter what the momentary outcome of facing down your fear brings, your worth as a person is constant and never in question.

6. Free your feelings.
If you feel bored, you are probably ignoring or avoiding something. Make an effort to connect with your feelings. Sit in a quiet place and close your eyes. Take some deep breaths. Check in with your body. Do you feel any tightness or pain? Give that pain or tightness a name, such as fear, hurt, anger, resentment, sadness. If your body feels light and open, give that an emotional name such as joy, love, happiness. Whatever emotions you feel and name, just allow them to be. If they change, let that be. Let yourself be. Learn to honor your emotions. Give them an opportunity to inspire you.

7. Heal your anger and resentment.
When you can acknowledge that your resentments are fueled by your personal regrets, you free yourself to step out of the victim role. It is not that you are letting others off the hook for unkind or unfair behaviors; they are still responsible for their intentions and actions. But the moment you uncover your regrets, you are empowered to let go of resentment.

8. Forgive yourself.
Make a list of the wrongs you have done to others and to yourself. See them as results of survival strategies. Acknowledge the consequences of these strategies to yourself and others. Grieve for your losses and your mistakes. Make amends with yourself and others. Create an affirmation to replace the self-judgments that drove you to using your survival strategies. And remember to treat yourself the way you would want others to treat you.

9. Know, speak, and live your deepest truths.
Commit to being truthful in all you say and do. Realize that being truthful is not synonymous with being honest. Truth is a complex blend of honesty mixed with compassion and vulnerability. When you are “brutally honest,” you are expressing your judgment but not expressing your truth. Your spirit knows the difference between truth and honesty. When you express your highest thoughts and intentions, you are able to live a true life, not just an honest one.

10. Create your extraordinary life every day.
To live in your truth is to allow your spirit’s energy into every cell of your being and into every thought and action. Here’s what this means in everyday terms: When you tell the clerk at the grocery store checkout counter that she has given you too much change, you make truth and spirit matter more than money. When you hear gossip and don’t pass it along, you make truth and spirit matter more than your momentary desire to feel important. When you tell someone you love him or her, unsure of whether he or she will say it in return, you make truth and spirit matter more than your fear of rejection. Make these decisions every day. It takes courage and commitment to be your extraordinary self. You will be amply rewarded with a rich and fulfilling life.

Read excerpts from Jane’s popular book, Enough Is Enough!, watch and listen to her TV and radio interviews on various topics, and sign up for her free newsletter, order her book, or have Jane as your personal life coach by clicking on stopenduring.com.

Anger, the Time Machine

Tuesday, May 1st, 2007

For those of us who anger quickly, the emotion seems to well up fast and furiously, activated by something just said or done that is hurtful or offensive. However, if we had the ability to play out every scene in slow motion, we might notice something interesting: Just before we feel the anger, we have a thought. That thought sounds something like, “This situation is familiar. I didn’t like it before. I won’t like it now. I’d better protect myself.”

In other words, the present upset is often a trigger of a long-forgotten situation, without our even being aware of it. If we pay more attention to the thought that triggers us, our anger will lose its power to whisk us back to the past so instantaneously.

If we pay attention to our anger instead of shunning it, or shaming ourselves for it, or stuffing it out of fear, we will more easily remember those long-ago events that taught us to protect ourselves with anger. When we remember and offer ourselves compassion for what we felt back then, we no longer need to put on the armor and get out the ammunition now. This is how anger becomes our ally and begins to serve as a healing force.

So, next time you feel that flash of anger, imagine for a moment that, like a time machine, your anger is carrying you swiftly back to your past. Ask yourself what this present trigger reminds you of. Even if the memory is vague, trust it. Then give yourself compassion for whatever hurt or humiliation remains from back then.

The trick is to give yourself compassion before you lose your temper. In fact, make a commitment to yourself that the moment anger arises, you will offer yourself compassion. This way, you don’t need a reason to justify the anger or your compassion. Anger will lose its power as compassion works its magic.

Jane Straus is a life coach, keynote speaker, media guest, and the author of Enough Is Enough! Stop Enduring and Start Living Your Extraordinary Life. Visit www.janestraus.com to read her articles, view her TV interviews and seminars, buy the book, or hire her as your personal coach.

Letting Go of Seething Resentment

Sunday, October 15th, 2006
 
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Dear Jane,
I don’t know if it’s fair to say that I “suffer” from road rage but I do resent the way a lot of people drive. My children don’t like that I’m always cussing people out and I realize I’m not being a great role model of ‘live and let live.’ How can I get a handle on this seething resentment that seems to come out at strangers?

As much as you don’t want to feel resentful and angry, you need to see it as a clue. Underlying every resentment is a disguised regret. So resentment provides an opportunity to heal.
Here’s one brief example of how I worked with my own road rage: I was cutting it close getting to an appointment and, sure enough, a driver pulled out in front of me and then drove ever so slowly. I found myself seething with resentment as each tenth of a mile passed. Although I didn’t scream or honk, I thought, “You idiot. You’re making me late. If it weren’t for you, I would have gotten there on time.”
While this may be true, I was certainly not creating inner or outer peace as steam was coming out of my ears. So I forced myself to go deeper to examine what my regret might be. To my surprise, my regrets began to unfold in layers from superficial to visceral. They were:
I regret making someone else late because of me.
I regret cutting things so close and feeling stressed.
I regret acting as though I’m not important enough to leave enough time for things in my life.
I regret believing I’m not important enough.
That last one struck me hardest—in my heart and gut. I was sad about it but relieved too. It was a relief to know that I could go from cursing at a stranger on the road to learning that I still need practice valuing myself more.
Healing from resentment is always the same: Look for the deepest, truest regret, which will likely contain an old self-judgment. Forgive yourself for how you have treated yourself and/or others as a result of holding this self-judgment. Then give yourself compassion.

About Jane
Jane Straus is a trusted life coach, dynamic keynote speaker, and the author of Enough Is Enough! Stop Enduring and Start Living Your Extraordinary Life. With humor and grace, Jane offers her clients and seminar participants insights and exercises to ensure that the next chapter of their lives is about thriving as the unique individuals they have always been and the extraordinary ones they are still becoming. She serves clients worldwide and invites you to visit her site, StopEnduring.com. Here you will find excerpts from her book, more articles, TV and radio interviews, and clips from her presentations.
She is also the author of The Blue Book of Grammar and Punctuation, Grammarbook.com, an award-winning online resource and workbook with easy-to-understand rules, real-world examples, and fun quizzes.
Contact Jane at Jane@JaneStraus.com.

Getting Over Your Anger and Rage

Monday, September 18th, 2006
 
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Dear Jane,
How do I know if my anger is over the top or if it’s justified? Sometimes I feel like I’m going to explode! I know that other people are afraid of me—especially my kids. Sometimes, I’m afraid of myself so I can’t blame them.

First of all, we have probably all experienced rage, whether it’s in the form of being so mad we can’t see straight, having a murderous fantasy, or being afraid we will just “go crazy” if we let out the anger. The distinction between rage-aholism and feeling enraged is not so much the internal experience as the external behaviors. In other words, there is a difference between feeling rage and raging.

Here’s how you can know if your anger is over the top or if it is simply one of the many emotions in your repertoire:

1. Has your anger gotten you in trouble at work, in your close relationships, or with the law?
2. Do you often need to apologize for your out-of-control behaviors in order to get back in the good graces of others?
3. Do you make promises to control your temper and then find yourself unable to keep these promises?
4. Do you feel a momentary rush of power when others are afraid of you?
5. Are you afraid that you’re a ticking time bomb?

If you answered yes to any of the above questions, you may already realize that you have anger issues that need to be dealt with. You are not alone!

The best way to start managing your anger successfully is to stop blaming anyone else for blowing up at them. If you can do this, you are on the road to recovery. As long as you blame, you will feel powerless. And feeling powerless can actually fuel rage. You do have the power to manage your feelings. In fact, you’re the only one who has that power. Don’t abdicate it.

Secondly, anger is a secondary emotion. Underneath anger you will find that you really feel fear, hurt, and/or guilt. So practice checking in with yourself when you’re spitting mad. What were you feeling before you got to that point? It is much easier to handle these feelings than to try to manage your rage once you’ve reached your tipping point.

Thirdly, anger and rage can be coping strategies learned in childhood. If you were humiliated or abused, you may harbor vast amounts of rage. As I write about in Enough Is Enough!, compassion is key. Give yourself plenty of compassion for how you were treated as a child. Don’t minimize the abuse or the effects on your life today. The less denial you hold, the less rage you will also hold. You might consider professional help to release your pent-up feelings safely and supportively. Then recognize that coping strategies may help you survive but they don’t help you thrive. Coping strategies are remnants from when you had no other choices. But they are also immature and therefore not very handy now.

Fourthly, remember that all attempts to thrive require the courage to drop our survival strategies. Even if you don’t yet handle every situation with equanimity, give yourself credit where credit is due. And apologize when you err. We often have to stumble before we become graceful with new behaviors.

Finally, set your sights high. Think of someone whose temperament you admire. Let yourself aspire to be more like them. How do they behave? You will probably notice that they are less defensive and reactive. They may take criticism without acting as though they have any less self-esteem. They may be assertive rather than aggressive. They may have a sense of humor that defuses tension. Whatever it is that you admire about how they handle themselves, practice that behavior. Walk the walk and talk the talk until it becomes more comfortable. Sooner than you might dare imagine, you will identify yourself with this new way of behaving. The goal is to become a person you admire. Or as one bumper sticker says, “Become the person your dog thinks you are.”

About Jane
Jane Straus is a trusted life coach, dynamic keynote speaker, and the author of Enough Is Enough! Stop Enduring and Start Living Your Extraordinary Life. With humor and grace, Jane offers her clients and seminar participants insights and exercises to ensure that the next chapter of their lives is about thriving as the unique individuals they have always been and the extraordinary ones they are still becoming. She serves clients worldwide and invites you to visit her site, StopEnduring.com. Here you will find excerpts from her book, more articles, TV and radio interviews, and clips from her presentations.
She is also the author of The Blue Book of Grammar and Punctuation, Grammarbook.com, an award-winning online resource and workbook with easy-to-understand rules, real-world examples, and fun quizzes.
Contact Jane at Jane@JaneStraus.com.