Today, we live in a world full of expectations and demands. Our parents, teachers, boss, friends, colleagues and even strangers expect something from us; said or unsaid. Many times we meet them but inevitably sometimes we fail (or the other way around). And what happens when we do? Our emotions heighten. These could be sadness, shame, guilt, disappointment, anger, frustration.
Whatever it is, what you most probably will feel are negative emotions. Question is, how do you handle them? Are you proud of it? Could your loved ones testify that you handle your emotions well?
This article is inspired by reading, “Overcoming Emotions that Could Destroy” by Chip Ingram and Dr. Becca Johnson. This book has given me a lot of insight about handling my personal emotions that I believe can help you in handling yours.
Based from the book, there are 3 kinds of angry people: the Spewers, the Stuffers and the Leakers. But before we talk about each of these, let me share some of the tips that I found useful to avoid anger.
First and foremost
You have to know what others expect of you. It has to be clearly stated. And you have to ask yourself, “Is this in line with reality? Can I do this?” If yes, then go, be excellent and happy. If not, then there are 2 options: Either you quit or you try harder. But it is important that you remember the choice you made and that you stand by it because this will be tested when the going gets tough.
In the same manner, you have to make it clear what you expect of others. Don’t assume that it’s common sense. Don’t expect that the person should already know because chances are he or she is being consumed with fear or panic and could not read your mind especially when you’re already irritated.
But it is in fact inevitable that we get mad. Indeed, God has created us not just as intellectual beings but emotional beings as well. Jesus Himself got mad when His Father’s House was being made into a marketplace. But you see His was righteous anger. So, being angry because your boyfriend went out with his friends instead of dating you does not really fall into that category, does it?
Neither does getting mad at your superior because she failed to appreciate how great the effort you had put in on her assigned task. These friends are disappointments that lead to anger. Disappointments come from unmet expectations. And they come in different ways a number of times!
So what type of angry person are you?
If you are someone who tends to blow-up when mad or who lets out his or her emotions to feel better, then you’re most probably a spewer. Of the 3, spewers are the most prone to regret saying or doing things during a conflict. Stuffers on the other hand do not think it is right to express anger. They feel more comfortable not dealing with it in fear of rejection, angry outbursts and others.
But if you tend to do things that you know displeases someone you’re mad at, like being late in a meeting knowing it’s important to a person, then you’re a Leaker. Leakers also tend to ‘share‘ emotions with others whom they know feel the same way towards that person to make them feel better.
Identifying which type of angry person you are would help a lot in warning you that you’re in the angry zone when the emotion starts to creep-in. When the tone of your voice starts to get a pitch higher or when you’re starting to have a record of the person’s wrongs or when you’re getting critical of even the little things someone does; you should know now, my friend, that you are angry. Accept and acknowledge the feeling. Don’t deny and pretend it doesn’t exist. So what do you do after this?
Pray. Before you call your spouse/partner or your best friend, talk to your Maker. He saw everything that happened. He knows you and the person you’re mad at. He knows your motives. Ask Him things: why it happened, how it could happen to you of all people. Be honest with Him.
Process. As the authors of the book has emphasized, anger is just the tip of the iceberg. Identify what have caused the problem. What was your initial feeling before getting mad? Was it loneliness, hurt, disappointment? How could you better address the feelings without sinning or hurting yourself?
Praise. Bring everything back to God. It is not easy but He is ultimately responsible for all the good and bad things in our lives. Have faith that this happens to make you a better person. Or perhaps, it happened for you to depend on God or for you to start talking with Him again? Be thankful.
As one of the leaders in our church says, lower your expectation and increase your appreciation. Take responsibility for your choices. Remember the choice to be mad and stay mad is yours.
Our emotions differentiate us from each human being. And how we react towards our emotions make us human beings. Don’t let your emotions get the best of you.
Be masters of it.