Seeds of anger are messages we receive which lead to beliefs of entitlement. Specifically, beliefs of entitlement regarding how we believe other people should treat and regard us. Once you buy into such a belief the next step is a chance encounter where you are disrespected by another person, leading to you experiencing anger.
Anger by itself is a normal experience, reacting to anger is a different story. For example, I don’t buy into the idea that other people must respect me, I fully recognize and acknowledge that I (like other people) am a prime target for disrespect from another person on any given day. So instead of buying into the delusional idea that other people must respect me, I preference my expectations.
For example, “I prefer to be treated and regarded with dignity by others, in the event I am disrespected, I have the option of removing myself from the situation or verbally asserting a boundary with the person without initiating aggression.” The only must and should, I hold other human being to, is the respect of my life and property.
As I discussed in my book, Taming the Beast Within, the most effective way to manage your anger is by addressing the irrational beliefs which fuel your anger. Almost always these irrational beliefs communicate the idea that your happiness lies outside of yourself, in events and with others. This is simply not the case, you alone are responsible for your happiness. So therefore, beliefs of how other people should or must regard you are irrational, and serve as your seeds for anger.
So how do you get rid of your seeds for anger? While easier said than done, the process regardless of technique amounts to a three step process. First identify any irrational beliefs you have which fuel your triggers for getting angry. You do this by first identifying your triggers. So someone addresses you with an insult, if you find yourself getting upset at the insult, then chances are that you believe that others should not insult you. If this is the case, this is an irrational belief, because you have no control over what other people say. The next step would be to come up with a replacement belief that preserves your dignity while being rational at the same time. A good replacement belief would be, I prefer not to be insulted by others, if I am insulted I will assertively ask the person to stop insulting me, and if the person does not stop, I will remove myself from the situation. The final step is practice, and when practice is not feasible, I normally will invite clients to write down their new beliefs. This creates new connections in the brain.
I strongly believe that while the experience of anger is normal, anger utterly useless and sometimes detrimental when used a fuel to solve problems.
Ugo is a psychotherapist and author of .