Seeds of anger are messages we receive which lead to beliefs of entitlement. Specifically, beliefs 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. How we react to anger, however, can be 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 without initiating aggression. The only must and should, I hold another 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. These beliefs communicate the idea that your happiness lies outside of yourself. That others are in charge of how you feel. This is simply not the case, you alone are responsible for your happiness.
A three-step process
So how do you get rid of your seeds for anger?
First, identify any irrational beliefs you have that trigger anger. You do this by first identifying your triggers. If you find you get upset over being insulted, 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.
Second, 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 third step is to practice. When practice is not feasible, I normally will invite clients to write down their new beliefs. This begins the process of exploration into the automatic thoughts and beliefs that drive our behavior. Often our thoughts and reactions occur almost on autopilot, we get angry over situations that rationally we prefer not to get angry over. A cognitive exploration into what drives us is a great way to begin cultivating awareness over automatic processes and beliefs.
I strongly believe that while the experience of anger is normal, anger is utterly useless and sometimes detrimental when used to solve problems.