Last night, my husband Dave and I were driving to dinner, and I couldn’t help but feel annoyed because he was driving too fast for my comfort. He’s a thrill-seeker, always drawn to flying airplanes and racing cars, but I started to feel like his driving could put my life at risk.
That anger I felt required an action.
I could close myself off to him, refuse to speak to him, blow up in anger and frustration – or what else?
The recent mass shooting at a local mall minutes away from me weighs heavily on my mind.
Each one of us plays a role in shaping the world we live in. Our thoughts and emotions create our reality, and the violence we witness around us is a reflection of the violence within our own minds.
Here are three things we can all do to help shape the world we live in and address our own anger:
1: The one sure way WE can lessen the amount of anger ‘out there’ is to address the anger and violence within ourselves.
In my case, I expressed my anger to Dave as we were driving – I told him, “I feel angry when you drive so fast because I feel like you are trying to kill me!” By acknowledging and expressing our anger in a healthy and constructive manner, we can let go of it and move forward.
2: Openly express our anger appropriately.
Later, we had a heart-to-heart where Dave admitted that he was angry at me for volunteering him to watch our grandkids without checking with him first. He said, “I feel mad at you when you give away my time when you are so busy you don’t have time to do it yourself!”
This honest conversation opened my eyes to the fact that I was part of the problem. It’s a valuable lesson for the future, as it helps me to be more mindful of the consequences of my actions, ensuring that I don’t unintentionally hurt him.
After openly expressing our anger appropriately, in “I” statements, the tension between us subsided, and we had a wonderful dinner together. Walls between us were torn down, which makes way for deeper relationships.
If we had kept our anger bottled up, we would have put a wall up between us, and contributed to the collective anger in the world.
3: Ongoing reflection helps heal anger from the past.
I encourage you to take a moment and reflect on any lingering anger you might be holding onto. Can you express it appropriately to someone – whether another person, or someone you love?
While it might feel like we can’t do much, managing our own emotions and contributing to a more peaceful world is within our power.
By addressing the violence within ourselves, we can work towards decreasing the violence “out there.”
Let’s roll up our sleeves, clean up the violence within ourselves, and pave the way towards a more harmonious world.
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