Wednesday, October 7, 2009
I was out doing errands a couple of days ago and encountered two VERY ANGRY drivers; both of whom seemed to be angry at ME! First, I had the nerve to stop at a yellow light. Often I do view yellow lights as a signal to speed up. But this time, I decided to do the safe thing and slow to a stop as the light turned red. As I did this, the man behind me leaned on his horn, swung around me, opened his window, shook his fist and screamed some obscenity as he ran the red light.
A few minutes later I was driving through a parking lot searching for a parking space. I saw a space ahead on my right. I drive a big van so I have to swing a bit to the left in order to pull into the right hand space. I swung to the left and some car comes barreling around the corner and nearly hit me head on. I guess I was on her side of the road. She actually got out of her car with arms flailing around in order to scream and tell me what an x%$j*@ I was. Nevermind that she was driving 40 MPH through a parking lot.
It would be nice to think that I’ve never been as ridiculously angry as these two people. But, we’ve all had those days. May as well take our aggression out on strangers!
Here’s some advice. SOLVE THE REAL PROBLEM! Stop yelling at the wrong people! In any conflict situation you have three choices; you can ignore it, you can handle it poorly, or you can handle it well. You DO have a choice. Perhaps you are choosing to ignore too many problems. This often leads to resentment and increased anger. Handling a problem poorly will also escalate conflict. You get mad, scream and insult the other person, and then realize that the problem is now larger. Problems just seem to crop up all over the place. Then you get in your car, run red lights, and scream uncontrollably at innocent people on the road.
Here are three tips for controlling anger.
• First, remember that it IS a choice. You can choose to walk away and calm down first.
• Second, always remember your goal. Why are you having the conversation? What do you want? Is the relationship important to you? Focus on your goal in order to control emotion and allow logic to come back into focus.
• Third, remember that when you allow anger to take over, all brain power is lost. You WILL regret it. Choose to handle the situation well.
When you ignore too many problems, or handle problems poorly, you’ll find more and more reasons to be angry. That anger then destroys relationships, creates more problems, and even makes complete strangers want to hit you!! Remember that you do have a choice.