Tag Archives: Self Control

One Word One Thought

27 Feb

Nobody’s life is perfect and sometimes things go wrong for all of us. When it’s very disappointing or upsetting, we may get angry. If that happens we don’t always keep the anger to ourselves and unfortunately instead let others share it. Perhaps we use offensive words to express how we feel that aren’t part of our every day speech. Or we snap at others who may or may not have had anything to do with our problem. We’re only human and there are times when we aren’t at our best. It happens. If others experience our outburst they may decide out of frustration to return it for one of their own, and then the whole thing can get out of hand. Once things have escalated it’s hard to rein them back in. Feelings can get hurt, and relationships can be bruised. After we’ve ended our furious outburst, and we’ve settled back down, we’ll have to apology for the damage we’ve done, and try to make things right.

Anger can be a very destructive emotion. We all feel it from time to time, but the way we express it is different for everyone. When we’re children we may cry or scream, or kick our feet and stomp off, but as we become adults we must find other ways to deal with it. Some people point their anger inward and manifest specific behaviors to cope. Perhaps they overeat, or can’t sleep, or they close themselves off and hide until they feel better. Compromising ourselves to keep anger hidden away doesn’t help us deal with it, and sometimes the behaviors we embrace while we’re coping make the situation worse in the end. Others of us express our anger outwardly. We take it out on those around us spreading collateral damage everywhere we turn. We say things we don’t mean, and lash out at whomever comes close. Unfortunately those behaviors can damage our relationships and if they are chronic, can ruin them. Learning to deal effectively with anger takes time and practice. It doesn’t just happen the first time we get mad. We have to learn how to control our responses in ways that help us resolve our anger, instead of making it worse.

If someone near us is angry and acting out, instead of jumping into the fray, we can instead offer a word of encouragement. If we do, the anger may lose its impact and suddenly emotions may turn. It’s said that a kind word can turn away wrath – and it’s true. If someone near us is angry and acting out, one kind word from us may change everything. It doesn’t take a lot of effort but it does take self control and thought. We are capable of both. If we’re the angry one lashing out at those around us, we can stop for just a moment, take a breath, and think of one good thing. It doesn’t have to be a big thing, like world peace, it can be something small. Perhaps we had a delicious muffin for breakfast, or the sun is shining, or we really like the color of the shirt we’re wearing. If we can focus on one good thought for just a moment, everything can change. We can put things back into perspective and more effectively navigate our way through. A kind word, or a positive thought are powerful and can help us through difficult situations. Our relationships and interactions are important. When things go wrong, we can do something to preserve them. We can exercise self control and keep the situation for becoming destructive. One kind word or one good thought may be all it takes.

Today if you’re angry about something you can’t accept, stop for a moment and think about one good thing that’s happening right now. There is always something and when you find it, focus on it for a moment. You’ll feel better and you’ll see things more clearly. If someone near you is angry and lashing out, offer a kind word of encouragement to let them know you care. We are all capable of more than we realize. We can do anything. We can do our part to bring harmony back into our lives when trouble is at the door.

What’s the good news?

14 Apr

When my children were younger and would come to me upset or angry about something that was going on, I would listen patiently and wait until they finished complaining and griping. And then I would look at them and say, “I understand. I can see that you’re upset. What’s the good news?” When I first started doing this, their immediate response was that THERE WAS NO GOOD NEWS! And then they would continue their tirade, at which time I would listen patiently, and when they were done again, I would look at them and say, “Yes, I still understand the problem. And we can talk about it, but what’s the good news?” After going through this process with them through several problems as they came and went, they learned that before they came to me to complain and tell me their horrible story, they would have to be prepared with something, anything, from the situation that would be positive, and that could somehow be construed as good news. Eventually when they came to me angry and upset, often before they would get to the end of their story, they would smile and say, “I know, I know, what’s the good news?” and then they would begrudgingly proceed to tell me what they were learning from what was going on. Looking for and preparing to explain something positive from all the negative they were experiencing helped them diffuse the situation themselves, and think more clearly.

We all face periods of disappointment and grief, frustration and anxiety, sheer anger, and disgust. But in each situation, if we take some time to think about it, there is something that can be learned that can benefit us. If someone insults us, makes us feel small, or offends us, perhaps the only good news is that we lived to tell the tale! Or maybe the good news is that we held our tongues, and let them make spectacles of themselves being rude and offensive, while we maintained our self control. Maybe the good news is that we decided their comments were inaccurate, and we weren’t going to internalize them, and make them bigger than what they really were – just opinions. Generally in times like these, in uncomfortable situations, there is a lesson we can learn that can benefit us. We can learn to be more patient, to be gracious despite the barbs, to extend the hand of friendship even when someone has been rude. Every situation is different, but generally there is something beneficial for us if we look for it.

Today if you encounter a difficult situation, if you interact with someone who isn’t nice to you or frankly rude to you, if you are the recipient of someone else’s anger, think about the situation and see if you can’t figure out what the good news is. Because surely there is something there. And if we can rearrange our feelings when we’re going through times like these, when we’re feeling bad, when we’re feeling attacked, if can rearrange them to looking for the things we can learn, then we become the victor. We prevail. It’s all about our attitude. We can choose to return anger for anger, or we can choose to rise a little higher. Find the one thing that you can learn from the experience that will make you better. It’s there. You just need to open your mind and look for it. And when you find it you’ll probably discover that you feel better, more at peace, and able to let the discomfort go. You’ll be in control of yourself, and able to see the situation more objectively, and that’s always a good thing. What’s the good news? Today, look for it. And when you find it, be happy knowing that you changed everything!