We’ve all been there. Your boss isn’t listening to you. She’s asked you for a solution, and after hours of work, you have one, but all she can do is find fault, and your blood pressure is rising. The fifth person this morning is in your cube needing help right now, and you’re on a deadline you committed to even though it was a narrow thing before all of the distractions. The frustration wells up.
This article by The Ladders offers a pretty good summary of what happens when we try to deal with anger in various ways; through suppression, venting, and what they call reappraisal. The first two strategies, suppression and venting, hurt us because they don’t support the relationship, whether we are the angry one or the one the anger is directed at. The article has some interesting information about what’s happening to our brains when we do that.
Most of you know that anger is one of the emotions that I refer to as a Level 2 state. Tension, frustration and that whole family of “I win and you lose” emotions can be useful in the right situation and with intention, but we consider them destructive because they tear down rather than build relationships. The article states that “reappraisal” is the most effective way to manage anger, and this hits close to the coaching approach. I might ask you, what’s another way of looking at the situation? What does the other person need in this instance? Let’s assume this isn’t about you. If that’s the case, what are you or what is the other person really angry about? The article advises that we assume another perspective, and as a distraction that can be useful. It might lower the flame on the anger burner a bit, but my suggestion would be to simply ask. Ask the other person what is really the issue. Ask. “Why am I taking this so personally?”
Quoting Albert Ellis, “You don’t get frustrated because of events. You get frustrated because of your beliefs” – that’s really at the center of it. When we explore what we are really afraid of giving up, or having to take on, that’s when we understand. That’s when we can choose what we think, feel, and do.
Have a great week.