I just had an argument with my dad. Another one.
Honestly, no one can annoy me that fast except for the people I love the most.
I’m not going to make excuses now or even explain the situation in details. It was just another case of anger provoked by random daily things, then he started mentioning other old reasons for quarrels and things escalated.
But this time I managed to let go of anger.
You all know how when someone annoys you, you want to react in the same way, say something bad, scream, or else. And we all regret it after that. Because whatever we say or do is caused by the adrenaline, and is not at all real.
So I just took a few deep breaths (it really helps to calm down instantly), looked at things from another point of view and came up with the following conclusions which I think can help you too when you’re on the verge of getting angry:
- You shouldn’t take things personally and must always put yourself in the shoes of the other person.
My dad has problems on his own and is often more angry at himself rather than at me, even though he’s not satisfied with the things I do. So instead of reacting and making things even worse, I decided to understand him.
- The other person’s expectations aren’t met.
He expected things to turn out in a certain way, and as it always happens – they didn’t. He wanted me to do or say what he imagined me doing and saying, but I have another understanding of the world and am an individual with my own way of thinking, so I do things my way.
That’s why he got disappointed, probably expected too much as well. Then the only way to let these emotions out for him was getting angry at me.
Understanding that helped me a lot.
- Be compassionate.
Showing compassion towards someone is always the right thing to do. I decided to see my dad as the emotional human being he is, with all his worries and fears, problems and burdens. That helped me let go of anger immediately. I felt peace after the burst of adrenaline.
- Arguing is just not worth it.
Sometimes saying nothing is the best decision. It’s hard, it means making a compromise, but later you’ll thank yourself. That’s what I did.
- Try to be objective.
What if the other person is actually right and you just can’t see it because you’re blinded by past experiences and your own ideals and opinion?
It’s possible. And many times at least 5-10% of what the other person says is true.
I thought about that even though I didn’t want to admit it. But then felt relieved.
- Don’t see him as your opponent.
People often play the role we give them. They feel our vibrations and if we are aggressive and consider them enemies, they behave like one.
So I saw him just as my dad. Not as someone that’s angry, bad to me, or an opponent. Just my dad. And that simple thing made me smile and say nothing more to provoke him.
If you only learn to accept things and people as they are, you’ll never need to experience an argument again. Only that little but significant habit will help you get over anything you encounter.
Accepting means being okay with things, which means there’s no pressure, effort, denial or a desire to change things. And that’s a sign of no suffering. So when you accept and let things be, you’re truly happy and life is easy and pleasant.
Having these things in mind, and many others, help us deal with hard stuff in life. They include understanding, accepting, compassion and letting go and are the ultimate language of kindness and going with the flow. A life lived by them is always a good life.
I’m not yet successful at anger management. I know things in theory, but not always in practice. Often I let my emotions out without thinking, and feel bad afterwards. But small steps lead to great progress and noticing my anger every now and then is still a big thing for me.
And if you don’t know where to start, that’s the best way – begin with noticing when anger comes, in what situation, what provokes it, how you want to react, etc.
Then you can analyze it and stop it before it has even risen.
But whatever you decide to do, know that letting go is the ultimate freedom. It means letting in peace and contentment and freeing yourself from the burden of what has already happened, what is out of your control and what is not worth worrying about.
That’s some progress in my personal development and I’m grateful for it. But if it wasn’t for Leo’s books and posts on Zen Habits, it would have taken me much longer. He made me see how easy and simple things are, and his writings on letting go helped me the most. It’s worth visiting the blog if you haven’t already.