Jay Rifenbary

Jay Rifenbary's Blog

Anger - A Demonstration of Personal Immaturity


The inspiration to explore the emotion of anger stems from my sitting on a United Express flight to Chicago knowing I am going to miss my connection to South Bend, IN because of a delay in Albany, NY. This is not an unusual occurrence with the amount of traveling I do, but the lack of concern and nonchalant attitude by the airline employees has provoked my ire. Upon landing, I can always drive to the University of Notre Dame where I am speaking, but the new logistical arrangements that must be made in regard to my travel and the retrieval of my seminar materials are just an added stress I would prefer not to contend with. How appropriate to evaluate the emotion of anger.

Anger is defined as “a strong feeling of annoyance, displeasure, or hostility” Where does that strong feeling stem from? Are the roots of anger similar in all human beings? Is anger a choice, or is it a normal reaction to the descriptive words above? Behind every emotion there is a reason, and those reasons are unique to each of us. We all experience anger, but when it is expressed through abusive behavior a reflection of personal immaturity is needed. A reaction of abusive anger to a situation can easily be attributed to personal insecurities, childhood experiences, and fears attributed to what was, or what might be. However, it is reactive not proactive, and a choice made. If the results are destructive, the emotional reasons behind the anger do not justify the hurt caused to oneself or to others. There are times where anger may appear to be appropriate, but when the dust settles I have never known someone to be proud of his or her angry behavior. It is important to recognize each anger moment destroys a segment of self-respect.

The venting of abusive anger is a display of our own insecurity and immaturity in our ability to patiently handle a situation. Is a lack of patience a precursor to igniting anger? If so, what are you impatient about, the slow driver in front of you, a lack of assertiveness by an employee, the weather, a mistake made by a child, a sense there is no attention being paid to you, or a lack of fulfillment? Accountability in recognizing personal anger, and taking the steps to prevent the emotional fallout from anger is a challenging undertaking. With the success of reducing the onset of anger in our lives comes tremendous personal growth, and a significant reduction in stress and other negative health related symptoms. An increase in heart rate, blood pressure and emotional instability impacts the body and mind in ways that are still not totally understood. Is getting angry over minutia really worth jeopardizing your health? Does creating further complexity in our life and the acquisition of material things reduce the potential for further anger? It is just the opposite, for it creates more stress, more responsibility and greater potential to spark anger as a result of frustration or dissatisfaction.

Over the years I have discovered the simpler my life is the happier I tend to be, because the less I have to be responsible for. As a result, the less I have to be angry about. Six practical steps to reducing anger in your life include: * Recognize what situation is initiating the anger, and analyze the situation rather than immediately reacting to it. * Ask yourself, is the incident you are confronting really worth getting angry about? * If anger does occur, focus on whom the anger is directed toward and ask yourself, will the anger change the person’s behavior, or repair the situation? If not, the anger is a waste of time and energy. * Ask, what will be the result of displaying anger? I have never known anger to result in a more healthy and harmonious environment. It opens wounds, new and old, and creates a defensive mechanism that generates even more harm. * Simplify your life. * Set an example in all you do. Anger diminishes your emotional stability, reputation, and sends a message of unprofessionalism. When you demonstrate calm in the throws of chaos, the reward of personal respect, and the respect expressed to you by others will be the result of your maturity and professionalism.

Friday, August 07, 2020

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