Our hearts and minds are filled with a lifetime of memories – both good and bad. But, for some reason, instead of savoring the good memories, many of us just dwell on the bad ones.
Well, that needs to stop. Accepting the hurt from your past, and then moving on, is a healthy way to sort out your feelings of unrest. I have first-hand knowledge of what it’s like to dwell on the negative memories that haunt your daily life.
I grew up in a relatively large family – I was the youngest of four kids. Overall, my childhood was very nice. My mother was a compassionate and loving woman. My siblings treated me like an adored baby brother. And my father was an excellent provider. But he also had an extreme anger problem, which resulted in sporadic verbal and physical abuse.
He was a police officer, who had difficulty handling stress. He would get overwhelmed with his job and raising a family. In his heart, my dad only wanted what was best for us. But, he let that anger out too many times, and in too many inappropriate ways. He had a rough childhood. His father was not a pleasant man. Luckily, he also had a great mother. She balanced him, as did my mother after they got married.
Those memories of being hit very hard, and being insulted in a nasty manner, have always haunted me. In the past, if I felt slighted or disrespected in any way, the inner beast would get fired up. Fortunately, I have never been physical. I have never hit anyone. But, the anger I felt was real. And deep. I needed to change. So I did.
Not everyone who suffers from anger issues has had the same experiences I did. We are all unique people with diverse backgrounds. But, regardless, of what road led you to your anger, you can still change direction. It’s never too late.
Anger is a disease that eats away at your soul and spreads to those whose lives you touch. So, here’s five things you can do to keep your anger under control.
- Stop pretending you’re OK.
If you are constantly agitated, and it only takes the slightest thing to propel into you a tailspin of anger. Then, you have an anger issue that needs to be resolved. It is not healthy to feel that way. Or act that way. For you. And for everyone else that you encounter. Look yourself in the mirror and finally admit to yourself that you are not okay, and a change is needed.
- Find a “peaceful” role model.
This may seem like an odd thing to do. But, trust me. It works. If you are an angry person, I know you’re aware of people in your life that you admire for their calm and peaceful demeanor. Learn from them. Watch them handle stress and pressure. Now, I am not saying being a copycat. Rather, just like anything in life – learn from the masters.
- Release the aggression (constructively)
You must find a way to let out that beast within. Exercise is, of course, an amazing way to release that extra tension. I personally love to hike. It really calms me down, and keeps me in good spirits. Also, another way to release your angst is through a creative outlet, like writing, drawing, photography, etc. I have been doing stand-up comedy for the past two years, and it is such a rush to get up on stage and make people laugh. I feel so relaxed afterward. I am not saying you have to become a stand-up comedian, but you do have to find a way to release your anger in a constructive way.
- Forgive the person who wronged you.
This may be the most difficult thing to do – in life. Seriously. Forgiveness is a monumental task, and an even larger accomplishment. Once you forgive, you take back the power from the wrong-doer. I used to think this whole forgiveness theory was a bunch of bull, and some cliché that has been perpetuated by the people who seek forgiveness. But, it’s not BS. It really works. Try it.
1. Laugh. A lot.
This one is my favorite. And the easiest to accomplish. The first step is to be able to laugh at yourself. Stop taking yourself so seriously. Once you can do that, the sky’s the limit. People who can laugh at themselves live 20 years longer than those who cannot. OK, I just made-up that statistic. But, you get my point.
The key to all of this is accepting your past and resolving to change your old way of approaching things. I wish you luck in your pursuit for inner peace.
Kevin is a writer, attorney, comedian and photographer. He hosts a blog at kevinhotter.com, the aim of which is to inspire, motivate and entertain the world.