Direct Anger Toward Problems, Not People

It is wise to direct your anger towards problems – not people; to focus your energies on answers – not excuses.” William Arthur Ward

Have you ever noticed that most of our anger is directed toward people and not the actual problem or cause? And that no matter what our intentions, the anger is usually received with an equal amount of anger back at us? Anger is a powerful emotion that scares most of us, but in reality, it can be one of the more useful emotions for creating real change. Anger can get us moving – especially when it is directed toward a cause or a solution. It only becomes heavy when it is turned toward others. Think about the last time you were angry with someone – what happened? Did you feel it inside and was it really productive? Maybe you yelled at them or simply held the anger inside – burning deep within you. Sometimes even we use our anger as an excuse to stay comfortable and not venture out of our safe zones. It ends up holding us back and we get angrier. But, what if every time we recognized that we were angry, we turned it into an opportunity? An opportunity to do something productive and create change. If we don’t like where we are, instead of blaming our spouse, we can begin to research ways to change it. If we’re staying safe or making excuses, maybe we can see our anger as a sign that it’s time to shift our perspective. Anger when directed toward solutions and answers can move mountains. It can build the bridges that you’re hoping to build. And instead of tearing down the people that might otherwise be the subject of your anger, you can gain their support and participation. All you have to do lately is look around and see how anger can either mobilize or hold us back. The key is to begin with your own life and embrace anger instead of viewing it as negative.

Weekly Path to Peace: Direct anger toward answers.

  • Where is your anger directed? Spend this week noticing how you either internalize your anger or are constantly lashing out at others – pointing your finger in blame. How many different areas of your life can you notice that anger is sabotaging your progress? Simply make note without any judgment.
  • What might it look like to use your anger differently? Could you take that energy and shift it toward finding an answer or tackling a problem. Perhaps you’re struggling with your teenager, partner, or boss and you’re blaming them for how you’re currently feeling. What if you took that anger and simply spent 30 minutes looking for a solution? How might you feel? Try it out this week with at least one instance.

As you begin this week, rate your level of happiness, self-esteem and self-confidence on a scale of 1-10, with 1 being not satisfied and 10 being very satisfied. Notice where you are Sunday evening after you do this week’s peace practice to see if there is a change.