How do you express anger? Do you blow it up at others or do you boil up inside? You may also find alternative ways to suppress anger such as drawing your attention to something else.
Whatever method you follow to manage anger, it lasts for a temporary period. When circumstances arise in a situation where you believe unfair or wrong, your anger will come up over and over again.
Addressing anger via applying an antidote is a more permanent solution. This article is focused on how you can take a different approach to counteract the common problem of anger with its opposite antidote called loving-kindness.
The demon and the king
Once upon a time, there was a demon. One day he visited the king’s palace. As the king was not there in the palace, he sat on the bejeweled throne. As soon as the ministers saw the demon sitting on the throne, they got angry.
They threatened the demon with harsh words thinking the demon will get scared and go away. Surprisingly, the demon became more and more beautiful with every harsh word he heard.
When the ministers could not chase the demon away from the palace, they were about to strike him. Luckily, the king came back at the right moment.
Generally, the king should have got angry when he saw the demon sitting on the throne. However, the king was very intelligent. He spoke to the demon with kind words.
Guess what? The demon had never received such kind treatment from anyone. He became ugly and ugly as he used to be with every kind word the king uttered. Finally, he became a tiny little dot and disappeared from the palace.
Anger is a demon
The above is an interesting story I heard in my childhood. At that time, I did not realize the message behind it.
The demon is compared to the anger arises in us. As much as we feed it with our thoughts, words, and actions, there is a nourished ground for the anger to sustain. Therefore, it lasts long.
Conversely, as soon as we see the seed of anger, we have to accept there is anger arisen in the mind. Acceptance is similar to identifying anger. Then say, “hey anger, I saw you.”
After that, we should act wisely to reverse the anger into loving kindness.
- Why do we get angry?
- What happens when you get angry?
- Is there an antidote for anger?
- What is loving kindness?
- What are the benefits of spreading loving-kindness?
- How to overcome anger through loving-kindness?
Why do we get angry?
Anger is a mechanism to defend ourselves. It is a primary emotion that emerges in the mind in various instances such as the fight or flight response consequent to a threat.
Also, we use anger to get things done in our favour.
Suppose a child asks for a toy and the parents refuse to buy it for him. What if the child cries or screams angrily? It is more likely the parents would buy the toy to console the child. Then the child learns he can get things easily when he is angry.
Unfortunately, this becomes a habit for most of us. Even if we grow up, we try to use this emotion for our own benefit. Also, if not addressed correctly, excessive anger can place you in a disadvantageous position among others.
What happens when you get angry?
- The pleasant appearance changes
- Voice raises toward the other person
- Muscles tensed
- Heart rate increases
- You will experience other emotions followed by anger such as crying, feeling guilty etc.
- Excessive anger can make you a disreputable person everywhere
Is there an antidote for anger?
Fortunately, you do not have to suffer from anger. Anger is a choice we make. You can get angry and face the consequences followed by anger. On the contrary, let it pass and feel the peace and harmony within you.
Most of us would choose the second option; letting pass the anger. To let it pass, you can apply the remedy of loving-kindness. That means spreading thoughts of friendliness toward yourself and others.
What is loving kindness?
Spreading loving kindness is a tool to share your friendly thoughts, actions, and words for the well-being of yourself as well as others. You should practice it to the extent of considering all beings in this world as your friends.
What are the benefits of spreading loving-kindness?
- When you consider someone is your friend, you do not attempt any harm on him
- We cherish the good deeds of that person
- We generate a sense of gratitude for what they have done for us
- We help them when they are in need of help
- We always try to safeguard them
- We wish their wellbeing
- Loving kindness promotes unconditional love toward all beings in the world
How to overcome anger through loving-kindness?
- When you get angry with someone, do not react immediately. Do not confront the other person physically or verbally
- Come back to your senses
- Be mindful of the fact you got angry
- Take a deep breath
- Count from 1 to 10
- Go into silent mode
- Do not get lost in the rollercoaster of emotions
- Leave the unpleasant environment, if possible
- Sit in a quiet spot with a relaxed posture
After doing the above things, if anger still remains in you, identify the anger and say “hey anger, I see you.”
Give enough time for the harsh emotions of anger, self-importance, sadness etc. to leave you.
When you understand there are no more harsh feelings in you, contemplate on some good deeds done by the person with whom you got angry.
This can include his acts of generosity, some kind words, or even a nice smile shared with you.
When you recollect the good things he has done, anger cannot exist in you.
Then think “may he be well, happy and peaceful. May no harm come to him, may no difficulties come to him.”
Try to stay in the meditative mode for a few minutes.
When you know there is no more anger in you, go face the real world.
What if you cannot recollect any goodness of the other person?
If you cannot think of any good quality of the other person, generate a compassionate thought toward him. Think “this is the nature of that person.” Try to forgive him as soon as possible because you need your peace of mind.
What if you get angry with yourself?
You are nowhere near perfection. It is natural to do mistakes and fail in life. Thus, you should love yourself unconditionally. When you get angry with yourself, follow the same procedure as I discussed earlier. For more information on how to boost self-care, read Mindfulness based self-care
All of us have different character traits. We tend to make mistakes, but we also make them good. When you understand this imperfect nature of human beings, you will generate a sense of empathy toward yourself and others. At the end of the day, you will be able to train the mind to come out of anger and live a happy life.