Anger: A Secondary Emotion
OK, I’m a little out of my field of expertise, but I believe I can speak as someone who has received some great professional counseling. Years ago when I was promoted to a new job that resulted in more responsibility, I noticed that I would become angry more often. I wasn’t the happy-go-lucky Tommy of the past, and there were times when my reaction was disproportionate to the situation/problem at hand. To be honest, I blew up.
Fortunately, before I caused too much damage and embarrassment, I received some really wise counsel:
Anger is usually your second emotion. For me, I discovered the primary issue behind my anger is often frustration. Here’s a link to a wonderful one-page write-up and a helpful chart.
I keep this chart in my daily journal and refer to it often. If you can relate to my story, I would recommend you do the same.
Once I understood what was going on, the counselor suggested that I deal with issues — usually people — along the way, to avoid escalation. Here’s an example: Say someone on your team has an annoying habit or practice that bothers you and the team. Too often, no one tells that team member how they’re feeling about the habit or practice until it becomes a monumental issue, at which point the team member becomes the target of an angry outburst. I learned — and am still refining — the practice of healthy confrontation, or speaking the truth in love.
Over the years, I’ve discovered that if I keep short accounts — in other words, deal with little things before they become big things — I avoid the atomic explosion.
How about you? Can you relate?