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Letting go of Anger and Hurt

I’m dealing with anger and hurt together because when it comes to other people, the trigger or cause of the emotion generally comes from the same source: someone else has said or done something that I don’t think is ‘right’.

Step 2 of my 5 step process for dealing with negative emotions is to ‘apply what you’ve learnt from doing the exercise before’.

When it comes to anger and hurt, my 8 core learnings generally do the trick for me and I'm including them here for easy reference:

  1. Anger/Hurt gets in the way of logical clear thought, so let it go. Choose clear thinking instead.

  2. Anger/Hurt doesn't prove anything. What do I need to accept, say or do instead?

  3. I can't control and I'm not responsible for everyone and everything.

  4. How am I also 'guilty' or responsible for what's happened?

  5. The meaning of communication is the response you get. Misunderstanding is easy. Be flexible in how you communicate and make sure you understand.

  6. Mind reading doesn't exist

  7. You think you're right and so do I. What you think or do may seem weird or wrong to me, but I have to accept it's valid for you, given your perspective.

  8. We're all imperfect human beings

How I apply the 8 core learnings and the process depends on the situation…

1. I’m feeling angry with or hurt by someone or someone is feeling angry with or hurt by me

a) someone who I have the opportunity to interact with now.

b) someone I don't have the opportunity to interact with now.

2. I’m angry or hurt by a thing or situation

3. I’m angry with myself

1a. Anger/hurt related to someone who I have the opportunity to interact with now

This is the trickiest situation as it involves others and it’s happening right now!

The chances of things escalating is high if the emotion is allowed to stay in control.

All 8 core learnings need to come into play, and fast!

1 and 2 normally calm me down enough, so I can quickly think through the rest, discover new information or options and decide what I need to accept, say or do next.

Does that always work? NO.

But that’s OK when I remember number 8 – we’re all imperfect human beings.

Whilst I may be able to let my own anger/hurt go in this situation and learn, I can’t control the other person so I focus on steps 1 and 3 of the process with them in mind:

1. What are all the reasons they feel angry or hurt and what’s the impact.

3. How can I help them take back control of their head?!

Safest way to do 1 and 3? Let them rant and get it all out.

Just listen without interrupting and let them know I’ve heard what they have to say. Maybe ask a couple of questions to help with 1 and get more information.

Asking them LOTS of questions or sharing my learning that their emotion is getting in the way of them being able to think clearly or suggesting they count to 10, take a breath or punch something could just add fuel to the flames and may not work out too well for me!!

It’s not always possible to let go of anger or hurt in the moment so my strategy is to do what I can to build in some ‘time out’ to run the process with my 8 core learnings.

For example – always a good idea to do this before responding to that email that just got me from 0 to 10 on the anger scale in one second!

What if none of that works and I still have a problem with this person or situation?

Then it’s time to talk to someone and get some help. That's normally a coach for me, as they come with no judgement, they’re not associated with the situation, and will ask questions for me to consider, or perspectives for me to ‘try on’ so that I can figure out for myself what I’m going to accept, say or do.

1b. Anger/hurt related to someone I don't have the opportunity to interact with now

Either I don’t know the person (e.g. a politician), or they’re no longer in my life and the event is in the past.

This is a less intense situation as I have no way of dealing directly with the person right now, but as a result, it can feel a bit more frustrating.

All 8 learnings still apply but it’s more of a reflective exercise to release the emotion, discover what I can learn for the future and figure out if there is anything I need to accept or do now.

I also find it really helpful to imagine having the conversation I wish I could have with them in my head.

I go through all the different options of how it might go until we have come to a resolution that is acceptable to me.

We may still not agree, but inside my head, I have listened to their points of view, said what I wanted to say and been heard.

Shouting at the telly works pretty well too!

2. I’m angry or hurt by a thing or situation

This typically comes up for me when it rains on my golfing holiday and it’s been sunny for weeks beforehand!

...but it also pops up for other, more important things.

Once again, the news is a good source of these for me. Particularly as I find it very easy to get angry or hurt on behalf of other people.

My strategy?

Apply 1,2 and 3 and remember that 8 applies to the world as well as humans…and then carry on with the process if there's any emotion left.

3. I’m angry with myself

All 8 can be useful for this, but the key core learnings for me are

7 – How did what I did seem ‘right’ at the time? And what can I learn from that?

8 – I’m only human. I need to forgive myself for doing something that now seems wrong.

I hope you’ve found this helpful.

And if you’ve

  • got some stored up anger about things that have happened in the past that you’d like to get rid of,

  • are struggling to let go of anger associated with a person or situation, or

  • have a regular trigger situation that sets you off and you’d like to react differently,

then book a free call and we can discuss options for sorting that out…in as simple, manageable and comfortable way as possible.

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