A Coaching Power Tool created by Kalpana Patel
(Relationship and Wellness Coaching, UNITED STATES)
Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned. – Buddha
What is Anger?
Anger is a normal emotion with a wide range of intensity, from mild irritation and frustration to rage. It is a reaction to a perceived threat to ourselves, our loved ones, our property, our self-image, or some part of our identity. Anger is a warning bell that tells us that something is wrong.
Everyone experiences anger, and it can be healthy. It can motivate us to stand up for correct injustices and ourselves. When we manage anger well, it prompts us to make positive changes in our lives and situations.
Mismanaged anger, on the other hand, is counterproductive and can be unhealthy. When anger is too intense, out of control, misdirected, and overly aggressive, it can lead to poor decision making and problem solving, create problems with relationships and at work, and can even affect your health.
If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion – Dalai Lama
What is Compassion?
The definition of compassion is the ability to understand the emotional state of another person or oneself. Often confused with empathy, compassion has the added element of having a desire to alleviate or reduce the suffering of another. Having compassion for someone involves more than putting yourself in their place and genuinely wanting to understand or even help them
Anger vs Compassion:
Last year I lost my friend (will call her Maya) to domestic violence. This happened just as I was trying to cope with the loss of my dad. This incident left me in a state of shock. It was something you only hear about in the papers and news, not something you experience yourself. As the reality of the news sunk in, I was left with a lot of anger. Anger towards her husband (Samir). I could not believe that he had done, what he had and not thought about the future of their 3 children. I found myself constantly trying to go online to check what happened regarding the case almost wishing to see that he has to pay a price for it.
I would every so often go and look at Samir’s facebook pictures and also some you tube videos that he had taken with his kids to surprise Maya, who was living away from the family due to work reasons. Not sure when this change happened, but I found myself thinking a lot about what must have led Samir to do what he ended up doing. He seemed to be a great father who was always capturing even small events or achievements of his kids. I could see the love in eyes for his wife in all his pictures. I would often think about what must he be feeling or thinking now. I asked myself if I was doing the right thing by holding on to that anger. I thought about what that anger was doing to me, and how it was affecting my life or my behavior. I wondered about whether being angry was helping in any way. I asked myself if it was worth it. I asked myself if it would be possible to change that feeling. I slowly realized that as I was letting go of all that anger that was built up inside of me, I was making way for compassion. As I was doing that, I felt that I was no one had the right to judge someone. I did not know what series of events led to that moment of anger where he probably did not even realize what he had done. Although I agree that nobody has the right to take someone’s life, I also agree that Maya is now is a state of peace but Samir will live with this pain or regret forever. That in it self is his punishment and there is no reason for me to hold on to that anger. I also decided to go and meet Samir in prison to be sure that I have no trace of anger left in me. When I went to see him, and seeing him cry and miss his wife and kids, made me feel that he truly regretted what must have happened in a split second of uncontrolled anger. All I feel for him now is forgiveness and compassion.
Some questions that we can ask ourselves is
- In what situation, do you find yourself feeling angry?
- What can you do to change that anger to forgiving and compassion?
- Why is it important to change that feeling of anger to feeling of compassion?
- How do you feel when you have been able to release anger and make place for compassion?
Coaches need to be aware of their emotional state before a coaching session. Entering a session with anger due to any reason, will make that session an unsuccessful one.
We also have to help our clients to be aware if there is built up anger or the tendency towards anger. The awareness of the presence of anger is the first step towards working on this problem.
The questions we could ask the clients to help them with anger are:
- How is anger affecting your lives?
- What could you do to change this?
- Would you be willing to accept that this problem exists and take help of loved ones to resolve this?
- How would you feel if you could change this feeling of anger to love or compassion?
- How do you think your loved ones would feel if you could succeed at doing this?