Do you ever feel like you are sitting on the sidelines while others around you are making great leaps of faith and finding their lives exciting, fulfilling and successful? Are you feeling like you don’t have the energy to move … Continue reading
There is so much pain in the world. The murders displayed on the news breaks my heart and reduces me to tears.
It can feel overwhelming on many levels.
Yet, the world I want begins with me.
Anger can be a useful emotion as it directs me to a core issue that is out of balance in my life. It is destructive when I allow it to cause me to react in a way that is devastating to the lives around me.
Anger is the core issue in murder. Period. Uncontrolled, unresolved anger drives a person to act dispicably. Taking someone’s life occurs along way down the pathway of angry emotions. Often, it begins with contempt. Contempt directs our thoughts and attitudes toward fear, negativity, prejudice and hatred.
You must first look within yourself to eliminate the fear, the anger, and the imbalance in your life.
Then and only then can you move forward to create peacefully and powerfully the changes needed in the world.
Today, following the news of 4 killings in Israel, I read that a young Israeli woman called for acts of kindness in response to the murders. This cry for good only comes from a heart that is at peace from within and an understanding that an eye-for-an-eye does not create a better world.
Yesterday, as I was shopping for some treats to have at home, I came across a woman and her grand baby that I had not met from my community. They were retrieving a small bottle of chocolate milk from a cooler in celebration. The child had recently been weaned from her mother’s breast. I stopped and celebrated with them. I cheered for the 2 year old and congratulated her.
I introduced myself to the grandmother and her face beamed with happiness. It kind of shocked me, really. Who am I that meeting me in the grocery store and sharing a few kind words would make any real difference in this woman’s life? But we all know how it feels to have someone appreciate our children or our accomplishments, don’t we?
The woman told me that most of her time was spent working at a local restaurant and she asked me to stop in and visit her. I will, too.
That is how we change the world. I can not fight terrorists in a foreign country but I can…I CAN…work on my heart so that it is open to the people in my community. I can work diligently on the big issues in my heart that prevent my life from being worthwhile. I can also learn self-control so that my issues do not spill over onto the people I meet.
There was a day in my journey that I may never have given this woman the time of day. It might have only been the fact that I was preoccupied with my own world, my busy schedule or that I was exhausted from a full day at work.
People matter. People are what make the world – the world. So, it matters that we relate to each other in meaningful ways, no matter how small or insignificant it may seem.
The world I want begins with me.
I must be a person who makes life worth living, first, in my own life and then shared with those around me.
I have failed many times in my past at this. I whisper a prayer. I get back up. I look inward. I follow wisdom and truth until the values I want to see in the world are firmly planted in my own heart and behaviours.
How about you? Will you join me and peacefully and powerfully create the changes needed in the world – beginning with yourself?
Be kind to someone today and demonstrate a better way of life.
Journey on, dear reader,
the reason is that i place a high value on peace in my life. i believe that i need to guard my heart against anything that might diminish or steal the level of peace that i require for a healthy existence.
there are many things that can affect peace; anger has a big impact along with guilt, stress, and conflict, to name a few.
therefore, i like to do a self assessment from time to time. i liken it to having a yearly physical or mammogram in order to be assured that things are functioning like they should be. as with my physical well-being, preventive maintenance is the best medicine.
i have a life plan and a value system that i use to guide my decisions and monitor my behaviours (i’ll list a few below):
1. there are socially acceptable behaviours and codes of conduct.
2. there are good manners
3. the 10 commandments
4. the wisdom given in the Proverbs
5. the law of love as outlined in Ephesians
6. and others
i use these as a road map along my journey. i deem them a valuable compass for guiding me along the pathway.
in addition, i have a bit of a mental checklist. when dealing with anger, i have learned to ask myself ,”will this matter to me or will i even remember this in five years?” it slows me down enough to prevent rash reactions. if the answer is “yes”, i can pursue the issue. if the answer is “no”, i can applied some anger management skills.
since i have been on the subject, i decided that i would give myself a little check up. i’ve been pretty happy with the way i have been managing anger but i thought it wouldn’t hurt to do a simple assessment.
i went to the Psychology Today website and took their anger management test. it consists of 10 questions and only took 5 minutes to complete. it is only a simple gauge to assess if there might be an need for adjustments in managing this emotion.
my overall score was low indicating that i am rather skilled at coping with potentially angering situations. however, i was cautioned to make sure that i am coping well rather than suppressing anger.
i was pleased with this result and it was in line with my own internal assessment of how things are going. after all, if there is a problem, i usually know there is a problem without having it pointed out to me; unlike my physical condition -where there might be a symptom-free problem present.
if there is an anger problem- i know it…and so do those around me. i tend to become edgy, agitated or annoyed at minor situations. there was a time when i wasn’t managing this emotion very well that i often felt like a ticking time bomb. the indicators are present and signal that a problem exists. the reasons vary; again, stress, unresolved issues, frustration or misunderstanding can be triggers.
i encourage you to take the test. it is easy to do. keeping a pulse on your emotion well-being is very beneficial. if adjustments are required, it is much easier to handle when it’s a small issue rather than letting it become a bigger problem.
maintaining peace will make your journey much easier to travel.
my wish is that your heart be filled with peace,
let’s talk about how to handle the emotion called anger.
to a great extent the sudden excitement on the reception of an injury is involuntary, and consequently innocent. anger is excited when a horse kicks us; when we stub our toe on a chair or when someone raises his hand to strike us. the purpose is rouse us to an immediate defense of ourselves when suddenly attacked. it prompts immediate action to self-protection. however, when that is done its proper purpose ceases.
beyond this purpose, anger is like poison.
this is why Paul offered the wisdom to “Go ahead and be angry. You do well to be angry—but don’t use your anger as fuel for revenge. And don’t stay angry. Don’t go to bed angry.” (MSG) you might be more familiar with the KJV that basically says to anger and sin not; don’t let the sun go down on your wrath.
either way, the wisdom in this advice is that anger should be dealt with quickly and not allowed to sit within our heart boiling away until it fuels a desire to extract revenge.
difficult to practice.
following a very volatile divorce and custody battle, i found my heart broken and full of pain.
each unresolved, threatening issue caused me to feel more and more vulnerable and at risk.
there were valid reasons for my anger and i desperately wanted to save myself from real and perceived danger.
my heart was becoming a storage vessel. mark twain stated that anger is an acid that can do more harm to a vessel in which it is stored than to anything on which it is poured.
this was true in my case.
not only, was my anger ineffective in dealing with my ex, but my heart was so full of anger that i became explosive at minor annoyances in other areas of my life. the anger was refusing to remain contained.
i was losing my ability to walk my journey in peace.
this made my existence miserable.
the price was far to high…i began to crave the return of peace in my life. i had held on to this anger far too long.
i had to get a grip on this emotion.
i had to “let it go!” i could not sleep on it one more night. this was difficult because i wanted justice.
Or rather i had convinced myself that justice was the reason i needed to hold on so tightly. the reality is that i had been harbouring a desire for revenge.
i also cherished ill-will against the person and not the action.
i started by making a list of appropriate responses; speak kindly or don’t speak at all; make maintaining peace a top priority; listen more carefully to what was being said and not what i perceived as being said; take a “time out” if i felt my anger levels rising; and no matter the action-forgive and release quickly (stop rehearsing how i had been wronged in my head and to others).
it took practice. it required restraint. sometimes I had to just be “quiet” until i returned to a calm state of mind. and i prayed a lot…”Lord, give me strength!” my southern friends will know what I mean. 😎
i did get there.
if you find, your heart constantly exploding in anger, remember:
-anger may not be unavoidable.
-anger has proper bounds. do not allow it to overstep them.
-do not cherish it.
-do not let it remain in your heart all day long. let it go as quickly as possible.
-let the last rays of sun find you always peaceful and calm.
peace is far more rewarding and makes life’s journey enjoyable.
as you read my blogs, you will often hear me make the statement “look inside your heart” when attempting to empathize with what someone else is feeling or going through. i believe there are similarities deep within all of our hearts…common threads of emotions whether happiness and joy, or pain and fear.
today, i’m sharing an example of how this works.
sitting in a cave alone, tired and afraid, the Psalmist David writes these words. just see, if by looking inside your heart, whether or not you can understand his difficulty and relate to the essence of his pain.
he was on the verge of loosing his courage and will to fight.
this is his, “i need some help here. i’m about to loose it!” (as we would say today).
I cry out to the Lord.
I beg the Lord to help me.
I tell him my problems;
I tell him about my troubles.
I am ready to give up.
But you, Lord, know the path I am on,
and you know that my enemies have set a trap for me.
I look around,and I don’t see anyone I know.
I have no place to run.
There is no one to save me.
Lord, I cry out to you for help:
“You are my place of safety.
You are all I need in life.”
Listen to my prayer.
I am so weak.
Save me from those who are chasing me.
They are stronger than I am.
Help me escape this trap,so that I can praise your name.
Then good people will celebrate with me,
because you took care of me.
you’re not alone…
others know how you feel…
if you’d like to whisper a prayer for help…this is a great one.
recently, my in-laws came into town and we planned a trip to the park with my nephew and my two grand children. we started out with three happy-go-lucky children who were excited to participate in a fun filled afternoon. things were going quite well, if i do say so myself…
and squirting water…and smiles…
and before we blinked twice…there were tears in abundance…tears brought on by the adults in the group who played on an adult playing field and left the children heart broken.
pawpaw played too rough for the grand children resulting in injuries (minor to the body but huge to their hearts)…and daddy played in a way that frightened my nephew…
there we were with three children with broken hearts.
what i witnessed was that at their tender ages, they did not know what to do with what they were feeling…
no matter how many apologies were given…the tears continued to pour.
i hugged each child and explained that although what the adults did was pretty yukky to a little kid, the offending adult did not mean to cause them pain or to hurt them…even though that is what happened.
i asked the adult to come over and say to the child, “i’m sorry that i hurt you.”
i then asked the child to offer forgiveness and say, “pawpaw, i forgive you.” or “daddy, i forgive you.”
my goodness…the tears poured out even more. my grandson said to me, “i can’t forgive him” and he walked to another part of the playground by himself.
i watched as he sat alone for a few minutes and, when he could he rejoined the group, as someone suggested we go to another part of the park and visit the animals.
as we walked, i noticed my grandson and his pawpaw walking together ahead of the group. pawpaw later explained to me that, my grandson had run ahead of the rest of us to catch up with him and as they walked, Jake said, “pawpaw, i forgive you for hurting me.” my husband then explained that he realised his actions were silly but that he had not wanted to hurt Jake…he just wanted to play and it turned out badly. he also promised not to play rough like that again.
as my husband told me about their conversation, i smiled because i realised that my grandson had taken himself out of the situation to be alone for a few minutes and when he had processed his feelings and was able, he extended forgiveness and moved on.
that was a proud moment for me…i saw maturity developing in my six year old grand child.
it can be frustrating working with children because they have not reached a place of understanding concerning their emotions or how to work through what they are feeling.
we teach children to walk, dress themselves, colour inside of the lines, and these skills help them make advances in life.
i think it is as important to help our young children begin to understand what and why they are feeling what they are feeling and give them tools for coping and managing their emotions.
they may not get the whole concept, but children are bright (my grand children can operate technology better than i can) and they are capable of building life skills that will benefit them on their life journey when they are dealing with emotions in friendships, family, work and other social arenas.
here are a few things that are important for children to learn concerning emotions:
1. how to identify what they are feeling. am i angry or frustrated? do you realise that a child’s reaction to anger is the same or nearly the same as when they are frustrated? learning to recognise the difference and communicate it, will actually help the adults in their lives help them come to grips with how to handle the emotion effectively. children need permission to express emotions in a healthy way.
2. what to do with that emotion? suggesting the child take some time on their own to allow angry or frustrated emotions to settle is a valuable solution. however, it is more than a “go to your room until you calm down” response on the adult’s part. i have found with both of my grandchildren that even when an angry emotion is raw, when i remain calm and ask them if they are feeling angry, the emotion often diffuses quite a bit at that point. as we adults know, when someone shows understanding concerning what we are feeling, some of the pain is removed. adults should be good role models. show children how they can express their emotions. use show and tell, art and writing as outlets for emotional expression.
3. discuss and practice appropriate behaviour. children do not learn and perfect skills on the first attempt. we stand them up, we encourage them to take a step and they fall down. we then try again. it is the same with training any skill and it can be applied to teaching and training them how to maintain healthy emotional well-being. give children phrases and options that they can use when they are attempting to express themselves. help them practice the skills so that processing their feelings becomes as natural as brushing their teeth will one day.
by the way, we ended our park adventure with many more smiles than tears…and had a lovely afternoon.
i would love to hear how you help you children process their emotions. please stop by the comments section before you go and share your experiences with me.
here’s to smiling children and enjoyable afternoons,
i understand the warning signs that my body is not functioning properly. i can see and feel most of the symptoms as they present themselves. when i recognize what symptoms i am dealing with, i can make a decision concerning the seriousness and appropriate treatment.
normally, if the symptom are not serious and within my realm of ability to treat, i address the symptom. if i have a minor cut and bleeding, i wash the cut, apply antibacterial cream and grab a bandage. if i am running a fever, have a cough and runny nose, i treat a cold or flu.
when i had breast cancer, i knew that something was not right but couldn’t put my finger on the problem. i had to see a doctor for a diagnosis.
when i have no symptoms but want to ensure that i continue enjoying a healthy lifestyle, i have annual check-ups with my health professionals.
i think it is equally as important to recognize when our emotional well-being is healthy or recognize the warnings that there might be something wrong.
our emotional well-being becomes wounded when we experience damage to intimacy, acceptance, value and sense of belonging. most emotional wounds will fall under one of these categories including abuse. abuses attack our sense of value, tramples our boundaries for intimacy, threatens our perception of acceptance and crushes our sense of belonging in a safe environment.
the wounds appear as symptoms in four areas; our thinking, our emotions, our behaviours and our spirit.
healthy emotions are easy to identify. they are identified by:
wouldn’t you agree that when you are feeling at your emotional best…these are evident and flowing freely?
in the same way that it easy to detect a fever when it is coming on (your temperature goes up…and up…and up), there are warning signs when your emotional well-being is at risk. these warning signs will indicate that there a wound, a potential problem or a threat that requires attention. like physical symptoms, if the symptoms are temporary and pass quickly, there is usually not a problem. however, if these emotional symptoms persist, healing action should be taken. Allowed to continue, they will prevent you from being free to do what you desire to do to build an overall healthy lifestyle.
the symptoms are identified as:
- deep sorrow or sadness
- constant agitation, anger, and snappiness
- persistent desire to give up or quit
- harshness, being deliberately hurtful and cutting
- feeling or acting revengeful, deliberately choosing wrong actions over right
- being deceitful, untrustworthy, disloyal, or cheating
- being overly forceful, heavy-handed, or extreme intensity
- being unsettled, unable to control negative impulses
people everywhere are struggling with wounded emotions. their hearts have endured many negative experiences resulting in untold damage. the damage needs to be dealt with in order for healthy well-being to be restored. when it comes to emotional issues, people have become very skilled at building defence mechanisms, sweeping the issues under the carpet or pretending they don’t exist. these mechanisms inhibit their pursuit of happy, healthy living.
even though the damage occurs against your will, you do not have to allow them to persist, grow or control your life. you can begin to treat the symptoms before they become too serious – if you recognize the warnings. if the symptoms have reached a serious state, you can reach out for help – with prayer, talk to a trusted friend, or seek a professional for help.
we all are going to get a few bumps and bruises along the way. offenses will come. early detection is vital to the prevention of more serious problems.
last week, i recognized myself becoming less and less tolerant and a bit snappy.
- i took my emotional temperature. i observed my reactions, my thoughts, emotions and behaviours.
- i got quiet. i know that when my reactions and behaviours are a bit out of line – i need to adjust something. for the well-being of my relationships, i get quiet to prevent causing damage. it actually took me a couple of days to pinpoint the problem which is ok. i just guard my behaviours and emotions to keep them in better alignment.
- once i knew what was causing the symptoms to manifest, i took action. i discovered that i had an agreement with someone that i felt had been broken. i could take control of the problem and address the issue.
- i determined my role and took responsibility. i needed to accept my role in the break down. was it communication? or expectations? had i carried out my part in the agreement? was there anything on my part that needed to be taken care of?
- i needed to communicate the issue and see what solution could be achieved.
when i treated the problem, the symptoms disappeared pretty quickly. ignoring the issue and pretending that i was not effected would not have returned my emotions to a calm, peaceful state. even if i was unable to completely resolve the problem, i am in control of my reactions and can avert negative consequences. i can’t control others but i can control myself and maintain my own well-being.
check your emotional temperature…your emotional well-being may be at risk…if it is…take action…today.
i hope to see you again soon,