Empathy on Anger

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     About five or so years ago I went through this anger management class. I did the class because inside I was feeling angry about many things. I just could not figure out why I was getting so angry at so many small little things. I was a part of the class for 10 weeks, and over those 10 weeks I learned so much about myself. I also learned quite a bit about managing my anger. One of the best tools I learned about was empathy. 

In the anger class we defined empathy as 

The ability to experience the world from another perspective, often the perspective of another person...To empathize is to see with the eyes of another, to hear with the ears of another, and to feel with the heart of another.

     Empathy is not something that we just have in our bodies. We need to learn empathy and practice empathy. Our brains are hard wired to have specific world views and opinions which we use to judge other people. It can be frustrating if someone else's views or opinions are not aligned with our own. This frustration is super irritating and builds up a lot of unnecessary anger inside. 

     It's not your fault nor the other persons fault that you are angry. We can chalk the anger up as a "combination of their behavior and our lack of empathy." We must consider the fact that controlling peoples thoughts or actions is out of the question. What we need to do is improve our empathy skills.

     In the class that I was a part of we learned three empathy skills. Empathetic Listening, Self Awareness, & Acceptance. 

     Empathetic Listening is a way to see the world from another person's eyes. To do this you put yourself into that other persons shoes and try to see the world as they do. Master this skill and you will begin to see why a person feels the way they do. 

     Self Awareness is a way to understand not only your own feelings but other peoples feelings too. We must be embrace our own feelings and become aware of why we feel certain ways. Reading other peoples feelings becomes a lot easier once you master this skill. Understanding why a person feels the way they do will help us understand why people act the way they do.

     Acceptance is a way to brush your shoulder off. Once you have an understanding of peoples feelings and their actions, you begin to see that they have a right to their own way of thinking, they have a right to their own world view and their own opinions, they are "allowed to have their feelings without other people telling them how they should feel." 

     Feelings are difficult to control. Most people have a hard enough time trying to control their own feelings. That is why mastering the three skills you just read about is super important. We can't control other peoples feelings or actions, but we can try to understand our own. 

[1] - Taming the Anger Bee May 2005 - www.angercoach.com/pdfs/Anger_Bee_0505.pdf (opens a pdf file)

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