What do you say when you’re angry? Most of the time, you can express yourself with just the right words. Being angry, at a full raging boil, is not one of those times.
When you’re angry, what you want to say and what you should say are usually two different things. Saying the right thing is not that easy when you’re angry.
There are a few things that you can say that will make you feel proud of yourself, and won’t hurt your relationship with your lover, your child, your boss or whoever it is who just set you off. You just need the one-minute solution to be ready to say them. Fortunately, it’s not hard.
Whatever the circumstances, you can feel yourself getting ready to blow your top. You’re angry and you’d love to give somebody a piece of your mind.
There is a time to speak, and a time to be silent. When you take the time to be silent first, your time to speak will work a lot better for you.
Say Nothing When You’re Angry
While you strive to say the right things, you’re just not always going to succeed. Sometimes, knowing the right thing to say takes a little time.
It’s bad enough if you spew expletives. It’s worse if you say things that you really don’t mean.
Words spoken in anger are futile and empty. They never help you stay connected to others. Instead of adding to the bridge that connects you, angry words form an obstacle between you. Blow your top enough times, or just blow it high enough once, and you’ll end the relationship. Sometimes, there’s no going back.
All the negative things you might say, no matter how justified you might believe yourself to be, no matter how unfair the situation, will only make your life worse. Words spoken in anger only escalate a situation. They never calm it down. They never make it better.
Think about it for a minute. When was the last time you let loose with a torrent of words and it improved the situation? You might have felt smug for a few minutes. The other person might have even apologized for making you angry. But once the power surge ended, then where were you?
“Among my most prized possessions
are words that I have never spoken.”
~ Orson Scott Card
The One-Minute Solution
You know when you’re in a situation and you should hold your tongue. But it’s really hard to keep silent when your blood is boiling.
The trick is to buy yourself a little time to get you past your gasket-blowing precipice and to dispel some of your energy burning inside you.
Here are three or four steps to keeping your cool so you can say nothing. Try it as you read, it’ll help you remember what you need to do.
- Take a deep breath. However you normally inhale when you need extra oxygen is just fine.
- Physically move. It doesn’t matter whether you walk a few steps, stand up, pick up a stack of books and set them down again, wiggle your feet, stretch your arms over your head, or make some other seemingly pointless action. Moving releases some of your energy, redirects your attention, and buys yourself a few more seconds of time.
- Take another breath. This time, hold it for several seconds before exhaling through your nose, normally, without excessive force or any obvious sound.
This is an optional step to take if you can. If you have the mental bandwidth at the time, remind yourself of some of the facts above. Let your brain cool your emotions while your body works off the energy.
The three steps take no more than a minute. They will help you feel calmer. With practice, you can learn to incorporate the fourth step as well.
What to Say When You’re Angry
Whether you do three steps or all four, instead of being out of control, you’ll be in control. You’ll be able to evaluate your options for what to say.
- You can ignore what was said. Not everything deserves a response.
- You can pursue the conversation rationally.
- You can tell the speaker that you can’t talk about it right now and ask to revisit the subject later.
You have the choice of ruling your own spirit, or of letting it rule you. When you rule your spirit, you choose when and how you will respond to others’ words or actions. You’ll know exactly what to say.
“Weak people talk and do not act,
strong people act and keep quiet.”
~ Eliphas Levi
Live Honest, Open and True
When you’re angry and don’t know what to say, take just one minute to calm yourself by taking a breath, moving, and taking another breath. Then, consider whether you want to respond, say nothing, or delay the conversation to a better time.
I believe in you and want the best for you and know you can achieve the best for yourself.
What are your tricks for keeping your cool and finding the right thing to say when you’re angry? Tweet me @lifeishotblog with the hash tag #LifeIsHOT!