Diffusing Anger

Next time you’re ranting and raving about someone doing you wrong, try this technique for diffusing the negativity: put yourself in their shoes.

Sounds simple, but it’s an easy method for releasing anger, blame and resentment.

Think of a time you did what they’ve done, or said what they’ve said. Finding it within yourself allows you to consciously acknowledge you’re capable of it as well, which helps dissipate your negative feelings towards them. (It’s called shadow work.)

Someone cuts you off in traffic? Yeah, you do that too sometimes, right? It happens. Your co-worker said something inappropriate? “Mmm, yeah, there was that time when I … ” Think of when you’ve done something similar, or imagine how you might. When you can see it in you, it’s not so disturbing to see in someone else. It’s when you disavow it within yourself that it triggers your exaggerated response.

When we overreact to a perceived slight or injustice, it’s a sign we’ve disowned that trait within ourselves. When we realize we have that same capability (to do what our “wrongdoer” did), it’s no longer a button others can push.

It’s also a nice reminder that we’re all connected; we’re all one. If someone slights you, respond how you’d want them to if roles were reversed. Cut some slack; keep it friendly. It’s good for them and good for you.

  • April 1, 2007