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  • Writer's pictureTravisha Howard

Overcoming Anger

Recently at work, I cursed out one of my coworkers. I know, it's such an unprofessional thing to do. However, I feel as though I had been really patient with this young woman and she was extremely rude, disrespectful and unprofessional. After I cursed her out I took some time to cool off. I realized at the time of our verbal explosion, I felt my body get really hot, my heart beat sped up and I clenched my fist. I also realized that I couldn't remember everything that I'd said to her. I remember her saying something really disrespectful to me and I snapped. I forgot that I was at work. I forgot that there were people around us. Once I reflected on my reaction, I was not very proud of my actions. Although I don't feel I owe this young lady an apology because she had it coming, I'm giving myself grace and permission to grow from this experience. I'm a work in progress.

As I reflected on the situation I asked myself, why did I allow her to take me out of character? "Taking me out of character" doesn't mean that my usual mannerisms are fake. What I'm referring to is the fact that this situation knocked me off my center, I lost my cool. I read somewhere that

anger itself only lasts about two seconds, everything else is a choice.

So I had to ask myself, why did I choose to curse her out? Why did I choose to raise my voice, speak profanities and clench my fist? At my core, I uphold myself to a certain standard at work and in life. Why did I choose to give this situation power over me?

My answer is, I didn't assert myself with this young lady sooner. In retrospect I realize that I should have asserted my boundaries of professional etiquette and communication the first time she spoke to me in an unprofessional manner. I initially thought I was taking the high road by ignoring her passive aggressions. I'd observed her to be a miserable person and her true issue was with herself, not me. However, not asserting my boundaries or in other words teaching her how to treat me, gave her permission to continue to behave in that manner. Once she became aggressive with me I responded with an angry outburst. I realized the angry outburst could have been prevented if I hadn't let my irritation build up.

Overcoming Anger:

  1. Acknowledge the emotion.

  2. Understand that anger is the shell of another emotion such as hurt, embarrassment, shame, disrespect etc.. Identify what you truly feel.

  3. Being assertive is not rude. You have to teach people how to treat you.

  4. The sooner you assert your boundaries the better.

  5. Take a beat. If you find yourself feeling angry. CHOOSE to step away and calm down. Don't choose violence (unless it is absolutely necessary).

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