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Anger: A Temporary State of Mind, May 14, 2012

We've all been there.

We've been there when someone misunderstands something we've said and thinks that we're the most thoughtless jerk in the world.

We've been there when the phone rings and the person on the other end blames us for a disaster beyond our control.

We've been there when we wanted to do something special for someone and everything goes wrong.

We've been there with someone who was having the worst time of their life.

And yet... there we were... in situations we didn't ask to be in, with people who were extremely angry with us. Things inevitably happen that leave us dealing with angry people. When someone is angry with us, we naturally want to make the situation better, yet oftentimes we find that anything we say to the angry person only serves to make them angrier. It is very difficult to accept that we cannot do anything to relieve the person's anger.

After many years of seeing this happen over and over, I've come to a single conclusion: The most important thing to understand about anger is that it is a temporary state of mind.

As difficult and counter-intuitive as it may be to disengage and walk away from someone who is angry at me, I find that it's almost always easier to work with the problem underlying the anger after the initial excitement has dissipated. Needless to say, this applies doubly when it is I who am the angry person!