Not all anger is a problem.
Problem-anger makes you act against your best interests.
Or keeps you from acting in your best interests.
The latter can be subtle, like putting a chilly wall between you and someone you love.
That won’t get you arrested…
But it will ruin your life.
Too Little, Too Late
Anger management relies on conscious intention to manage unconscious emotion.
But anger occurs about 5,000 times faster than you can say…
Most anger and resentment are conditioned responses overriding conscious intention.
That’s why Mr. Hyde can’t remember what Dr. Jekyll learned in anger management class.
Anger Treatment Success
Repeating the brief exercises in Core Value Reconditioning builds a new conditioned response.
This new conditioned response will move you automatically from a devalued state of anger or resentment…
To a feeling of core value.
Instead of blaming, denying, or avoiding…
You’ll try to improve, appreciate, connect, or protect.
You’ll be returned to the download page immediately after purchase.
Anger, Anxiety, Resentment, Stress, Basic Humanity
To reduce anger, resentment, anxiety, and stress…
Expand your sense of basic humanity.
After 30 years of work on problems of anger, resentment, anxiety, and stress…
Having written half a dozen books on the subject…
I still get sarcastic emails:
“I want to manage anger, anxiety, and stress, but I’m not interested in becoming a better person.”
Let me be clear.
Your chances of consistently managing anger, anxiety, resentment, and stress, without becoming a better person:
By the time we’re adults, most anger, resentment, anxiety, and reactions to stress are conditioned responses.
The most common conditioned response is triggered by sudden drops in self-value.
We feel devalued.
The only way to change a conditioned response is to develop new ones.
CompassionPower offers techniques that, with practice, build more beneficial conditioned responses.
However, for some people, those won’t be enough.
The only significant and lasting improvement in life and relationships results from becoming “a better person.”
We become better persons by staying in touch with our sense of basic humanity…
The survival-based capacity for interest in the well-being of others.
Basic Humanity as Motivation
Basic humanity is more important as a motivation than a feeling.
It motivates respectful, helpful, valuing, nurturing, protective, and altruistic behaviors.
In adversity it motivates sacrifice.
In emergency it motivates rescue.
A Condition for Personal Growth
Basic humanity allows us to grow beyond the limitations of personal experience and prejudice.
When out of touch with basic humanity for too long…
We become locked in a prison of the self.
The sense of self grows fragile, in constant need of validation by others.
We become intolerant of differences, resentful, anxious, or angry.
Other people matter only to the extent that they validate our (inherently biased) experience.
We feel less humane.
In touch with basic humanity, we become smarter about the world around us and our relationship to it.
There’s an intrinsic reward for this expanded vision:
The more in touch with basic humanity, the better we feel.
Emotions of Basic Humanity
Compassion – motivation to help relieve pain, suffering, discomfort, or hardship.
Kindness – motivation to help others be well.
Guilt – motivation to be true to personal values and community standards.
Shame – motivation to succeed or compensate.
Anxiety – motivation to avoid exposure to guilt or shame.
Violations of basic humanity automatically stimulate guilt, shame, or anxiety, to motivate humane behavior.
But that natural motivation is subverted by the toddler coping mechanisms:
Blame, denial, avoidance.
Yes, these ways of coping begin in toddlerhood.
Ask a two-year-old how the toy came to be broken, you’ll likely hear:
“He/she did it.”
Or, “I don’t know.”
Or the kid is preoccupied, ignoring you, or hiding.
Toddler coping mechanisms invoke the anger-resentment formula:
Anger = vulnerable feeling (guilt, shame, anxiety, sadness)
Resentment = vulnerable feeling
Blame, denial, or avoidance.
Blame, denial, and avoidance cut us off from basic humanity.
To regulate anger, resentment, anxiety, and stress, we must become better persons.
How to Maintain Basic Humanity
Accept the complexity of human beings.
When you’re sure you understand someone, you’re most likely oversimplifying, based on superficial observations, through inherently biased lenses.
Appreciate as many differences as you can; tolerate the ones you can’t appreciate.
Focus on categories of values rather than specific values.
We tend to make invidious, error-prone judgments about people whose values are different.
To combat this tendency, we must appreciate what we share with most others…
Not specific values, but value categories.
The value categories which anthropological evidence suggests have been important to humans since our earliest time on the planet are:
- The ability to form and maintain emotional bonds
- A sense of spirituality (desire for connection with something larger than the self)
- A sense of community (identification with or connection to a group of people)
- Appreciation of natural and creative beauty.
What makes me like myself better?
In general, feelings are not a good guide for becoming a better person.
They’re always derived from past experience…
Acting on them means repeating the same mistakes over and over.
An exception lies in behaviors and attitudes that produce more positive feelings about the self.
Ask, will I like myself better focused on:
- How my values differ from someone else’s?
- Or how the categories of our values are similar?
Do I like myself better:
- When I’m devaluing other people?
- When I’m in touch with basic humanity?