How many times has someone said or done something that you chose to respond in anger, whether you held back or expressed your emotions? Did you notice how I phrased it as a choice? Most people blame other people for what they feel such as “He made me mad when he said or did…” When you choose to exercise a 100% responsibility mindset, you’ll realize that you own your feelings and your choices.
How does one own their negative feelings and move into a place of peace and safety? The path starts with anger and moves through hurt, fear, remorse, forgiveness, appreciation, and finally ends in love. People commonly get stuck in the fear stage, because it requires personal awareness, humility, and at times uncomfortable decision-making to make it all the way to love. They are required to process their feelings (anger, hurt, and fear) and then move into what can feel like difficult choices (forgiveness, appreciation, and love).
Example: From Anger to Love
Moving toward remorse requires you to claim responsibility for what you created, contributed, promoted, or allowed to happen. You may not feel practiced or skills, but you can start now. Let’s take an example of how this process might work.
ANGER: My mother makes me angry. Every time I talk with her, she tells me all the things I should be doing with my life and how I’m not making good decisions. She doesn’t realize it, but we’re talking less and less, because she doesn’t have anything positive to say.
HURT: I’m hurt that my mother doesn’t have enough faith in me to make good decisions. I wouldn’t say that all my decisions are the best, but compared to others, I’m holding my ground, and I’m willing to live with their consequences.
FEAR: I’m afraid if I say anything to my mom about the way she is hurting me, I’ll hurt her feelings, she’ll get defensive, or worse yet, it will damage our relationship. I also don’t want her thinking I’m a failure.
REMORSE: I regret not saying anything to her about how I feel. I’m not honoring our relationship by not being respectfully truthful and allowing the distance to grow in our relationship. I own that, and it’s gone on for too long.
FORGIVENESS: I forgive my mother. I know she worries about me, she loves me, and she has the best intentions. Unfortunately, she doesn’t understand what her comments are doing to our relationship, because I haven’t shared my feelings with her. How could I blame her for something she didn’t know?
APPRECIATION: I appreciate my mom. Some people have mothers who don’t even care. I’m lucky to have a mother who cares enough to share what’s on her heart.
LOVE: I love my mom for all that she does for me. Because I love her, I’m going to share my feelings, give examples so she understands what I’m referring to, and then put in appropriate boundaries for our conversations so we can have a positive relationship.
About the Author: Sandra Dillon is a professional life coach with an extensive background in leadership and business consulting. She has a passion to help people be the hero of their own life stories. She administers assessments, designs and facilitates workshops, and coaches both individuals and teams. You can learn more about Sandra or engage her as your coach by reaching out to her at firstname.lastname@example.org or by visiting her website at www.shinecrossings.com