I’m not proud of the fact that I have a bad temper, which is sometimes accompanied by such charming activities as:
- Throwing things
- Feeling hugely sorry for poor old me
- Making all my cats hide until I calm down
There–I told you I wasn’t proud of it. For all I trumpet about being a good sport and trying to understand the other person, well–I don’t always take my own advice.
So, after years of painful mistakes and cringe-worthy memories of things I have said and done in anger, I have learned the following:
- Recognize the anger (well, duh)
- Place the anger properly (i.e., don’t assume that everything that makes you mad is the other person’s fault)
- Understand that other people make mistakes–just as we do
- Resist the temptation to call or email the person with whom you are angry
- Most of all, MOST importantly–give your feelings a day. One day.
If one day isn’t enough, give it another. Follow this until you can address the situation sanely and without anger. If it takes a week or more, then that’s how long it should be.
Case in point: I ordered the most gorgeous bracelet; I had it custom-made for me. I chose all the elements and left it up to the artist to put them together. Two days later, I received it. I felt like a kid on Christmas morning and ripped the package open.
There it was–an absolute perfection of silver chain, luminous moonstones, and glowing pearls. It was, in a word, magnificent. I put it on, and, because of its chunkiness, I wasn’t able to fasten it.
Well–I had already had a lousy day, and was so looking forward to this marvelous creation and wanted to wear it right then. I complained long and loud about it and was ready to send an angry email to the seller and give him a piece of my angry mind.
I even called a friend who also makes jewelry and complained to her. She listened and agreed how frustrating it is to look forward to something and then not be able to wear it. Then she asked me if I was still mad.
I replied that damn right I was still mad! I could hear the smile in her voice as she said, “Why don’t you give this a day or two? You’ve had a couple of bad days, and you may be lumping this together with your disappointment that you can’t wear the bracelet right away.”
I was gobstruck–she was absolutely right; what I needed to do was to give it a day (or more) before contacting the artist. Now you would think I’d have the brains to figure that out, wouldn’t you? I mean, I was angry, not stupid. (Well, stupid mad, anyway.)
So, that’s what I’m did. I gave myself two days to cool off, then I contacted the artist and explained my issue. All I needed was three more links to give the bracelet more play, for which of course I offered to pay. And guess what–the artist wrote back and said he would gladly send me three more links–no charge! How great is that?
Lesson learned–you certainly have the right to go bat-crap crazy about something; just don’t act on it right away. I needed those two day to get over myself and think clearly. Thanks to my dear friend who suggested it, I gained a calmer state of mind and was better able to communicate. AND I didn’t throw anything! So the furious-at-first-glance thing? I’m making it a rule from now on to just give something that frustrates or angers me a day. Just one day.
(And hey–I used part of my angry time to vacuum the house. I was in a bad mood anyway, so why not?)