Controlling Your Temper

Temper, personality, human nature – these are some of the terms we use to try and explain why we say and do things we regret later. We “lose our temper” when faced with certain situations or specific opponents in an argument. We attribute this to our “personality” – this mysterious set of habits that not only keeps changing but also is contradictory in itself. Lastly, we call it “human nature” as if giving ourselves a way to save face when our actions and words are not at their finest.

Problem is, while we experience something close to exhilaration while being enraged, the feeling quickly passes leaving us feeling like crap. Our body feels weak and exhausted, our mind empty. We begin thinking of all the possible ways we could’ve handled the situation. We reluctantly admit that we’re going to have to make peace with the people or person we just yelled at. These thoughts are not too happy usually and cause us pain of varying degrees.

We have caused ourselves pain deliberately by succumbing to this thing we call temper. What is it and why does it have such a grip on us?

Usually, whatever negative reaction we have, is a manifestation of our fears and complexes. Sometimes, these are buried so deep we’re not even aware of them; we don’t remember what caused them. Because of this, we are not able to analyze these fears and complexes and to figure out how to eliminate negative behavior they’re causing. I’ll give you a quick guide to help you identify the roots of all this:

v Do you become defensive anytime anyone criticizes you?

v Do you feel like these people have no right to do so?

v Do you become enraged right away or carry your rage away and keep it for a long time?

v Do you look at easygoing people and wish you were more like them?

If your answer to all or most of these questions is “yes”, you could look for the roots of your temper issue in your early years. There’s a very good chance you’ll find them there. Here’s what to look for:

v Have you been criticized often as a child?

v Have you been told repeatedly that you’re not doing something properly?

v Have you seen adults lose their temper when you didn’t achieve something they seemed to have in mind for you?

If your answers are “yes”, you have most likely found the culprits. When we are very young, we rarely realize that the very people raising us come complete with their own set of fears, problems and complexes. Their negative reactions are manifestations of those issues, as well as ours. Unfortunately, no one explains this to us early on, so we’re left to our own devices to figure out, why. We do this to the best of our abilities and in most cases, too many issues remain unsolved, simply because we don’t have the tools yet to solve them. We then build a line of defense against anything that resembles the “attacks” we couldn’t explain. This line of defense automatically detects any signs of “offensive behavior” and prevents their intrusion. It happens because we still haven’t figured out how to properly handle things like criticism, like people disagreeing with us, etc.

v We should allow ourselves to think that other people may very well not be out to get us.

v We should accept that we could only know our own motivations and not other people’s.

v We should concentrate on our own reactions and always be aware of them; always staying in the present.

v We should always remember that while we cannot change other people, we can always change ourselves.

In fact, we should be changing constantly. We should be weeding out any remnants of any negative reaction or emotion. We should be doing this simply because it would make us feel and live better in the long run.

Go ahead, give this a try! It’s a fairly challenging task, so be patient with yourself and remember to praise and congratulate yourself for any achievement, no matter big or small. If you feel you’re losing sight of things, re-read this article and continue your efforts. Don’t be afraid, don’t expect any specific result – concentrate on the process and you’ll get to where you want to be eventually.

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