Helping Nonprofit Leaders Transform Conflict

Leadership Coach and Mediator

Nine steps to deal unmindfully with your anger

  1. Start by being angry. Preferably with someone close, someone you deeply care about. Your partner, your best friend, your mom.
  2. Stimulate blame and thoughts of wrongness about the other person. “They don’t care about me.” “They don’t give a shit.” “They take me for granted.” Be creative!! There are so many choices! So pick any thought that ignites your anger even more.
  3. DON’T connect with the pain underneath your thoughts. DON’T feel your hurt, your shame, the old wound of thinking you’re not good enough, you’re not worthy, you don’t belong. For crying out loud, stay angry and work yourself up into more anger!
  4. DON’T talk to the person you’re struggling with. DON’T ask for help. Stop any impulse to practice going back to your breath. Forget Thich Nhat Hanh‘s suggestions to be gentle with your anger, to take good care of it, holding it like a crying baby. Run after the one you think put your house on fire, and DON’T try to quench the fire. You carry a slip of Thich-Nhat-Hanh’s-mindfulness-anger-steps? [1. I breathe in, I breathe out. Say “Darling, I suffer, I’m angry.”, 2. Breathe in, breathe out. Say “I’m trying, I’m really trying.” 3. Breathe in, breathe out. Say “I need your help and support.”??] This is THE time to tear it up and THROW it away! Remember you’re trying to do something unmindfully with your anger, not something beneficial.
  5. Disconnect from the person you blame. Make sure they know you’re angry, but DON’T engage with them.
  6. Pick up a big, sharp knife. Start cutting something hard and slippery. A butternut squash will do.
  7. Start cutting. Fast. Put all your anger in the cutting. Fire up thoughts about the wrongness of your loved one.
  8. DON’T pay attention to what you’re doing. Be absorbed by your angry thoughts. Drown in them. DON’T watch how the knife slips away and chops off your finger top.
  9. Watch the bleeding. Blame your husband. Blame yourself.
  10. Stop. Embrace yourself with compassion. See how strong and habitual your anger patterns are. You failed to hold your anger mindfully. You failed. You contributed to harm. Don’t make it worse by blaming and being angry. Use this experience as a wake-up call to interrupt these habitual, unconscious patterns. Glue the scraps of the slip of Thich-Nhat-Hanh’s-mindfulness-anger-steps together. Bring your attention to your breath. Apologize. Tell your husband you’re suffering. Tell him you’re trying, really trying. Tell him you need help and support. And if you’re lucky, REALLY lucky he will rush to your rescue and heal your bleeding finger.
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