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How Becoming More Empathic Affects Anger

By: Anna Martin - Updated: 25 Dec 2012 | comments*Discuss
Empathy Anger Rage Anger Management

Developing an empathic understanding can have many positive effects, when dealing with anger management. By developing an attitude of unconditional caring for others anger can be controlled and diffused. Learning how to become more understanding is therefore the key to changing behaviour and emotional expression.

What is Empathy?

Empathy is the ability to understand another person’s feelings and emotions. Imaging the depths of another person’s feelings enables you to understand how and why emotional expressions like anger and rage grow out of control. Having an empathic understanding of others also enables you to accept your own personal behaviour patterns and how your actions impact on the lives of others.

Forgiving and Letting Go

Changing your perspective on a situation, and seeing things from another person’s point of view, enables you to begin to see how actions, words and behaviour patterns can create negative or positive impact. When dealing with issues relating to the display and expression of anger or rage it is important to view the situation with a compassionate heart. This allows you to move your thoughts and intentions towards forgiveness and resolution. By forgiving, and letting go, you are not accepting anger but you are acknowledging the feelings of others. Forgiving does not mean forgetting. It means you are willing to use empathy in order to encourage positive change.

How to Become More Empathic

Encouraging free expression is important if you want to develop an empathic understanding. If it is you who is experiencing difficulties with anger management it is important that you express your willingness to talk about your problems in a calm manner. If you are dealing with someone else’s anger issues encouraging the individual to talk and express underlying factors and beliefs will help you understand their point of view, situation and emotions more easily.

Imagining what someone, who is expressing anger, is thinking and feeling allows you to respond in an empathic manner. This is because you will be feeling their anxiety, fear and defensiveness by imagining yourself in their shoes. To view a situation from a different perspective you must be able to understand how someone is thinking and feeling. Once you are confidently able to do this your own attitude may naturally change, because you are feeling more compassionate, and/or your thoughts and emotions will enable you to work towards finding resolution.

Assuming the Best Intentions

When dealing with negative situations in an empathic manner it is important to adopt positive thoughts. Displays of hostility, frustration and anger may appear to be expressions of emotion from someone who is focused on causing pain and hurt. Assuming the best intentions will show that focusing on behaviour of the present and past enables you to adopt a more empathic level of understanding. You will therefore begin to see that an individual’s actions are generally expressed in a particular way in order to provide themselves with a shield of emotional protection.

Assuming the best intentions, until you have repeated evidence that negative behaviour patterns contain other motives, will enable you to deal with anger in a more calm and effective manner.

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