Anger is a generalized problem that everyone has experienced at least once in their life. Managing it is a very complex skill that is good to work on. However, today we will not talk about how to manage anger, but how to reduce it, through the development of another fundamental skill: empathy. The latter is essential for reducing the intensity and frequency of anger attacks.
People with severe anger problems find it difficult to conceive of empathy and forgiveness. Nonetheless, empathy is a skill that can be developed and cultivated over time. In part, it is unconscious and automatic, but it can also be a conscious choice developed with practice.
The ability to feel empathy begins at the unconscious level. However, it is possible to develop it as a conscious skill when one person is able to understand the feelings and intentions of another individual. You can train your brain and be more empathic with a little conscious effort and practice.
For the development of empathy, the past experiences of the subject in front of us are an important help that fosters deep knowledge, understanding of the other’s inner world and his emotional state.
When someone cries, they might think about their situation and the things that make them feel sad. When you feel his pain, you too feel sad. Each person’s experience is unique, so trying to assimilate it to one’s own is not enough: the other may be sad for various reasons that you do not understand or do not know.
Free yourself to feel empathy
To be empathetic, it is necessary to air our prejudices. In order to assess the other person’s pain, you need to know their life, listen to what they have to say, perceive their feelings, and maintain full attention during the conversation.
Once the person opens up, you may be able to know exactly what causes them pain. This type of empathy requires a special connection, a channel that is sometimes difficult to open, but which becomes easier with practice.
In this context, it is important to understand that empathy also involves understanding thoughts and actions, not just emotions. To be empathetic, you need to go beyond feelings and understand the other person’s way of thinking, intentions, and perception about the world.
This is what is called “empathic concern” ; empathic people also tend to show greater empathic concern for others.
If you are angry with someone and want to reduce the intensity of your anger, you need to develop both of these skills: empathy and empathic concern.
Empathy reduces anger, as it eliminates negative judgments. Empathic worry also reduces anger, because, in response to it, the needs of the other are considered, which helps to reduce the visceral reactions that characterize anger attacks.
Understanding the other
Empathy is a skill that can be developed and improved. When you do, you gain a better understanding of the other’s inner world. Thanks to empathy, it is possible to reduce anger, because the sensitivity towards the difficulties, problems and circumstances of others increases.
There is also a negative correlation between anger and empathy: anger tends to reduce the capacity for empathy. However, if you show empathy towards the other, it is very likely that you will not get angry with him / her. In this way, empathy tends to inhibit anger and aggression and facilitate understanding, finding coherence in the behavior of others.
Consistency? That’s right. It has nothing to do with justification, but with understanding the reasons for a particular behavior. For example, understanding the stimuli that motivate an assault can help prevent it from happening again.
The ability to calm down
It must be considered that anger hinders people’s ability to calm down; calm is crucial for empathy, to be able to truly understand the thoughts, feelings and intentions of the other. In this way, by showing empathy towards others, violent reactions can be reduced.
When a person is angry and heart-pounding, it is difficult to consider the thoughts, feelings and emotions of others. This, in turn, intensifies anger and facilitates prejudice, so that all of the other’s actions are misunderstood and viewed negatively. It is for this reason that it is important to also work on these “buckled labels” and on objectivity to cultivate empathy and empathic concern.
Furious people tend to increase their hostility, because they feel a desire to chastise those who have angered them. Instead of trying to console each other, they show anger and aggression and want revenge, which interferes with empathic worry. Recall that there are people who use the manifestation of anger as a tool to avoid feeling sad because of another person’s pain.
Differences in reactions
There are differences in the way anger provocations are dealt with. Some people have a greater ability to manage the anger of others because they perceive their pain, shame, feelings of guilt, sadness, loneliness and fears better.
They are able to put themselves in their shoes, understand their perspective, control their reactions and be empathic with angry individuals. They know how to relate better to them and they know how to get along with them.
However, there are other people who internalize anger more, who tend to distance themselves from what is unpleasant to them, who inhibit the expression of feelings and, therefore, avoid assertive communication.
A solution to reduce anger
Once the ability to understand the pain and dynamics of other people’s anger is developed, it is easier to deal with the anger reaction and accept it.
Being defensive and justifying anger can be counterproductive and doesn’t make you an empathic person. Try to listen to the feelings of others and show sensitivity towards them to develop empathy and empathic concern.
Life is too short to waste it by constantly being angry or irritated. Revenge and pride lead nowhere. To be able to control anger in such circumstances, you must develop the skills necessary to treat others as is right.