It is very interesting to me to note that many people have or had issues with aggression or anger. It doesn’t matter if you are the protagonist or the receiver of aggressive reactions – negative emotions can provoke a dangerous response in us all, and it is not easy to manage that type of feeling in the inside.
While everyone wants to be in peaceful relationships, many neglect the fact that most people have a problem with aggression/anger..
In my experience as a European-African, I have noticed that, generally speaking, African people tend to have something called a “hot temper”, while European people are rather reserved when it comes to aggressive behaviour. Due to the rather conservative and strict upbringing in many African families, the avoidance of communication, and respect, obedience and honor towards older family members or people in general being at the forefront of relationships, the average person has never learned to properly address aggressive behaviour or to deal with their own anger/natural response to issues that provoke them.
Europeans on the other hand, often make use of different forms of addiction to manage issues such as aggression, which however aggravates the situation. In their bout of unrestrained indulgence in alcohol or drugs, they destroy trust, relationships, and even put the lives of others at risk.
The consequences aggressive responses have is deeply saddening, and more serious than some may admit. In fact, there are a lot of men and women punished with prison-time all over the globe due to their inability to handle or manage their aggression levels. They can become violent both verbally and physically, damaging other people’s mental and physical lives.
You may not be someone who empties a bottle of wine or else after a fight, but you may be someone who responds with hurting words, an aggressive tone, mimics or gestures that intimidate, harm or abuse another human being without your awareness. We even resort to justifying the fact that “our” aggression level is not “as high” or “tough”, however, we can only speak from our own perspective. We still are unable to measure the depth of pain we are causing in our object of aggression.
To examine your own level of aggression, ask yourself the following questions and observe yourself in scenarios as such:
- How do I handle aggressive behaviour/anger towards me?
- How do I respond to aggressive behaviour/anger towards others?
- How do I handle disappointments, backstabbing, gossip, betrayal and lies?
- What if these things come from my colleagues, my family members, my friends or strangers? Do I respond differently, based on my audience or my location?
How is your reaction during those moments? Do you tend to get offended offended? Angry? Bitter? Full of resentment? Be honest and answer those questions to and for yourself – do you love yourself enough to be that honest towards yourself? We should not blame our mood or use someone else’s action or word against us as an excuse to behave aggressively or uncontrollably.
The way we respond to circumstances that would stimulate an aggressive reaction in us tells us how mature we are, let alone being ready for a relationship. Self development is not just about reading a book here and there and listening to talks that sound nice to our ears in that respect. We need to build muscles of understanding, patience and standards that do not harm but serve us and others. We should spend time developing ourselves and our understanding of aggression, how it is stimulated, how it grows and how it is controlled for us to be the masters of our own lives.
Many resort into some sort of addiction in order to not handle the issues they face that are portrayed to us in aggressive manners. Even the way we speak, gesture and mimic, can be aggressive – aspects of communication that we miss or blame on our mood at that particular moment in time, whilst avoiding responsibility for our incapacity to handle those emotions.
We need to learn to cool down if we possess a hot temper. To start off, 5 helpful steps are:
Breathing – long and deep. It helps to relax your body, reduce your blood pressure and manage both anxiety and stress.
Acknowledging how you feel. Observe your emerging and evolving reaction, mood and thoughts. The best way to deal with negative thoughts is to speak positive thoughts – or the opposite – out loud. Choose a room where you are comfortable to do that in order to not react based on your stimulus but on your logic and understanding.
Look at the root issue. Try to know more about the aggressive behaviour displayed towards you or coming from you – what caused this to happen? It’s important here to distinguish between the symptom and the root of the problem as these are different from each other. If you focus on the root issue, you are more likely to find a solution.
Understanding. It is hard to dislike somebody you understand. People you don’t like, you don’t understand. Therefore, whether you agree with a person or not, if you strive to understand them, you will eradicate the space for issues to emerge in the first place.
The right kind of communication – open, honest, friendly, humble. These are prerequisites for effective conversations which will enable you to empathise and understand your opposite.
Note that these are all things that are in your power to do. No one else is in charge of your self, unless you give them the power. If you believe these things are not yet under control, I congratulate you as you have made the first step towards an improved you. Awareness is the first step towards change and we all want to become the best versions of ourselves. Hence, we need to spend time on self improvement, self development and self education before we decide to truly join ourselves with another human being. This makes us whole. When we do the latter, our relationships will form synergies, instead of discords.
For the sake of time, health, our own selves, frankly, we do want to make sure to unite with a whole person and enable another person to unite with an enriching, whole human being too. Until we are able to be that person, we should rather stay single.
With love and gratitude,