I am a super laid back person. Not much bothers me. I don’t get angry about much. If I am angry at you, you must have done something really terrible to me!
I know that not everyone is like me. Other people get annoyed easily and find it difficult to control their tempers.
I’ve got to say, my relationships with people tend to go pretty well. I rarely indulge in an argument, I let little things go, and I generally focus on the positive. Maybe if you’re a quarrelsome person, you can put some of my tips to use.
1. Let the little things go.
2 Timothy 2:23-24 says “Don’t have anything to do with foolish and stupid arguments, because you know they produce quarrels. And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful.”
I am amazed at what some people fight about. A wrong tone of voice, honest forgetfulness, or a gift not being “good enough” can set some people over the edge. I tend to think about little things that bother me in the grand scheme of things. If my husband isn’t fully listening when I tell him something, is that really going to matter in 10 years? (If he did it all the time and I addressed it and it continued to be an issue, it might be a different story). I might say, “Hey, you’re not listening. Can you pay attention to this for a second?” and then life is going to continue as normal. The sun will still rise tomorrow, my husband still loves me, I’m still going to end up in Heaven when I die, so is it really worth making a big deal about?
I know some people just have tempers. If that’s you, you might not be able to let the little things go because you get mad so quickly and intensely. Maybe you can try tip #2.
2. Think before you speak.
James 1:19-20 says “Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God.”
Take a deep breath. Think about what happened that made you angry and decide if it is really worth bringing up to the person who offended you. If you need to, take a full day. Sometimes I’ll be so upset about something in the evening, especially after a long day and I’m tired or just grumpy, but I go to bed and wake up in the morning and think about how silly it was to be upset about it! You’ve probably heard “never go to bed angry.” I agree that you shouldn’t go to bed seething! But give certain things some extra time if their not going to keep you awake at night.
Even if you’ve decided that whatever you’re mad about is definitely worth discussing, take a few minutes. Calm down. We all say things that we don’t mean when we are upset and angry. You can’t take your words back, so compose yourself and then bring issues to people in a mature and respectful way.
3. Fix your partner’s (or friend’s or child’s) annoying habits with love.
Galatians 6:1 says “Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted.” This verse is about addressing issues with Christian brothers and sisters, but implies that correction should be given gently.
Be respectful and kind and patient. Have a conversation rather than yelling. Everyone has pet peeves. And not everyone is going to do things the way that you want them done 100% of the time. It’s easier and sometimes instinctual to yell when dirty underwear are left on the bathroom floor, but kindly asking your spouse or kids not to do it again might work better. A lot of people don’t like to be told what to do and especially don’t like being yelled at, so they sometimes do the opposite of what you want out of spite. You’re just going to get yourself into another whole argument this way. And imagine the respect that this person will have for you for coming to them in a loving and mature way! And if you use this with your children, they’re going to learn from you and speak this way too.
4. Look for intentions.
I know my husband’s personality. I know that he is kind and selfless and cares about me. When he does something that I don’t really like (which is not very often), I try to think about why he did or said what he did or said. Did he honestly just forget to get what I needed at the store or was he selflessly thinking only of what he needed? My husband is generally selfless, so he probably genuinely forgot. I can’t be mad about that!
Considering intentions can solve a lot of fights before they start. If you can’t figure out someone’s intentions, ask them! Ask them why they did what they did before you get to the scolding. Their answer might surprise you. Especially with kiddos! They’re always surprising us.
If you’re finding that someone’s intentions are consistently not good, this definitely needs to be addressed. Have a talk with this person about how they are hurting you and explain that it needs to stop.
5. Question why things upset you. There’s likely something deeper.
I don’t have a verse for this tip either, but I do have a degree in psychology!
Sometimes we need to consider other’s intentions, but sometimes we need to consider our own as well. Sometimes we want to get into an argument to release our personal tension. Sometimes we have underlying stress that causes us to make things into a bigger deal than they are. Sometimes there is something really big bothering us about a person, but we haven’t discovered it in our own mind yet or we are not ready to talk about it, so everything that person does makes us angry. Sometimes we’ve been hurt in similar situations in the past and expect the same results. And sometimes, all of the little things that you never bring up turn into one big explosion of fury that is unnecessary.
Try to consider why you are so angry before talking to the person you’re upset with. Make sure that you are actually upset with that person and think of any underlying reasons that you may be upset with them. Address the actual, current situation rather than bringing up the past. Avoid saying things like “you always” or “you never.” Try not to assign intentions that aren’t there. Don’t put words in people’s mouths.
Using these tips is going to take some practice and discipline, so good luck!
Featured image from img.wikinut.com