I think it’s important to remember that your emotions are God’s gift to you, and not the people around you. When you are angry about something, that’s the Holy Spirit’s way of prompting you to look at a potential injustice. Having been prompted, your job is to pray about whether the injustice is something in your environment, or if it has something more to do with your unreasonable expectations about how life should work as opposed to how life does work. Either way, there is a problem to be solved and prayer will help clarify both the nature of the problem and the direction you should take.
Having prayed about your feelings, the next step is to prayerfully reflect on a respectful course of action. If the course of action requires addressing a problem with someone, the rule of thumb is, “Lead with solutions, NOT emotions.” For example:
A. Leading with Emotions looks like this: “I can’t believe you’re such a selfish jerk! I have to do everything around here!”
B. Leading with solutions look like this: “I’m really overwhelmed. I need us to sit down and come up with a plan for getting things together for our company this weekend.”Now, there are a host of irrational thoughts that stop a person from doing B instead of A–but they’re all irrational. If you tend to do A more than B, you’ve let Satan get in your head and he’s going to tempt you to actions that will drive the people you love away from you.
The second challenge (beyond the variety of irrational thoughts) people offer to this advice is, “Well, that’s just the way guys think about problems, not women.” No. That’s the way rational men and women think about problems. Look, both men and women are equally capable of tantrumming and both men and women are equally capable of being reasonable, proactive, and effective. If you find that you can’t consistently pull this off, don’t hide behind your gender. Get the skills you need to be a more effective man or woman of God. God wants to use you mightily, but he can’t do that if you love your emotions more than you love him or the people he’s placed in your life to love and serve.
Here’s another article on why shouting isn’t communicating.
For help getting a better handle on the emotions that are ruling your life, contact the Pastoral Solutions Institute to make a tele-counseling appointment with a faithful, professional, Catholic counselor today. 740-266-6461.