It suddenly dawned on me some weeks ago that I did some research on conflict resolution. Back then, it was done to help resolve a continuously tense condition at work.
One way in which people get angry is when we feel that the other party is deliberately annoying or challenging us. Yet, could it be possible that this was not the case? Could it have been that the other person was only acting for himself or herself (Scott, p.247); behaving based on their longstanding worldview instead attacking you?
By implication, you are not the enemy…
This is probably in tandem with a technique raised by Ronald Potter-Efron. It is called ‘Disputation’. (Potter-Efron, p.140-142) We therefore redirect our train of thought elsewhere. Another example raised by the author is where we can remind ourselves that since we are not in a hurry, it is not a critical problem when another car cuts into your lane. Hence, there is no need to become angry.
These techniques or mental models help to keep things in perspective. In the least, it delays the onset of anger. (Bearing in mind that anger does kill. The toxins generated have killed guinea pigs or rats – as my mother reminded me.) This opens up the way to greater empathy and eventually, forgiveness.
The practice of forgiveness — yes, you have read correctly, it is a practice. It may well be a reluctant last resort but it is a daily medication that one should and must take.
Vivian Scott. (2007). Conflict Resolution at Work For Dummies. Wiley Publishing. (The latest version is the one in 2009 by the same author).
Ronald Potter-Efron. (2012) Healing the Angry Brain : How Understanding the Way Your Brain Works Can Help You Control Anger and Aggression. Oakland: New Harbinger Publications.
(Revised 8 Feb 2015)