Letters to the Editor

Curb that anger!

Monday, September 03, 2012    

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Dear Editor,

Every day we read or watch the news and see many cases of people displaying a level of disorder - some serious and troubling.

Often, many people get angry easily. Anger can be described as basically an emotional or physical outburst which can lead to dire consequences.

There are several warning signs, such as shouting, name-calling, insults, mean looks, making fun of others, making threats, and pushing or hitting. Let's examine some of these issues:

* Shouting - raising of voices, particularly when arguing.

* Name calling - this is a common tool of tracing, for example, calling someone "nigger" or "whitey".

* Insults - trading words which demean and demoralise a person.

* Mean looks - in the 60s this was referred to as the hate stare, where a white person showed dislike for someone of colour, literally by looking right through them.

* Making fun of others - someone draws attention to so-called inadequacies of another; for example, how one speaks or walks.

* Making threats - common among all classes of people who are on the warpath when there is a problem, or perceived problem, with an individual or group.

* Pushing or hitting - both approaches signal a clear intent on both parties for confrontation.

Here are some steps to resolve conflicts.

*Stay calm. Take a deep breath and resist acting out of anger. Our parents used to tell us to count to 10 and that will help to calm you down.

*Identify the source of the problem - get to its roots. You should take time to listen when someone else is speaking as communication is received only when both parties understand the information presented. There should be no interruptions or insults, and be honest. Asking questions to discover the reasons for the other person's feelings will facilitate mending.

*It is better to use the "I" message to express your feelings as it is less combative than the "you" statements. For example, don't say: "John, you know me all these years and you are spreading all kinds of things about me, I must kill you." It is much better to address John by saying, "I know you all these years and if you had a problem with me, why did you not come and discuss the matter?"

*Another approach to resolving conflicts is brainstorming. All possible safe solutions be considered. Record as many as possible, even silly solutions should be included, as they sometimes work. Similarly, as promoted by the Kiwanis, for each solution we should ask if it is fair, respectful and true to your sense of right and wrong. You should agree on a solution that is fair to everyone, as not every conflict must have a winner and a loser.

If you can't resolve the conflict together, you should seek a mediator, who is respected by both parties.

Too many people have been incarcerated and hospitalised because of fighting to prove their point. It is said that the most popular saying in prison is, "If mi did know." Governments throughout the world have spent millions of dollars to deal with the consequences of anger. This money could be used for educational and other developmental purposes.

Karl Goodison

Mentorship Officer

Boys' Town

Kingston

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