Do you know the tale of The Little Engine That Could? The little train in that children’s story discovered he could do anything by first convincing himself that he could. So he went around continually repeating, “I think I can, I think I can…”
It’s a great tale for teaching children to tune out discouraging voices and believe in themselves. And it worked for the little engine!
Real character change
But has doing that ever helped you with character change? No? – Me neither! Although it is true that if we are convinced of being unable do something, we will likely be unable.
Real change takes more than pep talks! I know because I struggled with lack of self-control over anger, and the guilt it brought. Despite trying to continually convince myself that I could do better!
Then the Lord showed me how to break through anger – and gain lasting self-control over it! So if you struggle in this area, open the tool box and start hammering your way to a breakthrough!
7 tools for breaking through anger
It goes without saying, that as Christ followers, before even cracking our toolbox open, we need to seek the Lord’s help and presence. Because he is the only one who can really help us grow and change.
1. Learn to count again.
No, I’m not kidding. Pausing to count can help until we learn how to properly deal with anger, which is often a reflex reaction. Taking a moment to count and reflect, creates a moment to conquer that impulse and act with calm reason – not carnal reaction.
So take a deep breath and ask “Is this really such a major issue?” If the answer is no, then these simple tools may help.
2. Stop blaming others!
No one else can make you mad. You choose to give in to that (often) negative emotion or behavior. None of us can honestly say, “YOU make me mad!” People and circumstances can be maddening indeed, but they do not control us! And we cannot blame them for our own actions or reactions!
3. Own up to your anger.
The anger you feel is real (whether justifiable or not) and must be dealt with. Stuffing it inside just makes us like champagne bottles ready to burst. Then when we finally do express it, we’ll have a greater tendency to explode in unkindness, sarcasm, or even violence.
4. Handle the issue without blaming.
Learn to deal with the issue without casting blame. Saying something like, “I feel really angry and upset over this situation right now,” lets the other person know how you feel and that you’re trying to deal with it properly.
Unlike blame placing, this paves the way for reconciliation and bridge building. And gives the other person the opportunity to admit and deal with their own wrong in the situation. But remember: we cannot change others, only ourselves.
5. Follow the Golden Rule.
Treat others as you wish to be treated. Remembering that we also do wrong can help us extend the same grace and forgiveness we’d like to receive. Just as the Lord is ready and willing to forgive our wrong actions, reactions, and words, he is ready to help us forgive others. And remember, a soft answer turns away wrath.
6. Put on your company manners.
We often react worst with the people we know best, because we tend to loosen up around them. So sadly, the ones we most love sometimes get our worst treatment. Pause and remember to treat them like the precious treasures they really are!
7. And finally, remember to tell yourself, “I know I can!”
Not that senselessly repeating it will enable you. But it is next to impossible to do anything unless we first believe that we can do it.
I don’t want to be a harsh person, lashing out in anger. And I’m sure you don’t either. So the next time you feel hemmed in by unkindness, animosity, or wrongdoing, dig into the anger toolbox and start hammering your way to a breakthrough!
When you feel hemmed in by unkindness, animosity, or wrongdoing – dig into the Breaking Through Anger toolbox and hammer your way to a real breakthrough!Tweet
And may the sun never go down on our wrath!