Coach Kim: Why we get angry and how to stop it

Coach Kim: Why we get angry and how to stop it

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Estimated read time: 6-7 minutes

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SALT LAKE CITY — In this edition of LIFEadvice, Coach Kim shares what she believes is the real reason we get angry and how to process that anger in a healthy way.


Coach Kim, would you consider a follow-up article about what communication skills you are referring to in this article? And could you teach us more about what anger really is? It sounds like it isn’t what we think it is...


I've written many articles about how to have conversations where both parties leave feeling heard, honored and respected for their perspectives and ideas. The principles involve showing up for others and listening first before asking them to listen to you. If you know how to do this, then there are few conflicts you can’t work through.

When it comes to anger, there's more to understanding where it comes from and how to deal with it. For instance, when you become angry, you might be having a fear problem. It may not look like it on the outside, and you likely won’t feel scared, as much as mad, but typically, one of your two core fears has been triggered. When you are angry, it's either because you feel insulted (which means your fear of failure has been triggered) or you feel mistreated (which means your fear of loss has been triggered), or both.

I believe all anger is based in one or both of these fears being triggered. Think about the last time you got angry with someone or at a situation. In what way did you feel threatened, mistreated or at risk? Did you feel you were made to look bad or told you were wrong? Or was someone discourteous, rude or unkind to you? Anger usually involves some kind of perceieved mistreatment or injustice and these all trigger your core fears.

The interesting part is that typically the groundwork of fear that created a space for your anger was laid long before the offending event happened. If you didn’t already suffer from fear of failure and you weren’t already afraid that you weren’t good enough, then you may not feel insulted. People who have a solid self-esteem and see their intrinsic value as unchangeable are less likely to be offended in certain situations. Their self-worth makes them less likely to be affected by fear triggers.

The same goes for fear of loss. If you didn’t already feel unsafe in the world and see some people as a threat, then you might not be afraid of mistreatment. People who see the universe as a teacher who provides necessary lessons might be more likely to see a personal growth opportunity in perceived mistreatment. They are less often angry or offended.

When your journey brings you an experience of anger, you can process the emotion — instead of immediately reacting — and figure out why the anger is there. If you choose to see life as a classroom all about growth and becoming, then you may start to believe every experience is meant to serve you in some way.

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The next time you find yourself feeling angry, try asking yourself some of these questions to help process your anger:

1. Feel the emotion. Sit with it and explore what this feels like. How would I define it?

2.Is my fear of not being good enough in play? If I didn’t already feel inadequate, would I be this upset?

3.Is my fear of loss in play? If I didn’t already feel life was unfair, unsafe or I wasn't worried about having what I need, would I be this upset?

4.What fear might be in play with the other person who made me mad? Are they having fear of failure or loss — which might have prompted their behavior? Could I take this less personally if I realized it’s more about their fear for themselves than it is about me?

5.What could this anger experience show me about myself that I might need to work on? Do I need higher self-esteem or more trust in life so I am emotionally stronger?

6. In what way does this anger experience give me an opportunity to rise, grow and be better, wiser, stronger or more loving? What could it teach me?

7.What emotion do I want to experience today?

8.What would more anger create?

9.What other options do I have in response to this offense? Could I choose gratitude? Could I choose to feel safe, unburdened, peaceful or calm if I wanted to?

10.What would it feel like if I chose to trust the universe and know that no one can diminish my journey or my value? Do I have the choice to feel safe even when taken from or insulted? If the universe only delivers lessons that serve me, then can I have loss? If my value can’t change, can an insult hurt me?

Choosing to see every anger experience as a chance to grow means you can turn every situation into a win. If this is hard to see because an offense is particularly painful, then perhaps seeking some professional help might be useful in working through the anger.

You can do this.

Last week's LIFEadvice:

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Kimberly Giles \--------------

Visit to learn more about Coach Kim Giles and take the Clarity Assessment, which can help you see where your fears and values are creating good and bad behavior in your life and relationships.

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