Angry Neighbors Make for An Angry Community
When others don’t behave according to our expectations, we get angry. For most of us, anger is not an emotion that feels good at all. It disrupts our daily flow and brings out the worsts parts of ourselves. Anger makes us more aggressive and limits the way we think about and treat others.
One of the keys to avoiding anger is to transform our habit of expectations. This does not mean that we allow people to run all over us, or our community. It means I transform what I expect of others into an understanding that no one can read each other’s mind and their reasons for doing what they do usually have nothing to do with me. The cashier at the store was slow and distracted not because she wanted to make me angry, but because her child is sick today and she is upset that she can’t be home to care for her. Transforming our expectations into a greater understanding of other people’s challenges and sufferings will do quite a bit to disarm our anger and increase our own happiness. If your family member or neighbor behaves in a manner that fails to meet your expectations and makes you angry, the only way you are going to really resolve the situation is not by creating an even wider distance between yourself and them (anger), but by making a choice to get closer and put forth an honest effort to remedy the situation “together.” Effective communication can only occur when there is a process of two-way listening. Anger prevents us from honestly listening to anything but our anger. When we transform our expectations and reduce our opportunities to get angry, we put ourselves in a position to make better choices about how we relate to the people around us and, in turn, how they relate to us. When everyone works together, anything is possible. It stimulates “all things conducive to harmony and compatibility among neighbors.”