Anger Management Secret #5: No one has the power to humiliate you.

Really? What if they call me names, question my manhood, imply that I am weak or incapable or somehow "less than?"

Sticks and Stones

You probably remember the silly rhyme your first grade teacher taught you to lessen the likelihood of playground fights: "Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can never hurt me." This nursery rhyme actually offers powerful wisdom, as it gives you the key to separate what people say to or about you from your response to them.

Words only have the power to sting if you already believe in them. Otherwise, we could turn away, laugh, and brush it off, saying "That's ridiculous!" But if you fear you are somehow not sufficiently a man AND someone accuses you of it -- Boom! Rage and recriminations and, in hindsight, stupid reactions -- all to try to defend yourself against something you secretly fear to be true. In fact, the enraged response tends to demonstrate to all observers that perhaps it is true . . .

Don't Give Someone the Power to Upset You

Build self esteem. Learn to genuinely accept and care for yourself. Don't give others the power to upset you in this way. You don't have to be perfect, just accepting of yourself. Befriend yourself. Sometimes you are your own worst enemy. The more secure you are, the less vulnerable you are to losing control if someone says mean or hurtful things to you.

Note that self esteem and security are NOT the same as pretending to be invulnerable or better than everyone else. This is a brittle and undependable strategy, leaving you always having to be on guard.

Grow Your Self Esteem

Learn how to relax within yourself. Give to yourself the compassion and validation you've always wished you had received as a child. Be as good a friend to yourself as you are to your friends.

Return to Article Menu