Harmful Behavior InventoryI read once about a sign Oprah Winfrey posts in her office: “Please take responsibility for the energy you bring into this space.” I think it would benefit everyone to live by this rule. Everywhere you go, you carry an emotional energy that has a powerful effect on those with whom you interact. But, like so many of us, you may not hold yourself accountable for the way your anger affects others.  Make your own harmful behavior inventory.

The first step in fixing this, and improving your relationships, is to do a mindful review of the role your anger plays in your interactions.

When you interact with others in a reactive, angry mode, you give up control to the other person, and to your angry feelings. You make assumptions and throw up defensive verbal walls. You act as if you’re powerless over the situation or your behavior and blame others for making you angry. But the opposite is true. While you can’t control everything in your environment, and you can’t control other people’s thoughts or feelings, you absolutely can have power over how you see situations and how you choose to respond.

Once you accept responsibility for the emotional energy you bring to interactions, you can begin to improve them; this includes holding yourself accountable for the harmful or destructive behaviors that were part of your past.

The way to achieve power over your anger, and create your life with intention, is to pay attention to what you do and say, how you respond to the world around you––and how it responds to you, and to take responsibility for your thoughts, words, and actions.

My experience as a marriage and family therapist has taught me that practicing mindfulness is the best way to give you the presence of mind to take responsibility for the energy you bring to your relationships. Once you are mindful of how you may have hurt others with your anger, you can change. Mindfulness will help you foster patience, compassion, and wisdom––good qualities that will help you promote your happiness and become a positive force in other’s lives.