Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Understandable Anger

This morning his anger began to grow. Computers can be frustrating and require patience and determination. I ignored his verbal outbursts for a few moments. Normally, in a similar situation, I’ll take a break or put on headsets and turn up the music because I find this irritating. But not today. We worked together and solved the computer problem.

This morning I put myself in his place. If I were him, I would be feeling angry also. He’s not angry with the computer. He’s fifty-three and was just diagnosed with lung cancer. He doesn’t feel well and is confronting months of chemo, radiation, surgery and uncertainty. I think that’s cause to be impatient, irritable and angry.

After my father had a lung removed due to cancer he went through a period of impatience. It was as if he knew his time was limited and he didn’t want to waste one minute. I was patient with him. Surely, I can be patient with my co-worker and friend.

I wonder -- how may strangers do I meet who are understandably angry or impatient but I’m ignorant of the reasons. I wonder if I add to their troubles by my reactions.

I think action is better than reaction. When confronting anger I can react with anger or I can choose to act with questions, empathy and compassion. I wish I were a better actor than reactor.


Blogger Alex Pendragon said...

This is something I deal with at work everyday. Many of my patients are angry to find themselves sick and helpless, and tend to take it out on me or their nurse. Most times you can kill them with kindness and in the face of that they realize it's not us who are responsible for their situation and their attitude improves somewhat. Many a times our management has attempted to foist this canned pubic relations type of communication style with our patients that anyone can see right thru as fake, and I refuse to use it. I simply treat my patients straight forward with ordinary friendliness and humor, and it works 99% of the time. If I can't overcome their anger no matter what I do, and some people are just that way, I just make myself as scarce as possible, and let them stew in it. They don't pay me enough to take abuse for no good reason. We have many patients who return to the unit time and time again, and although I can't remember them all, they certainly all seem to remember me, and in a good way, and that helps to make the job a whole lot better than it could be.

4/05/2006 01:33:00 PM  
Blogger Anvilcloud said...

Good reminder. I find it very hard not to react ... angriliy.

4/05/2006 08:27:00 PM  
Blogger graceonline said...

In the end, it's so much easier to respond with kindness than with anger, isn't it? I never regret a kindness, but I do regret words spoken in anger. Every time.

7/27/2006 11:21:00 PM  
Blogger Tanning Lotion said...

Sometimes kindness is hard to come by, but in the end it is the better alternative.

9/13/2006 09:49:00 PM  

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