Anger is one of the most misunderstood emotions of all times. We either fear it or we use it as a shield to keep us from facing what is really going on, such as feelings of self-betrayal or other deep emotional pain.
For some, when anger starts to boil the blood, feelings of failure can take over because holding onto that sense of peace becomes a marker for success.
Everyone knows that anger can be dangerous. If we allow ourselves to get drunk on it, we risk losing control and doing and saying things we later regret.
Another dangerous way of dealing with anger is to stuff it down inside ourselves and refuse to address it. That can lead to all sorts of health problems including physical and mental illnesses.
At the same time, we need to consider that anger, in and of itself, is nothing more than a messenger emotion. It tells us that changes need to be made. That’s where the challenge comes in, to try to figure out what those changes are. Sometimes it can be very simple such as setting a boundary with someone else.
Other times anger can be more complex because it’s covering something else up that is what we are truly upset about. For example, if you are angry that your spouse is always running late, perhaps the reality is that your need to feel respected isn’t being met.
One of the best ways to deal with anger is to get to the message. It can be the most helpful to get a pen and paper and start writing. The trick with this is that you need to write about yourself, and only yourself. Avoid ranting or going on a blame-fest or you will just create more anger.
Here is a quick example about something I get very angry about (it’s not about correct writing, so please don’t judge):
“I am angry that people abuse animals. I feel fearful that one of my pets will be abused and that the world is a scary place because everyone, including animals have a right to live without abuse. I fear what it will do to our society if abuse of animals is not addressed firmly and swiftly. I feel powerless to stop these horrifying events from happening because I don’t know who is doing it and I’m not a vigilante. I can contribute money to causes that are created to stop the abuse of animals, I can protect my own pets and promote kindness to animals with my friends and family and maybe even volunteer or help advocate. I can turn my anger into energy to fight against these atrocities.”
Sometimes you might need to reach out for help if your anger feels too deep seated or you are afraid to explore the underlying emotions the anger is covering up. Never be afraid to reach out to a trusted loved one or professional.
The main point is that when you use your anger effectively and deal with it in an emotionally mature way, it can be a catalyst to a better life. That’s a beautiful thing!