Contrary to popular belief anger is not a “bad” emotion and can help you learn about yourself, protect yourself and others, and mend relationships. If you’re human, you get angry; it’s unavoidable. What you can control is how you respond to your anger. You can let your anger control you, deny that your anger is even there, or accept your anger and let it do it’s job.
Usually anger begins with a painful circumstance and has roots in hurt or fear. Our culture tells us that anger is a strong emotion and hurt and fear are weak emotions so some of us choose to only show anger. This can cause problems because the person you’re hurt by or scared of doesn’t know to respond to these emotions and responds to the anger instead, usually in defense.
If we choose to keep our anger to ourselves then we end up building a wall between us and others. If we don’t communicate that there is something wrong, the problem cannot be solved. We may think we can carry on as if everything is fine, but often bitterness or resentment start to build up and the relationship is impacted.
There are, however, times when expressing anger is not helpful. Anger is meant to protect our personal worth but things can go south when we take it to another level and protect our sense of pride. We can also use it to make sure our essential needs are met, but can run into trouble when we use it to get things we want instead of things we need. Lastly, anger can be used to protect our basic convictions and help us stand up for what we believe in. We run into trouble when we set out to get everyone else to have the same basic convictions as us instead of simply making room for our own.
So many people have very negative memories when it comes to anger. After several experiences with expressing anger in a healthy way we can redefine what anger as a healthy tool instead of something to fear or avoid.
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