We all have anger. There are things that frustrate us to things that really tick us off. This morning I had a bought of frustration when my phone decided to crash every time I tried to open an app. This included my alarm clock app, so I got one note of the alarm and it crashed. Luckily, I had a strange feeling it was past the time to get up and was still on time for work.
Anger is one of those emotions that we don’t like. It does not feel good to be angry or to have someone angry at us. This has led to misunderstanding about anger as often the goal is to avoid it or make it go away. Anger is just like any other emotion, its just there to tell you something about your environment. Viewing anger as a tool instead of something to be avoided gives you control over it.
Viewing anger as a tool changes the thoughts about it because then we can ask, what is it trying to tell me? Often it is indicating pain. Like my phone this morning, my frustration was telling me that the phone crashing was an inconvenience to my life (the pain), and I wanted it to stop. But if I had just let the frustration grow into full blown anger, I might have whipped the phone across the room to find a temporary relief to the anger. Instead, I listened to the anger and decided trying to find a fix for the phone would cure the problem. As the apps stopped crashing, the frustration went away.
I can hear the criticism already that it was just a phone and not “real” anger. Like when it involves a person who is mistreating you, disrespecting you or being hurtful to someone else. Or a social rights issue that has caused oppression or harm to a large group of people. The list goes on of what might be stirring up that blow up or quiet seethe.
There was a time that I had a lot of anger. I was angry at a disease that was hurting me, that I was told would end my life prematurely before I was 30. I lashed out in ways that really did not help anything. I was trying to fight to keep the anger hidden instead of letting it help me deal with my grief. It took a while for me to acknowledge that and start to learn healthy ways of dealing with anger. Whether it is a phone crashing or a life-threatening disease, the process to deal with anger is the same.
People who handle their anger well do eight things with their anger:
They use anger as a signal that there are problems they need to address.
They are flexible, using more than one way to handle the anger.
They treat anger as a normal part of life.
They take action when necessary, but only after they’re carefully thought through the situation.
They express their anger in moderation, without losing control.
Their goal is to solve problems, not just to express their feelings.
They state their anger clearly, in ways that others can understand, so that others can respond appropriately to their wants and needs.
Finally, they let go of their anger, rather than hang on to it once the problem is over.
It is possible to control your anger instead of letting it control you. I know from experience, through my own healing, as well as, helping others understand their anger, that this list is possible for you too. If you are struggling with anger, its ok to seek professional help by booking an appointment with a registered psychotherapist. They will be able to help you understand how to utilize your anger and provide strategies to help you take back control. There is nothing like the joy that comes when anger is just another tool in your toolbox instead of the only one.
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