Sloth, apathy and despair are the enemy, anger is not. Anger is our friend. Not a nice friend, not a gentle friend but a very loyal friend. It will always tell you when you have been betrayed. It will always tell when we have betrayed ourselves. It will always tell us that it is time to act in our best interests. Anger is not the action itself, it is the action's invitation
- Elspeth Weymann
The Issue with anger
Everybody feels anger. Anger can be a great driving force for change and it often lets us know when we have strayed too far off our own path. The issue with anger is that it is widely viewed as an emotion which we are "not supposed to have". Angry people who act out publicly are portrayed in the news as having lost the plot. The villains in tv shows and movies are always angry while the heroes are calm and full of hope and optimism. And when someone else expresses their anger towards us, we don't like it. And yet, anger is an emotion which all human being experience.
So instead of ignoring it, repressing it or judging it, what would it look like if we acknowledged anger and decided to work with it?
The two predominant types of anger
Do you feel like you want to explode in a rage but never actually do that?
Do you make comments on the sly and show your anger in really subtle ways like with a particular look or sigh?
Are you secretly happy when bad things happen to the person you are angry with?
Do you cry when you get angry?
Do you need to disconnect yourself from others in order to cope with your feelings?
Do you try to keep your anger in but just can't seem to be able to do it no matter how hard you try?
Are you reacting before you even get the change to think about what to do or say?
Do you feel bad about your words and actions once it's too late?
Do you feel like you mean well for everyone around you and noone understands how you are really trying to help them?
Anger is a catalyst. Holding on to it makes us exhausted and sick. Internalizing anger will take away our joy and spirit; extermalizing anger will make us less effective in our attempts to create change and forge connection. It's an emotion we need to transform into something life-giving: courage, love, change, compassion, justice.
- Brene Brown
Frequently asked questions
How do I know if I am an angry person?
I stay clear of diagnosing anyone as an "angry person". Anger is not a permanent state so you cannot possibly be an angry person. If you are angry at someone or a whole range of situations, there are probably incidents from your past which are causing you to feel anger.
Can I really let go of all of my anger?
Yes! You absolutely 100% can release all of your anger. All it takes is a desire and a great life coach ;)
What if the issue is not my anger but someone else's anger?
How does it feel to constantly be on the receiving end of someone else's fury?
What needs to happen for you to step out of the line of fire?
What if I come from an angry family?
It would make sense if anger as an emotion was not expressed well in your family. The 2 most common ways to express anger is to repress it or to explode. If you come from a family where members do either, it becomes important for you to learn how to communicate well and learn to set boundaries.