How can I say that anger is good?
Anger tells us important things: it is an arousal in the body that indicates when we are frustrated, fearful or hurt, or that we recognize that our boundaries have been violated. Anger is not an emotion, it is an arousal that lets us know something needs our attention. Notice I said something, not someone!
Anger is healthy. Anger is normal. It’s how folks choose to express it that leads many astray. Anger is an arousal in the body caused by the perception of not having your needs met.
It is as dangerous and unsatisfying to internalize anger as it is to spread it around freely complete with expletives, loud voices and threatening gestures. Both threaten relationships. One threatens the healthy relationship with yourself. Both threaten healthy relationships with others.
Anger is an indication of the perception of a boundarybeing crossed. Someone does something that you do not want done. It is also an indication of fear, frustration or pain.
Taking the time to articulate the reason for your anger is a great first step. Instead of screaming, “I’m angry”, take this important, gigantic step forward. Say:
“I feel angry when ___________ happens. I feel angry because it scares (frustrates or hurts) me.”
Providing an insight into why you are experiencing the arousal of anger opens communication channels. Providing noise, movement, foul language and sabre-rattling only causes others to want to fight, run or freeze.
What are your current choices when you feel angry?
Think about your last week.
- When were you angry?
- Why were you angry?
- At whom were you angry?
- Did you express it?
- How did you express it?
- Did it move your relationship forward or push folks away from you?
- Did you turn it inward on yourself? (This can produce many physical symptoms that are unpleasant.)
If anger is an issue for you, resolve to learn to manage it productively for all concerned. I applaud the folks who come as individuals or join in an anger management class with me. They recognize the value of taking charge of themselves in the most productive ways, and the impact that doing so has on themselves and their relationships!