Anger

anger.jpg
 
 

All feelings provide us with information about ourselves:

What we like and don't like, what we want more or less of, or what we want to put an end to.

 

Recognizing how you feel allows you to make intelligent decisions about which actions to take in response to your feelings. It allows you to maximize the likelihood that you'll choose to behave in a way that promotes your well-being and the attainment of your goals.

Experiencing your feelings allows you to be more empowered. Ignoring your feelings usually keeps you stuck and, worse yet, often leads to unconscious and self-destructive habits and behaviors. Powerful people feel their feelings to the full extent so that they can make informed choices about resolving conflicts instead of exacerbating them.

 

Anger is an important feeling that all too often gets short shrift.

 

Historically, anger has been falsely labeled as a problematic or dark feeling. In some cultures, anger is even labeled as unhealthy and is punished.

First and foremost, it is important to draw a distinction between feeling and dealing. Once we recognize the experience of anger (i.e., once we "feel" anger), we have choices to make about how to constructively "deal" with the anger.

Throughout history, people have chosen to "deal" with their anger in destructive and sometimes criminal ways. Unfortunately, this conflation of feeling and dealing has given anger a bad rap...

...But the feeling of anger is not a crime. Anger is a natural response to a real or perceived violation. Experiencing anger in the face of a violation or other forms of mistreatment is one sign of mental health. Without recognizing anger, human beings can be compromised in their ability to protect themselves, their territory and their offspring – the things they are biologically programmed to do.

Once you can recognize the feeling of anger and manage your anxiety and bodily activation (e.g., breathing regulation), you'll have increased clarity of mind. This clarity of mind will help you make conscious choices about constructively dealing with your anger, instead of blindly and impulsively acting on it. 

 

Thought provoking exercise:

How do you treat your anger and other feelings? Do you welcome the information your feelings are providing in order to help you behave protectively or adaptively? Or, do you habitually shut down your feelings so as not to bother or upset anyone? 

How did your parents or early caregivers treat your anger and other feelings? Were some feelings approved of and others condemned?