We all have a wide range of emotions, one of the strongest being anger. It can come on slowly or it can hit you like a tidal wave. No matter how you choose to display it, there is usually someone waiting to say, “Don’t be angry. Be happy!”
Online it’s even worse. There seems to be a happiness army that roams the internet halls waiting for someone to express themselves so they can post a fluffy cat meme about letting go of negativity.
Get your cat out of my face.
Here’s the deal: sometimes anger is good.
1. Anger can reveal what is really bothering you.
Anger is not a base emotion. If you are angry, ask yourself why. If you’re honest with yourself you’ll find that you are actually feeling sad, disappointed, guilty, offended etc. Think raging about a slow computer when you’re really feeling guilty about not finishing a work project on time. If you push the anger to the side and force yourself into a state of artificial calm, you’re ignoring a deeper emotion that needs to be addressed.
2. Anger is a vent for pressure building inside.
When you continuously ignore emotion it doesn’t go away. It hides or, worse, it festers like a wound. One small issue can grow until it affects several areas of your life. Unexpressed hurt over an inconsiderate word from a coworker increases like a snow ball as you drop your keys in a puddle, slam your coat in the car door, see that your spouse forgot to turn on the porch light… and before you know it your anger boils over and you shout at your children for leaving their shoes at the door. Soon the entire house, and your day, is full of chaos – simply because you didn’t want to show anger over having your feelings hurt.
3. Anger makes way for change.
Anger can be a great motivator to change yourself or your relationships. Arguments are a signal for growth. Hiding the anger (and the emotions that caused it) does nothing to alleviate the feeling of being wronged in your relationship. Expressing your anger over something that is bothering you lets your partner, friend or family member know that something needs to change. While the ideal way to go about it is to calmly express what you’re feeling, the underlying causes aren’t always apparent from the start – especially when feeling hurt and vulnerable. Controlled anger provides you with an opportunity for release and, as you work through the anger verbally, reveal what is really bothering you.
Think back on arguments you’ve had. You may find you only came to that ‘light bulb moment’ after hashing things out for several minutes or even hours.
4. Anger motivates you.
Getting angry can be a way of reinforcing yourself when faced with opposition. It’s an armor that shields you from feeling vulnerable and helps you complete the job at hand. While it’s true that there are times being calm and kind can have a positive effect, feeling angry makes you brave enough to say what you might not have otherwise. While emotions like sadness and hurt usually serve to make us reserved and quiet, the resulting anger creates a fire that can help you become bold and vocal.
Of course, there are those who take anger (and other emotions) to the extreme. Anger should always be used in a constructive way and never cause harm to yourself or others.
- Use expression, not aggression
- Be willing to admit if you are wrong
- Keep your expression verbal, never physical
- If you feel your anger is going to overwhelm you, find a way to channel it : go for a run, throw pillows, rip paper, crush cardboard boxes etc.
- You have the right to express anger. Be ready to accept the results as well.