January 9 – Anger

Anger is an emotion I have experienced often and for a multitude of reasons. Among these are being misunderstood, not heard or listened to, and wrongly accused by others. Being shamed for who I am or my choices. Similarly, I feel anger over unjust and unfair occurrences not just in my life, but in the world at large. I get especially angry when someone tries to tell me what to do or how to behave—in other words, attempts to exercise control over my life in any way. The worst thing we can do with anger though is to ignore it.

autumn autumn leaves blur close up

On the topic of anger, Anne Wilson Schaef writes:

Anger has not been an easy emotion for us.

It is important to remember that feelings are just that . . . feelings. It is normal for us to have feelings, and it is normal for us to feel anger. Anger is only harmful when it is held in and ‘starved’ as Emily Dickinson says. When we hold it in, it builds and we find ourselves exploding on innocent people in the most astounding circumstances. Then we end up feeling bad about ourselves and getting anger backlash from others. We need to find safe places to let our anger out. We can respect our anger. It is our friend. It lets us know when something is wrong.

Anger is not the problem. What I do with it is.”

To bottle in our anger, to push it down and attempt to ignore it, only creates more problems for us in the long run. Anger, much like hate, eats away at you and destroys you from within. Eventually it will always rise back up to the surface, and after fermenting inside you for so long, it has built up enough pressure to explode out. This has happened to me more times than I would care to admit.

I try my best to never respond to those I love out of anger. Yet I have often failed to express my emotions calmly and directly. In my attempts to control my anger, I have often ignored it only to create more problems for myself down the line when it resurfaced with a vengeance. There is only so much one person can take and hold onto. One thing I am most grateful for in my relationship is that my husband has helped me learn how to express my emotions and feelings in a healthy way. It is far easier to confront a problem head on in its early stages before your anger and resentment have built to dangerously high levels and you are at your breaking point. It leads to happier and healthier relationships, and a happier and healthier you.

Never before had I considered that anger is my friend. It’s true though; anger makes us aware of mistreatment, injustice, and when something is just plain wrong. It brings these issues to our awareness so we can address them. Anger is helpful and deserving of our respect.

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