by Lorraine Morgan Scott
Do you get so angry sometimes that you feel like you want to strike out with vengeance?
When you’re angry, do you feel it is their fault? They did it; they deserve the effects of your anger (yelling, cussing, slamming things, hitting things, hitting something?)
You’re not alone. Many people feel anger on a daily basis. Many people feel some level of anger (being upset, irate, enraged, furious, annoyed or frustrated) at different or multiple times of the day.
Have you ever stopped to think about why you’re angry? Not the “thing” in front of you, but the reason behind the thing in front of you. Anger (and all it’s levels) is an emotion. As an emotion, just as happiness, sadness or elation – it is a choice.
You choose to get upset, choose to get furious, choose to get angry over something, someone, or some action or inaction.
Sure, it’s normal and somewhat healthy to feel anger when you feel you’ve been mistreated or wronged – the feeling isn’t the problem it’s what you do with it. If you start yelling, cussing, hitting, or hurting someone or something – that isn’t good. It’s not good for you or anyone around you.
You may be wondering how it can it be healthy to feel anger. If you take a step back from the situation, breathe, and try to determine what it is about the situation that set you off – you can uncover a whole lot about you, your values, and your communication ability.
When we become angry it is because someone or something has rubbed against one of our values. As an example, if we feel we deserve to be treated with respect and someone is rude, obnoxious, or talks to us in a tone or style we don’t expect – this can make us angry.
Why are we angry? Because our self worth says: I deserve to be respected. To meet our expectation that person would have to talk and act within what we determine to be acceptable behavior. If respect to us is that we expect them to be polite, use courteous words, proper body language, a tone that is friendly or reverent – anything other than what we expect can appear to be disrespectful. Do you see how it is our expectation and description of what respect is that – our definition of that value- that has been violated?
How angry we become about what we “perceive” to be disrespect depends on how closely being respected is our to core sense of self-image, our sense of worth. If we have a high sense of self-worth, then the incident may annoy us slightly in a passing manner or have no effect at all. However, if having everyone, including strangers “show us respect” and someone doesn’t treat us in the way we expect – we will probably be angry, very angry.
Anger, and the different levels of the emotion, can cause serious problems when it is unleashed and misunderstood. Relationships can be damaged, further misunderstanding can occur, jobs can be lost, or crimes can be committed. When someone chooses to become angry over an incident without understanding why he or she is angry – the outcome can be unexpected.
May I suggest that if you get angry often, or are unsure of what sets you off – that you take some time to explore your core values and what their definition mean to you. Then take some and determine how you can choose to respond when one of your values is being neglected, rejected, or disrespected. When you reach a place of solidly valuing your self and your ideals, then you are able to deflect knee-jerk reactions of anger and instead objectively look at the incident and determine what is going on, why did he or she do or say this, how do I feel about this, what is my part in this, what can be done to resolve the issue without anger, violence, damage.
Free resources and further information is available online – just Google search anger. Take charge of your emotions instead of letting your emotions dictate how you choose to respond.
Wishing you the emotional stability, always.
Certified professional coach Lorraine Morgan Scott is author of Loving Myself First: Overcoming Life’s Obstacles (Past, Present, and Future), and 12 Easy Ways to Tame Your Stress Monster.