If you hate a person, then you are defeated by them. – Confucius
What if anger is good for you? Remember, it does surface for a reason. Here are 5 surprising reasons why you need to listen to your anger.
1. Anger can give you balance
Balance in our personal and professional life provides a perspective that can help us make better decisions. It enables us to see the entire map so we can see where we’ve been as well as where we hope to go in the future. The same holds true for emotional balance. The ability to suppress our anger is not a sign we are emotionally healthy. We can pretend that all is good but that does nothing more than keep an emotion from getting out. And guess what? When you fight a feeling, it only gets stronger!
Bereaved people who make the most effort to avoid feeling grief or anger take the longest to recover from their loss. When we suppress or avoid a negative emotion like anger, our ability to experience positive feelings also goes down. Stress soars and our amygdala, a part of the brain associated with emotions, begins to work overtime.
When you put negative feelings into words, our amygdala calms down. People who openly express their feelings are healthier than those who suppress emotions like anger. Therefore, it’s important to talk your situation over with a friend. The more you express your anger in words, the calmer you will become. Or, write it down in a journal, if you prefer. The essential point is this: when you put your anger into words, either verbal or written, it is therapeutic. Remember to notice when the venting is always about the same topic. At that point, you really need to delve deeper into the real problem behind your anger.
2. Anger is meant to make us feel uncomfortable
We live in a society driven by the pleasure principle – there is such an emphasis on positivity that we are unequipped to deal with the other half of our emotional spectrum. If there’s a feeling we don’t like, we try to get rid of it or pretend it doesn’t exist. Our continual pursuit of empty happiness clichés seldom register anything more than a temporary bleep, and then quickly fades away.
Anger makes us uncomfortable and that’s a good thing because it gets our attention. An emotion like anger requires us to sit up and pay attention if we hope to get to the root of it. To fully experience and tap into the wisdom of our emotions, we must learn how to experience the discomfort. Without discomfort, there is no change and no growth.
Those who prefer to feel useful emotions, even when they are unpleasant, are better able to use them in ways that are strategic. People who prefer to feel anger when confronting others tend to be higher in emotional intelligence, whereas people who prefer to feel happiness in such contexts tend to be lower in emotional intelligence. It is a combination: Negative Emotions + Positive Emotions = Emotional Competence.
Hence, mental toughness allows us to tap into the wisdom of our emotions. Our limbic brain system alerts us to danger in our environment. If we choke off all negative emotions, we also suppress a primal survival tool that has alerted us to threats in our environment for centuries. All emotions can be useful; the key is to regulate them so you can choose the situations which are more beneficial to you.
3. Anger helps you discover your boundaries
Are there situations or people that always twist your stomach into a knot?
People who do not take steps to modify their situation only compound their problems. If they learn how to reframe their circumstances, they are better able to control their anger and other negative emotions. When you imagine an event as though you are a bystander, you will notice that you harbour fewer aggressive and negative emotions.
It is not always possible to turn away from disturbing or unfavourable situations. Some events—the loss of your job, the death of a partner, or an unexpected illness — are not controllable. People can cope with unwanted emotions if they imagine the situation from the perspective of an impartial observer. Find ways to modify your response — so you can control your anger before it spills out and makes matters worse.
4. Anger can motivate us
Are you angry because you got passed over a promotion? Use that anger to propel you towards a job that will provide more rewards. Anger is an interesting emotion. It is a negative feeling, arousing from cognitive and behavioural responses that are often positive. Anger can motivate a response normally associated with positive behaviour.
If we look at anger like any other emotion, we can find ways to anticipate its arrival and choose how long it hangs around. Consider a positive emotion like joy: if we excavate our own mind and body, we know what will produce joy for us. We create circumstances that will encourage or enhance our experience. We anticipate its very arrival so we’re not surprised when it ultimately shows up.
When it comes to anger, it’s important to explore in the depths of your mind to uncover what provoked it. The exploration of your anger requires as much honesty and self-awareness as it takes to explore what brings you joy. Both emotions, and your response to them, work hand in hand to form healthy and mature connections.
5. Anger can strengthen relationships
Conflicts and disagreements allow you to learn more about your partner, spouse, child, friend, or associate. Equality in relationships means you work through tough things together. It allows you to see things from the other person’s point of view. When you’re afraid of showing your anger, you signal that you’re not willing to honestly admit your emotions. As a result, you stay away from people or even experiences that might conjure up all unwanted emotions.
You will encounter people who use their anger to hurt others, who wield anger like a weapon, who use the fuel of anger in a way that harms themselves and everyone around them. Know that they are hurting and know it is not your job to fix them or entertain them. Offer them compassion, if you’d like to witness them, do so, and then move on.
It’s important to trust your anger, but do not expect this relationship to be easy. When anger speaks, it is often inconvenient, uncomfortable, and awkward. Yet another reason so many people deny their truths. Feeling very angry and frustrated all the time, or being around someone who is always angry, is exhausting and stressful. Usually asking, listening and being compassionate work for most things. We don’t need to know all the background why someone is acting the way they are acting; just accept that people act in a certain way for a vital reason. Be curious instead of been furious, and explain your own anger instead of expressing it, and you will find solutions instead of arguments.
Anger can be an expensive luxury. Your anger is sacred. Nurture it and listen to it fiercely.
The smarter you get, the more you realise anger is not worth it. – Maxime Lagace