For a long time, I believed that being angry is awful. You may also have come across many motivational videos that give you tips on how not to be angry. In fact, Google’s auto-suggestions for ’anger’ keyword is flooded with anger management ideas. Most of the related articles to the emotion give a very harmful message that you should not be angry! Anger is a bad emotion so on and so forth. However, when you start believing such messages, you wonder why you get angry and the cycle of shame begins. Is it possible to not get angry? No! But what you can do is to understand the emotion better
What is anger?
Like happy, sad, surprise, fear, content; anger is also an emotion that is neither good nor bad but conveys a message. It tells you that the situation at that point in time is unfair towards you thereby making you feel unhappy and irritated. If your first-hand response to this situation is aggression, then the message the emotion wanted to convey you may be lost. As a result, you may face the same situation multiple times without a positive outcome.
So, if anyone asks me methods to control the temper, I give them reasons not to do that. Here are my top 5 reasons why you also should not be restraining your anger.
1. Anger is an emotion
Anger is just an emotion, quite an unpleasant one. In life, you cannot aim to experience only positive emotions and struggle to keep unpleasant emotions away. Life is a package, it comes with a wide variety of situations and each situation evokes a different emotion in yourself. The focus here must be to keep away the maladaptive behavior that comes as a result.
2. Anger tells a lot about your needs
To understand the message your anger is trying to convey, you have to get curious about why you got angry in the first place. Your anger tells a lot about your needs. When your needs are not met, you will not feel too happy about it. Like, when you are long stuck in traffic and the car in front of you is not moving fast enough, you get enraged. Why, because the situation made you realize that you cannot control how the person in front of you behave on road. This lack of control over things that directly impact you in a negative way made you angry. Here your need is to be in control of things surrounding you. Even though in this situation the need is a negative one, different circumstances convey different needs.
3. Anger helps you to discover your boundaries
If we make ourselves comfortable in every situation, we may fail to realize our emotional boundaries. This can be self-deprecating. For instance, you are offended by people commenting on your body, but you are trying your best not to express your dissatisfaction and vexation to those comments. Then, you are slowly pushing the boundaries of the amount of insult you can take. Exercising such behavior for an extended period of time can crush your self-esteem and self-love.
The ideal way to deal with such a situation is to express your dissatisfaction. You may comment, “Kindly do not pass comments about my body. That makes me uncomfortable”.
4. Anger is a product of injustice
One has to realize that anger is an expression of the injustice you may be facing at that point in time. When your colleague gets a raise while you are left with the same pay even though both of you are doing the same job, you can be enraged. Here your indignation is valid and it will do no good to you by holding back that feeling. Similar is the case of many activism and movements that stem from anger towards any form of injustice.
5. Anger helps to maintain relationships
Being a relationship counselor, I can assure you that there can never be a relationship devoid of conflict. On the contrary, it would be worrisome, if you and your partner never had a fight. This is because it is through these conflicts that partners get to know each other better. They get an insight into the otherwise well-masked insecurities and boundaries. Consequently working together to resolve the problems by forgiving and compromising.
To conclude, expressing anger or any emotional distress in a constructive way helps you to maintain healthy relationships. Be cause, if you control your annoyance towards a particular person or situation, it is plausible that you end up avoiding those people and circumstances. Thereby closing yourself up from people and experiences all together with a preconceived notion that they may induce negative emotions which, in turn, will impact your social and emotional well being.
Labeling anger as a negative emotion happens through social learning. So, start embracing your emotions. Instead of telling our kids not to be angry, let us teach them how to express their anger. Always keep in mind that being angry does not make you a lesser person.