Daily Archives: October 7, 2011

How to Use Your Anger

Angry Sphynx
Image via Wikipedia

Anger is a good thing. It is the alarm bell within that tells you something is wrong. Anger ‘s role in life is to help us maintain and protect our selfness. It tells us that someone or something is encroaching on our boundaries. The trick with anger is to know how to use it for your benefit.

I think of anger as my friend. It has not always been so. From petty annoyances to temper tantrums, I know the full range of the anger spectrum. I was the Rage Queen, erupting as the overwhelming tide of anger swept me away, out of control, feeling powerless and vulnerable.

I used to think it was someone or something else that made me angry, unaware that the anger was about me. I played the blame game to the hilt, repeating the same patterns over and over until the awareness of how bad anger felt made me seek help.

I have had wonderful teachers, mentors, and loved ones who have taught me so much about anger. They have been mirrors for me, examples to emulate, and compassionate healers.

It wasn’t easy to face the emotions that were holding me in anger. Gradually I was able to develop the compassion and self respect that enabled me to look inside with love and appreciation, and I was able to take the steps toward healing.

I learned that my anger is a sign that something inside me is out of balance. As I learned to admit how sad I felt, how helpless, how hurt, I realized my anger was a shield I used to hide my vulnerability from myself and from the world.

Resolution of anger issues is different from anger management. Anger management strategies are certainly important; still, they don’t seem to create resolution of the issue(s) that bring anger out. They seem to focus on control, which is constructive but, without resolution, tend to encourage emotional repression, which creates more anger, which leads to more repression, and the circle goes around and around.

Here are a couple of definitions of anger management, one by the Mayo Clinic staff, along with ten great tips for handling anger that everyone can use (I encourage you to read it), and this one by Normal Shultz, Research Assistant, Conflict Research Consortium at the University of Colorado. What is your opinion?

Anger is a normal part of life. Learning to resolve it enables you to have better health, better relationships, and more of what you want. By using anger management and resolution together, you can gradually whittle your anger down to nothing. How would that change your life?

While I experience annoyance and irritation from time to time, I am no longer the Rage Queen. I use anger management strategies, and I take steps to resolve the issues behind the anger by asking myself questions like, “What is it in me that brings this forward? What am I telling myself right now?” I am happier, and so are those around me.

What are your thoughts about this? What is your experience with anger? How do you handle it?