Anger is a normal reaction to any number of life challenges. Injustice, disappointment, insult, injury, the general unfairness of things, having to deal with rude people, I could go on.
But while anger is a normal reaction, holding onto it is basically always bad for us (I’m sure there are times it can be channeled effectively, to right some injustice, for example, but in the day to day, it’s just better to move on).
Of course, it’s easier said than done to just move on from things that make us angry, at least it is for me. I have been known to obsess over upsetting experiences, reliving them over and over, experiencing the same indignation and almost reveling in the negative feeling. Sometimes I would relive upsetting conversations and come up with better responses. Who hasn’t done that?
But really, once I let go of that anger, recognize it as something that is often masking a different emotion, like fear or grief, then I can start to be more emotionally healthy.
My kid’s therapist once said that anger is a secondary emotion, it comes after we feel a more primal emotion. And we need to figure out what that emotion is so we can not spend our time in anger.
Do you have any effective strategies for dealing with anger?
-Featured Photo by Ankush Minda on Unsplash
(also, please don’t release balloons into the air. It’s really not good for wildlife and stuff)
6 thoughts on “Let It Go”
Interesting about anger being a secondary emotion.
I tend to turn anger inwards as self-criticism, which is also not healthy.
I can relate to that. I tend to be overly self-critical.
Not sure. On the scale of emotions possibilities: think anger is the opposite of happy, just a normal appropriate temporary reaction to hurt or something bad. Like we are happy when we are presented with a birthday 🎂. For a reasonably short time. Mad is anger in a prolonged or continuous state, and so describes someone who become destroyed by this continuum. Madness can have many causes. We should not cultivate angry, just as we do not cultivate silly-happy. If that makes some sense?
I like how you linked anger to mad to madness. Very interesting connections.
Curious here, can relate to turning anger inwards, becoming the 2nd step. The 2nd step is juggling around what is ping ponging within us. Have come to realize anger is not unhealthy. All this hiding is the unhealthy, that is because we do not know how or what to do with it? So we turn on ourselves. Venture because we are not properly taught to recognize it, admit it, and properly act on it. Eventually some of us work it out and get it right. But at what cost of pain to us and others? So we pretend it is not there. But it is there and we should not be ashamed of reacting with anger. Anger is not a tool to control or correct others.
I totally agree that the hiding is unhealthy, and can lead to a whole host of bad business, for ourselves and for those around us. And I also agree that recognizing it, naming it for what it is, and allowing ourselves to acknowledge it is crucial for health and wholeness. But I think that that’s first level (which definitely takes work to attain), and the second level is to not even react with anger, but to feel it, acknowledge it, and then act calmly, and take any corrective action that needs to be done later, when the emotions have settled.