Anger gets a bad press and for good reason: it can lead to violence.
Violence is almost always inappropriate and most often counter-productive (violence may be appropriate for self-defence).
So if we are going to talk about anger we need to get the connection with violence out of the way. Usually we are violent when we feel powerless and that we can’t do anything. We lash out in frustration. (Violence is most often a sign of weakness).
So to deal with violence it is usually best to concentrate on what we can do: to see that we do have some alternatives.
If we are frustrated there is usually something we can do to remove the frustration or find another way to get what we want. The desire for violence then diminishes.
So why is anger good?
1. Like our other emotions it provides us with important information.
Anger tells us what is important to us. We don’t get angry about what we don’t care about. If we are surprised by our anger this means that we hadn’t realised how much we care about someone or something. Learning that we care about something can lead to us living more in tune with what we care about.
2. Anger provides us with energy to re-do something.
When we are angry we can take something apart: find what parts of a situation, or what behaviour of a person, we dislike. This gives us a laser-like focus. It can lead to a new approach to someone or some situation that we dislike.
3. Anger can then provide us with the energy to start doing something different.
Once we get clear about what we dislike we can then start doing something different.
What part has anger played in your life? Has anger helped you? I’d love to hear your experience in the comments.