Are you like millions of people who view anger as something wrong, bad, or to be avoided at all costs? Do you deny your anger, suppress it, or try to ignore it even when it is yelling through your voice box?
Many suffer with a syndrome I call “anger denial.” They try to play down how things are affecting them emotionally—especially when it comes to anger. Is this a wise tactic? Is this something that we should do? Is it healthy for us in the long run?
I don’t think it is!
Because as we try to play it down, avoid it, or deny it we are cutting off one-half of our emotional self. David Augsburger in his book, Caring Enough to Confront puts it this way, “To cut off one-half of your emotional spectrum and reject all negative feelings is to refuse to be a whole person.”
Why would anyone what to be only half a person? Some choose to be half a person because they believe to let anger out is to do something wrong, forbidden or unacceptable.
Is anger wrong? Does it have to be bad? Is anger always destructive? Does anger have to be hostile? Can anger be productive? I don’t believe that anger in and of itself is bad, negative, or destructive. It is the way in which we express our anger and how we choose to act it out that can be destructive and harmful.
Attempting to shoot someone because they cut you off on the freeway is destructive—and can be harmful, but expressing that you don’t like the fact that a mad man was given a license is not destructive—even if you state this with passion.
Often anger is used as a way to attack a people—their character, skill, intelligence, worth, abilities, or looks etc. This is destructive to the person—on whom your anger is unleashed, it is damaging to your relationship, and it is unproductive for you—even if it makes you feel good in the short run.
Man is a social being—he was designed for relationship. Anger expressed as a violent weapon kills relationships. Relationships are built with love, understanding, service, truth and much more. But anger that is out of control or hostile can bulldoze a relationship—leaving many casualties in its wake. And can leave the one who welded the weapon alone and isolated. People who are always angry are not magnets that draw people to them—but rather repel people thus leaving them alone and isolated.
Anger doesn’t need to be expressed in a way that causes wounding, hurt, or cause one to be out of control. You can express your anger in a loving and controlled way. If you have been putting your negative emotions on the shelf, if you have labeled anger a forbidden emotional fruit it is time to dust it off—take it off the shelf and start to be a whole person again. Express your anger but do it in love and without losing control.
How can you express anger in a positive way?
- Identify why you’re angry
- Think about what you want to say—does it target the issue rather than the person
- Take time to get your emotions in check—count to 100 or 1000 if necessary
- State how you feel—“when you did this it made me feel_____ and it made me angry because it came across like ________.”
- Write it down. Sometimes it is easier articulate what you feel after you write it down
- If you feel out of control put that extra emotional energy to work—exercise. Then have a talk
- Speak the “I” message and not the “you” message. “I feel a wall is up between us” rather than “You’re putting up a wall”
- Follow the example of a great man—King David (Psalms 40) learn from someone who was able to express the depths of his emotions and still retain a heart, attitude and disposition that was pleasing to God
If you happen to be a person who is full of anger…it is time to get some love…let go of the anger and allow your heart and emotions to be healed. I recommend Jesus—he works wonders especially when you choose to forgive.
If you want to learn more about confronting in love, and healthy ways to express anger…check out…