“When a man gives way to anger, he only harms himself.”
Understanding Anger – anger is one of the most powerful of emotions and the physical toll it takes on us when we feel it is huge. It is primitive and often what triggers it is unconscious. Being angry impacts on our autonomic nervous system and it can feel as frightening as if a hungry tiger is about to pounce on us. It is also very hard to be the target of someone else’s anger and this can also engender feelings of fear.
We are often more afraid of our own anger than that of other people.
You may have heard that getting angry at someone is like holding a hot coal in the palm of your hand – it only burns yourself, or that being angry is like drinking poison and expecting the target of your anger to become ill. Understanding this intellectually is one thing, but living it is another, like many of the concepts surrounding emotional intelligence.
Like all emotions, anger has an important role to play. Our job is not to judge or fear emotions but to understand them as fully as we can.
To quote Gandhi again, “Anger and intolerance are the enemies of correct understanding.” To understand we need to be present, we need to listen, we need to know what is driving the anger in this situation and this requires self-knowledge.
Anger usually stems from two main areas:
1. Injustice – both on a personal and societal level. For example, when you were a child your younger sibling never had to help around the house which was unfair and made you feel less important. Or, on a societal level, you may doing all you can to make ‘greener’, more environmentally sound choices but your neighbour makes no effort and carries on polluting regardless.
2. Fear – you may have been hurt in the past and now use anger as protective energy to keep the same thing from happening again. On an emotional level, perhaps an ex-partner cheated on you and now you have trust issues so you overreact and get angry if your new partner forgets to call or is late. Here anger and possessiveness does not protect you but could actually jeopardise your relationship.
This week, give some consideration to when, why and how you feel and express anger. Are you afraid of it? Does it flare up uncontrollably within you?
I’ll be on the Dermot and Dave Show on Today FM this morning at 10.30am talking in more detail about anger and how you can manage it. Please tune in if you can.
THANK YOU so much to the people who came to my workshop at the buzzing Thrive Festival in Dublin’s National Convention Centre on Saturday last – you are an amazing group of people! I really enjoyed it and hope I helped the group with practical tools to feel calmer and happier.
By the way, tickets are selling fast for the ‘This is Me’ event on March 26th, so do book soon if you can make it.
Sending love and light as always,
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