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What’s so Bad About Feeling Angry Anyway?

Last week I posted an article entitled, But What is Anger Really?

In the article I shared a reading I gave a client that helped her realize her anger was really grief.

I got a lot of emails from my readers asking questions about anger, like why is it so important to find an internal cause for our anger. Why can’t we just feel angry?

When you’re angry it’s because you feel helpless to change, fix or control a situation, and that’s a very disempowered place in which to be. When you go inside, however, and look for the root cause of that anger you are going to find something you CAN control, heal, change, fix, and understand. And that will heal your anger if you let it.

Anger erodes you. It’s like being angry at someone and punching a wall. You’re the one who hurts, not the other person. When you’re sitting in your room at night seething about the actions of someone else, you are creating an energetic reaction in your body that is not at all healthy. And the person you’re angry with probably doesn’t know you’re stewing and probably doesn’t care.

I’m not saying you can’t feel angry if you want to, but I am saying it’s not going to do you as much good or bring you any peace unless you find the root cause so you can learn from the experience and prevent it from happening again.

People sent me some questions about specific situations, and I want to answer a few of those publicly so you can see how to adjust your viewpoint to something more empowering, more peaceful, and less toxic.

Right now in America people are angry about the possible overturn of Roe vs. Wade. They are raising their voices in outrage. Is that not a healthy expression of anger?
They are not angry, they are afraid and they feel helpless. They are raising their voices to alert members of various legislatures of what they do and don’t want. That’s proactive.

I feel angry at Russia for what they are doing to Ukraine.
Is it anger? Or do you feel deep compassion for the innocent victims of Putin’s decision to invade? Perhaps you feel helpless that you cannot stop the invasion or help the victims directly, and perhaps you feel fear that this may someday happen in your country.

I’m angry that my son chose to drop out of college after his father and I spent decades saving so he wouldn’t have to get a loan!
You feel frustrated that he did not follow your plan for him. You chose to save the money; you chose to spend it on his education. You could not get him to conform to your view of how he should live his life and you feel regret that you put so much energy into something you could not control.

I’m angry at my doctor for not ordering a test that might have saved me a lot of pain.
That’s helplessness and violation of trust. And you’re frustrated with yourself that you let it happen. You won’t make that mistake again.

I’m angry at people who abuse animals. I hate them!
You feel sad and helpless. Your compassion speaks highly of you. Not everyone is as kind-hearted. You are grieving for the animals who are being hurt.

I’m angry at the guy who scammed me into giving him $10,000.
You are grieving the loss of the money; you are frustrated with yourself for falling victim to the scam. You are worried it could happen again. You are afraid that you are too gullible. You feel vulnerable. And you feel violated.

I’m angry at our politicians for putting this country in greater debt.
This is violation of trust, helplessness, and fear.

I’m angry at my boss for giving a promotion to someone when I deserved it more.
You are worried you are not valued. You are scared you won’t ever get the promotion. You feel helpless because you cannot promote yourself. And there’s a part of you that wonders if you are missing some skill you should have.

The next time you feel anger, try for a minute to see it from another point of view.

Instead of saying, “My husband used me as a starter wife and as soon as he got the life he wanted he just dumped me,” try saying, “I am a giving and loving person and he took advantage of that because I let him. I’m not going to stop being kind, but I am going to be more discerning about who I give my love to and I’m looking forward to finding someone who is equally kind-hearted and loving.”

Instead of, “I’m going to find the company that scammed me and make sure they are arrested!” try saying, “I’m going to warn my family and friends about this scam so they aren’t taken. I’m going to educate myself about scammer tactics and always double-check something before I submit to it.”

Anger will only turn you bitter. It’s more empowering to learn from our experiences. Learn from what happened and move on. Don’t flog yourself. Get up, dust yourself off, and get back in the game, wiser and stronger.

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