Using Anger for Positive Change
So far we’ve been talking about how anger can impact your life in a negative way. But now let’s talk about things you can do to channel your angry energy toward a positive end. Let’s use that anger as a tool for excellence.
If you think about your energy levels, you tend to have more stamina and strength when you feel angry, don’t you?
Your heart beats faster; the muscles of your body stay poised for action. Your body is in a heightened state of awareness because of your strong emotions.
Even though it’s not healthy to be chronically stressed which is what happens when you carry around unresolved anger, you can learn to channel this energy toward a productive end. In doing so, you’ll channel and release the anger.
Make Anger Work for You in Positive Ways
Anger can inspire us to make changes in our relationships. When we feel strong feelings about something, yet we don’t act on those feelings, we tend to linger in a passive-aggressive state.
With a Romantic Partner
Think about the dynamic you may have with someone whom you’re close to. Let’s suppose it’s your wife or girlfriend and every night she asks you to take out the trash after dinner. You feel extremely tired after dinner. Her suggestion to you to throw out the garbage at a time when you would rather be lying on the sofa resting after a big meal, makes you feel annoyed. You silently resent her for the daily reminders and what feels to you like nagging, about the garbage.
In this scenario, you may have some angry feelings that you’ve chosen not to give voice to. Be honest with yourself. Perhaps you have never told your girlfriend or wife that you really don’t have the energy after a busy day and a big meal, to take out the trash post-dinner. Instead, you hold in your true thoughts about this, and instead, do things to avoid the task.
But if your anger is telling you that a far bigger issue is at stake here, you might do well to sit up and listen.
Some of the things you do might be ignoring her when she speaks, conveniently forgetting even though she asks you to do this task every night, and behaving toward her in a slightly antagonistic manner.
A much healthier way to resolve this conflict is to explain to your girlfriend or wife that you really do not feel up to the task of taking out the garbage at this time of night. You can negotiate with her on the issue. Either discuss a task that you would prefer to handle at a different time while she instead takes over garbage duty or agrees that this is not the best time of day for you to be focusing on this task and that you would rather take out the garbage say right before bedtime or perhaps first thing in the morning.
Ah, but what if the person you’re dealing with isn’t being reasonable about compromising on this or other issues? This can point to an unhealthy relationship. This is no small matter. A breakup unfortunately could be the best thing for you two.
Let’s consider another scenario. What could be making you angry? Maybe you live with your parents and the rules that they have set forth for you don’t seem to work anymore for the type of lifestyle that you have begun to lead at your particular age and phase of life.
Your parents demand that you come home at a certain hour, eat the foods that they prepare for you, and seem to dictate your life in ways that you feel you have outgrown. This makes you angry. Let’s explore how you are inclined to show your anger toward your mom and dad.
When your parents make requests of you that you find unreasonable, such as demanding that you get home at a certain hour, how do you typically react?
Do you feel your blood pressure rising as you clench your fists and begin to object? Do you scowl and huff about, or slam doors? While these are natural reactions to the feeling of being controlled, especially at an age where you should be able to enjoy more personal freedom, this is not a healthy and productive way to respond. Even so, it doesn’t justify that your mom and dad still treat you like a child and that something needs to change.
This is a situation where angry feelings should not be ignored. This is your psyche trying to communicate to you that you have outgrown your parents and their rules. It’s time to gain some independence by moving out into your own place.
Use the anger in this case to fuel you with purpose. If you normally feel tired at the end of a busy day, pay attention to how it feels when your parents begin to get on your nerves at this hour. If you had your own place, what would you be doing at this time of the evening? Making your own decision on what to eat and who to eat it with?
Instead of displaying anger, feel the energy bubbling up inside you, and use that energy to take action.
Begin a search for apartments, or make some calls to friends who might be looking for a roommate. The anger in this case will enable you to take the first step toward a great new life for yourself.
Once you have fully transitioned into your home and a new phase of greater independence, you will likely find that the anger has resolved, and been replaced with a sense of happiness personal satisfaction, and inner peace.