How to Manage Anger Instead of Avoiding Anger: An Honest Conversation
Let’s have an honest conversation about anger. Many people try to avoid conflict and see anger as a negative emotion. Even the word anger can bring up anxiety and avoidance in people. However, anger is just like any other emotion as it has both a constructive and a destructive side. Anger can fuel us and focus our energy. Anger can let us know when a boundary has been crossed. But if it is left unresolved and unmoved it can turn into destructive anger or rage that can harm others and ourselves.
Without movement, anger can simmer or explode. Simmering anger and resentment can become bitterness, and I believe that bitterness is one of the least attractive traits in a human being. We do not want to connect with a person who is bitter and angry; it sucks out our energy to the point where we start to avoid that person.
Anger that explodes can hit anybody and anything around it. This can be very frightening to others. Rage can also leave a person feeling drained and embarrassed. When our brain is flooded with rage our higher reasoning does not work well and we are more likely to say and do things that we regret. Rage can leave a real mess that takes a great deal of work to clean up.
There are things in this world that we should be angry at, and in order to change these things we will need energy and direction. We need our anger. One of the principals of the MORE Philosophy is movement; this keeps us progressing as humans. When we see something that we know is wrong, or that we feel needs to be different, we can start a movement that creates personal and social change. MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Driving) is a perfect example of something that started as grief and anger, and then turned into a call to action. This is the movement described in the MORE philosophy. This very personal experience became a grassroots movement, eventually growing into part of the popular consciousness. It began with a mother who was angry and devastated at the death of her child by a drunk driver. She didn’t let her personal anger stay stuck in reactive rage and bitterness, but instead turned her loss into a movement that has impacted society and changed how we view drinking and driving. It began with intense pain and anger, but was transformed through action into something that has contributed to society.
When we find ourselves overwhelmed by anger it is important to remember how one mother moved her anger into something that changed the world around her, and ask ourselves “what do I need to move?” in order to utilize the strength and constructive energy of anger.