Actually there is a lot more good about anger than there is bad. Anger is an emotion, and like any other, it is a message from your own inner guidance system that lets you understand what is going on around you, and prepares you to respond in your own best interests. The only thing that can be bad about anger is an inappropriate/ unhelpful response.
The emotion of anger is a protective emotion, telling you that you feel threatened in some way, and the message is always “Something is going on that is unfair to you or someone that you care about.”
As the feeling of anger comes over you, you are primed for action to stand up for yourself, and put it right – make it fair. All emotions are good as they are nothing more than a message that tells you that something needs your attention. Anger is no exception.
Most of the time in a civilised society, a physical fight response is not appropriate when you have been treated unfairly. However anger is a primitive emotion that does prepare you to physically protect yourself if necessary. You can feel your strength and determination to defend yourself building. But if the Boss at work is giving you more tasks than you can handle, you can’t punch him on the nose, you have to calmly negotiate a more appropriate work load that you can efficiently complete.
In our world, we can use the motivation of anger to make it fair by using our intellect. Until you can resolve the issue in some way the anger feeling won’t go away. If you are easily triggered into anger it could be a sign that an old issue is still festering and needs revisiting.
THREE STEPS TO A HEALTHY ANGER RESPONSE
CHECK – Ask yourself, is it really unfair?
Take time out. Reassess the situation. Listen to the other side. Consider the bigger picture.
Was their need greater than yours and so it’s ok with you that they went to the front of the queue? Are you angry because you think someone is making the wrong life choices, but then you agree it is their free will right to make that personal choice. They may even have the same honourable objectives as you, but have different ideas about how to achieve them. Is a situation just the way it is, and it’s equally unfair to everyone?
If you reconsider your perspective, and decide that it is not unfair, the anger will dissipate. It simply won’t bother you anymore.
MAKE FAIR – If it really is not fair, can you make it fair?
Express yourself. Let people know it seems unfair to you. Take action. Talk to the person in charge, negotiate a fair deal, make representations for change, seek compensation, write to your MP, get support by starting a petition etc. Turn it into a win-win situation if you can, and regain fairness in the situation. As you do, calm balance is restored. The unfairness that triggered the anger is gone.
ACCEPT – If you cannot make it fair
Sometimes the situation cannot be changed and it is just not possible to make it fair. There is one important thing you must do to finally ‘let it go’. It’s one little word but it is very powerful: “ACCEPT”.
It helps if you can acknowledge any useful learning from the experience. Try to understand why they did such an unfair, hurtful thing. This can help you replace the anger with compassion or pity for the hurter. With understanding, you may even be able to forgive them, which makes it easier to let go and move on.
If you accept what happened, without resistance or resentment, the anger will have served its purpose and it is no longer needed. Acceptance lets you take back your mental and emotional energy for other things.
“Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.”