We’ve all felt it.
Your face grows flush, brow muscles move in and down and you stare, hard at your target as your nostrils flare and your jaw clenches. Suddenly, your heart rate increases, preparing you to move, and blood flow to the hands quicken in anticipation of striking, as beads of perspiration break out over your body.
Someone recently asked me why I would ever let myself become angry. That indiividual suggested I meditate and find balance in my life and ultimately rid myself of all anger.
I asked why anger was detestable, embarrassing and inappropriate.
Anger is an emotion related to one’s psychological interpretation of having been offended, wronged or denied, and it is normal and involves a strong uncomfortable and emotional response to a perceived provocation.
We are encouraged to express love, happiness and sadness.
But not anger.
We are told not to repress love, happiness nor sadness.
But keep anger to yourself.
All sorts of self-proclaimed gurus witness someone expressing anger and say, “The key is to remain calm. Let the anger pass through you and do not let it control you for even a second.” I’m positive each individual saying that has buttons, that if found and pushed, cause them to tip tables over and break statues of pagan gods.
Some seek the so-called root of anger and smile smugly and point. When in reality, it’s as simple as someone was cruel to your kid and you’re in full Terminator mode. I would say to this emotion expert, “While you’re dissecting my response, I’ll be handling the situation, and I am perfectly fine with that.”
Some deem anger socially inappropriate. The bunch nearby can’t stop using the n word and you’re granddaughter is black, but don’t get ticked off. You’ve been laid off after 20 years so your company’s CEO can get his yearly bonus and stockholders can dream of rolling in money, but don’t raise your voice and tell the place to kiss your butt on the way out the door.
Why is it not alright to get angry anymore?
The world is filled with examples of unjust actioons that are negatively impacting nearly everyone, yet we remain apathetic.
Nature initially developed anger to help keep us alive, as it sends signals to the body to help us fight or flee and energizes us to take action.
Airstotle said anger was useful in preventing injustice.
It motivates us to stand up for ourselves and, at times, make positive changes in our lives and situations.
In fact, psychologists say suppressed anger may find other outlets, present as physical symptoms, and in some instance explode when muffled over time.
It’s important to point out that I am not speaking of habitually mismanaged anger that is consistently out of control, misdirected and overly aggressive. There is a clear difference, for example, between anger and abuse.
Someone who consistently abuses those around him or her, is not healthy.
It’s not alright to scream at Jane for winning the marathon because Joe didn’t give you the raise you wanted.
But in my opinion, it’s alright to shout when someone will not stop gay-bashing whether to a room of crowded people or a gay couple.
There’s nothing wrong with very loudly and firmly telling your sister’s husband to quit verbally abusing her or you’ll toss him out.
Sure, a therapist might say she needs to leave him, but until that day happens, if it was me, I’d be getting mad at him and showing him the exit.
Anger may not resolve a situation or teach a lesson. It may inspire more anger. But it can also inspire courage, shield someone weaker and provide an outlet for a perfectly understandable, and at times, appropriate emotion.
And c’mon, unless we band together, boiling mad, adequate health care, a decent wage and honest representation will remain out of our reach.
Sometimes you should just get intensely mad about something unjust and despicable.
Most of us would probably prefer to never get angry, but it can happen in life, and we shouldn’t feel ashamed about expressing our emotions.
Reach Editor Stephen Bartlett at firstname.lastname@example.org.