We all have emotions. It’s part of being human. One emotion we all tend to have problems with at times is anger. It’s a natural and understandable emotion. The trick, however, is to display and use anger appropriately.
Imagine a jack-in-the-box toy. You’re turning the handle, winding the spring, and eventually, when you least expect it, the figure pops out. When you’re irritated, upset, angry, sad, hurt, embarrassed, etc., and don’t express that emotion you’re just like that jack-in-the-box toy. You’re winding up tension on that spring and also packing in suppressed emotions and negative thoughts. When the lid eventually pops open you blow up … on the wrong person, at the wrong time, and for the wrong reason. Sound familiar? I’ve done this and know lots of others who’ve done it too.
That’s one scenario. Now imagine what happens if the latch for that lid breaks. You can still turn the crank, add tension to the internal spring, and the toy will eventually break. Our bodies do the same thing. The more suppressed emotion and negative thoughts we pack in, without any release, the more physical and emotional problems we can have – our bodies react and may break – leaving us with headaches, high blood pressure, poor immune response, poor digestion, irritability, poor sleep, chronic pain, frequent illnesses, depression, anxiety, shame, guilt … and the list can go on and on and on.
Anger is an appropriate and understandable emotion. However, what we often display when we’re fearful, sad, disgusted, ashamed, guilty, embarrassed, etc., is not that initial emotion but anger.
It doesn’t have to be this way. We don’t have to blow up on other people. We don’t have to suppress our emotions. We don’t have to be on high alert all the time. We can learn to experience and express anger and our other emotions appropriately without harming ourselves or harming others.
Curious about anger, the other emotions we all experience, and how to express them appropriately? Check out our Resources page for several links that talk to emotional and social intelligence.