Is Anger Getting the Better of You?
There will undoubtedly be times when things won’t go your way. There will, in fact, be times when other people will do certain things that go against your values or simply don’t live up to your personal standards or expectations. And there will certainly be moments when the unexpected will happen — catching you off-guard and stirring your emotions. There will also be times when certain events and circumstances will trigger something deep within you that will suddenly bring the feelings of overwhelm and frustration into the open. Yes, these are the times when you might feel a little upset, agitated, angry or furious. And yet, it’s how you label and describe these feelings to yourself that determines how you respond.
At one point or another, we’ve all experienced some form of anger where we lose control of our emotions and end up saying and doing things regretfully. Anger is, therefore, a part of just about everyone’s life. It’s actually a natural response that can help you to better understand yourself, your rules, your expectations and your personal standards. In fact, when you’re feeling angry this is telling you that something must be corrected and/or resolved.
You can either make these corrections and resolve the issues you are confronting, or you can instead choose to let things go. Either approach works. It all depends on what you would like to gain from the situation and whether or not it is worth pursuing or simply deciding to let things be.
The Causes of Anger
Before looking into the causes of why you might be feeling angry, it’s important to note that anger, just like any other emotion, is a state-of-mind. Whether you consciously realize it or not, it’s something you choose to experience in the moment. Yes, it might seem on the surface that someone else made you angry. However, this isn’t entirely true. You actually made yourself angry because of the way you perceived the situation or because of how you chose to respond to the circumstances. It was your choice and your choice alone. And because it was your choice, you can always choose otherwise. You can choose a different emotional response. In fact, you can choose to ignore the situation, you can choose to stay calm and composed, or you can choose to love. The choice is yours to make.
You might feel angry because of the way you have been treated. For instance, you might have been treated unjustly or unfairly. You are angry about this treatment because your beliefs about the situation and your expectations of what should have happened are in conflict with the events that transpired. It’s important to recognize the influence that your beliefs have on your state-of-mind because another person might very well have an alternate set of beliefs and expectations and they will, therefore, feel and respond differently to this situation.
Anger can also arise from physical pain as well as from a high consumption of alcohol and/or drugs. It can result from fatigue, which can come from a lack of patience, or from the fact that you’re dealing with a very difficult situation which is overwhelming your emotions and making you feel rather frustrated and burnt out. Anger can also result from bouts of low self-esteem. For instance, feeling inadequate or incapable of doing something can often lead to disappointment. Over time, this disappointment can turn to anger and eventually despondency when you realize you are unable to make any adequate progress.
There are also probably plenty more ways that anger can arise in your life. When looking at the bigger picture, it doesn’t really matter how your anger arises. The most important thing to remember is that you always choose how you feel. You can either feel angry about things or you can choose a different and more productive response.
The Consequences of Anger
If you choose to be angry and to respond irrationally to events, people, and circumstances, it’s important you keep in mind that your anger always has consequences. Some of these consequences may initially be minor. Your anger, for instance, might hurt someone else’s feelings or ruin your day. However, these are things you can probably mend with a little empathy, forgiveness, and understanding. What you should be worried about is how your anger influences your state-of-mind in the long-run.
When you’re angry you literally lose control of your rational mind. All of a sudden you stop thinking rationally. Instead, you are reacting emotionally to events and circumstances as you lose all sense of reality and perspective. These emotional reactions have very little thought behind them and as a result, you might end up saying and doing things that you may very well regret and despise later on. Over time, continued anger can wear you down physically and emotionally. You begin to feel as though everything and everyone is purposefully out to get you — as though the world is conspiring against you. This can lead to feeling somewhat despondent, which can eventually lead to bouts of depression. This depression is triggered as you begin internalizing your feelings of anger. You are now feeling more anger towards yourself then the world around you, and this is what leads you to an even deeper emotional disconnect from the world.
Anger can however also be a very positive emotion. At times, the right kind of (controlled) anger can help increase your physical strength and courage. This can help you overcome danger and maybe even help motivate you to overcome periods of stagnation and procrastination. Anger can and will certainly spur you into action. However, this anger must be controlled and directed in a productive way to help provide the impetus you need for positive and assertive action.