More dangerous than greed or desire or power, anger is the single most destructive force an individual can experience. It is a poison that damages first on impact and lingers until all of the joy and vitality is sucked out of a life.
Everyone gets angry on occasion. The imperfect, entropic nature of life makes that inevitable.
It’s normal to get angry when you are wronged or disappointed. Or stuck in traffic. It’s near impossible to have to put up with the frustrations and accumulated annoyances of modern society and not, from time to time, feel somewhat aggravated.
An occasional outburst of emotion only means that you care enough about a goal that it bothers you when something obstructs it.
But when you allow anger to fester and become malignant, it makes you and all the people around you its victim. Holding onto that pain turns it into a vicious emotional toxin. You start holding grudges against people you feel have slighted you. You become bitter and unpleasant.
The brunt of your rage will find a target in those closest to you – your friends, your family, your colleagues. And you’ll end up alone with only that pent up hate to keep you occupied.
There is a purpose to anger. Futile and damaging as it is, it has evolved in us for a reason.
Know how to utilise your anger – know how to work it to your advantage – and you hugely lessen the risk of it killing you.
LET IT TELL YOU WHAT’S WRONG
If something is consistently infuriating you, try to work out why. Look for the specific thing that gets to you. You might learn something very important about yourself – about your values. Once you’ve found it, you can fix it, or avoid it. Don’t just ignore it, don’t let it grate at you until it ruins you.
LET IT TELL YOU WHAT’S RIGHT
If something has the power to upset you over and over again, that’s a sign that it’s affecting something you really care about. Look for that thing that you love enough to fret about. You might learn something more important still. Take a moment, when you’re calmer, to be thankful that you have things and people that mean that much to you.
LET IT FUEL YOU
When you struggle to find the motivation to do anything about what’s getting you down, anger can provide you with the energy you need. When you’re on the brink of giving up, it can be a driving force of infinite value. If you can use it wisely.
DIVERT IT SOMEWHERE POSITIVE
Whatever it is that has got to you has piqued a very powerful emotion. See if you can funnel that power into something productive or creative or restorative. Try to change the circumstance that you have wound you up – not just for yourself, but for others who may face them. Make something beautiful out of whatever hurt you: Pick up the glittering shards of a broken thing and put them back together the way you wish they could have been in the first place.
Anger is like a valuable but unstable natural resource. It can be used to propel you through rough terrain, but can far more easily explode without warning. Use it when you have the need, but don’t let it pollute you.