I'd be hard-pressed to find someone who never got angry. Even Jesus expressed anger while here in the physical world. Not all anger is obvious nor acknowledged. Passive/aggressive anger, for instance, can go undetected by those experiencing or receiving it. Sarcasm, sabotage, ignoring someone, so-called constructive criticism are all forms of covert anger.
Some view anger as powerful; others consider it evil or wrong. But like all emotions, anger is very important and necessary. Feelings are nothing more than messengers: they let us know how we perceive external situations, the value we place on them, and their importance in our lives. They reveal issues, beliefs, and truths within us that we may or may not be aware of. They are in essence our most valuable teachers.
For instance: If a coworker comments that I look as though I've gained weight and I become offended, that could be an indication that I am sensitive about my body image or worried about my health. If on the other hand, I respond good naturedly with, "Yeah, I had a feast on our cruise! Time to hit the gym!" it's clear that I am comfortable with who I am. Either way, I've learned how I feel about myself in relation to weight and body image.
Anger, in its simplest form, is a sign that there are unmet needs. And defining our needs is critical, for if I don't know what I am seeking how can I acquire it? I get cranky (not nasty) when I'm tired which suggests that I need sleep. As long as that is available to me I'm fine. But if I'm deprived I run the risk of being snarky with whoever is closest to me.
There is a significant difference between what I need and what I want. The number of wants far outweigh needs, of which there are only a few basic ones. Needs are absolutely essential for our well-being and survival. I need fresh drinking water, clean air to breathe, healthy food, protection of harm; I need love and human contact. Everything else is pretty much a desire rather than an essential. A woman who attended a workshop of mine years ago stated that she was angry because she needed a new Mercedes but couldn't afford it. I reminded her that what she really needed was a safe and reliable method of transportation and other vehicles were capable of providing that. What she preferred was a car that was out of her price range. This distinction helped her to decrease her anger and replace it with gratitude that she could easily purchase an adequate car.
Here's are some key questions to consider when anger arises:
First: what is it that I need?
Second: are my needs fair and realistic, at this time, in the way I desire, under my present circumstances, with all those involved?
Third: if they are, what steps must I take to secure my necessities?
Fourth: if they are unrealistic, how can I readjust my thinking to be comfortable with my current circumstances?
Like all emotions, we need anger. It reveals what matters to us and to what extent; it alerts us to the fact that, by our standards, something is wrong. Its purpose is to motivate us to bring about positive change. People who are outraged over the despicable treatment of our veterans view public policy and programs as seriously insufficient and offensive to those who have given so much to our country. If we felt complacent we would do nothing to improve upon the situation. "That which you accept you will never change." But those who feel enraged are more likely to take action, guaranteeing our service men and women receive their rightful care and services.
Anger is meant to motivate us to make positive changes in our lives. It's never intended to hurt any living creature or damage property. It is a powerful emotion that propels us into action: the more passionate we are about an issue the more enraged we become and the more energy we direct towards correcting an injustice.
One need not fear anger, deny it or judge those who experience it. When it arrives in the inbox of your mind, open it, read it, and decipher its message. Then determine where it belongs: do you label it with a red flag for priority and address it, or classify it spam and delete it? Put everything into perspective and handle accordingly. Anger really is your ally.
Proverbs 14:29 Whoever is slow to anger has great understanding but he who has a hasty temper exalts folly.
Proverbs 19:11 Good sense makes one slow to anger and it is his glory to overlook an offense.
Janet Pfeiffer, international inspirational speaker and award-winning author has appeared on CNN, Lifetime, ABC News, The 700 Club, NBC News, Fox News, The Harvest Show, Celebration, TruTV and many others. She’s been a guest on over 100 top radio shows (including Fox News Radio), is a contributor to Ebru Today TV and hosts her own radio show, Anger 911, on www.Anger911.net and Between You and God (iHeartRadio.com).
Janet's spoken at the United Nations, Notre Dame University, was a keynote speaker for the YWCA National Week Without Violence Campaign, and is a past board member for the World Addiction Foundation.
She's a former columnist for the Daily Record and contributing writer to Woman’s World Magazine, Living Solo, Prime Woman Magazine, and N.J. Family. Her name has appeared in print more than 100 million times, including The Wall Street Journal, Huffington Post, Alaska Business Monthly and more than 50 other publications.
A consultant to corporations including AT&T, U.S. Army, U.S. Postal Service, and Hoffman-LaRoche, Janet is N.J. State certified in domestic violence, an instructor at a battered women's shelter, and founder of The Antidote to Anger Group. She specializes in healing anger and conflict and creating inner peace and writes a weekly blog and bi-monthly newsletter.
Janet has authored 8 books, including the highly acclaimed The Secret Side of Anger (endorsed by NY Times bestselling author, Dr. Bernie Siegel).
Read what Marci Shimoff, New York Times bestselling author, says of Janet's latest book, The Great Truth; Shattering Life's Most Insidious Lies That Sabotage Your Happiness Along With the Revelation of Life's Sole Purpose:
"Janet dispels the lies and misconceptions many people have lived by and outlines a practical path to an extraordinary life beyond suffering. Written with honesty, clarity, sincerity, and humor, this book serves as a wonderful guide for anyone seeking a more enriching and fulfilling life.”
Dr. Bernie Siegel says, "All books of wisdom are meant to be read more than once. The Great Truth is one such book."