Anger is generally a signal that indicates that you or somebody is being treated unfairly or being harmed. Once angered, it does no good to dwell in the hell of repeatedly going over the betrayal or wrongdoing that has occurred.
You need to deal with your anger or it will consume you.
There is plenty of unfairness and personal injury in life to make us angry. Therefore, we serve ourselves best by paying attention to anger and taking the following steps rather than falling in the pit of obsessive brooding:
1. Understand the motivation of the perpetrator.
Understanding does not mean accepting harmful behavior. The behavior may have been caused inadvertently, by unfortunate circumstances, or a by personality deficiency (selfishness, envy, greed.) Making sense of wrong-doing is not easy, but when we do so, we move out of the position of being a victim. Understanding the motivations of the perpetrator frees us of some of the toxicity of festering rage.
2. Change your expectations of the wrong-doer.
Anger should push us to change what we expect of particular people. Most people have weaknesses and we need to become more aware of the signs of various weaknesses. Anger can signal us to pay attention and tune into similar circumstances in the future.
3. Act so as to avoid further harm.
The disappointments that trigger anger should not leave us bitter. Instead learning about people and life should cause us to grow and become better prepared to navigate through life’s challenges.
4. Focus on other more fulfilling, life-enhancing activities.
When we focus exclusively on how we’ve been harmed, indignation festers and grows. Once we’ve taken to heart the lessons of our experience, we can free ourselves from torment by embracing more enriching friends, activities, and ideas.
Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned.
by Alison Poulsen, PhD