Anger. What is anger? Is it an emotion that fills us with hatred? With a blind sense of rage? Possibly, but not necessarily. There are countless articles, memes, and posts on LinkedIn pushing the narrative that anger is an unhealthy emotion, that it leads to violence and a pessimistic view of the world. I’m not going to refute or debate any of these suggestions, because ultimately they are all true in some capacity.
However, the knee-jerk assumption is that anger is always bad – that angry people are simply negative beings and therefore no good for the greater society. Angry people contribute nothing. They are poisonous and toxic. They must be avoided at all cost. I take exception to this surface evaluation. What’s lost in the narrative is the difference between perpetual anger and some fleeting negative emotion.
I must confess. I myself can be an angry soul from time to time – perhaps even childish and petulant in my tantrums. I have no problem admitting that I’m human… that I wear my heart on my sleeve. There are countless things that piss me off in life, but that doesn’t mean I should be locked in a cage or forgotten. The difference is that my rage is temporary – driven by some external source or stimuli. Eventually, the feelings dissipate. Like anyone, I have moments of frustration or disappointment. If I should lash out and kick a fire hydrant, well it’s my own bloody fault if my toe gets broken. Shame on me!
…And that’s just it… What do we do with our wrath? I’ve always tried to channel my passing moments into something more productive, such as poetry or art – a timely article that points out injustice or some other social bullshit nonsense. None of us are cut from the same cloth. We all have differing viewpoints and realities. Most of us are quite humble in our moments of rage. We have productive ways in which to diffuse the bomb… something that brings us back into balance with the universe.
I’m quite happy for those who have mastered the art of zen. Perhaps they should bottle it up and sell it to the rest of us angry simpletons.
Honestly. What would you rather have – someone who uses their brain to unlock the roots of their misery, or someone who throws bricks, smashes private property, or burns down their local CVS Pharmacy? If we all acted on our negative impulses to destroy and hurt our fellow man, then we may as well have no society to live in at all. That’s what wars are for, and that’s a completely different article for a different rainy day…
If only someone would take the time to ask, What’s wrong?
Yes, anger is a turnoff. It is a part of the human condition we wish we could avoid. It is a natural response to something we find unfavorable. It does not mean the person who is experiencing anger deserves counseling or therapy – some do, some don’t. In fact, I’d say some level of anger is probably quite healthy. It flushes out problems into the forefront, demands attention, problem-solving, proves you have a pulse and that you care deeply about something. In many instances, there are consequences or byproducts of anger that lead to a much better situation. If only someone would take the time to ask, What’s wrong?
Yup. Just two simple words – What’s wrong? Isn’t this where compassion begins – by eliminating the source of someone else’s misery? By helping them climb in from that dangerous ledge? There are always reasons for anger. Every single human being must learn to live with, cope with, and deal with the confusion of its very existence. Nobody escapes life without tasting this sour emotion. It is nothing less than a vital part of our chemistry, our humanity, and our personal identity. How often we deal with and experience anger is the variable. How we react and how we treat others in our rampage will likely determine how willing others are to reach out that helping hand.
It’s a tough nut to crack, but I’d much rather pick someone’s brain who is angry, to help them find a solution to their problem, to get to the roots of their dilemma – not just ignore them and disregard their agony. That’s awful. It’s a far more interesting concept than locking someone up and throwing away the key, yet that seems to be the surface remedy so frequently posted here on social media… especially from compassionate experts… Just get rid of the angry person because it’s too much work to understand their pain. That’s nice.
What scares me worse than someone who is angry, is someone who lives in perpetual bliss – someone who believes that Cloud Nine is going to save us all. They wave their hands at reality and fail to acknowledge the rust growing on their sword. Indeed, La-La Land is just as frightening – if not more so than a person who has a thorn in their side. So instead of throwing anger into a deep dark hole, let’s try to remember our own moments of discord and recognize where their misery is coming from. You never know if your open ear might lead to a positive ray of light in that person’s bleak and cloudy outlook. Thank you for reading…