While we tend to blame when something bothers us, the choice to be angry or not is up to us. Anger is an emotion that resides within us
Last update: Augusts 02, 2020
Anger is that old friend that can transform us into different people in seconds. That's why dealing with it is not easy. There are those who express it as he feels it; others, on the other hand, repress it or disguise it with pleasant words; finally, some turn it into another emotion.
To speak of anger means to speak of a complex emotion that requires a profound revision and inner reflection. How many of us have caught ourselves raising our voices on certain occasions or do we know someone who has overreacted to a nonsense? Other times, we will surely have been reprimanded by parents, partners, employers or friends for doing something wrong. But what lies behind the anger?
Some argue that expressing your anger is positive, because you have to get rid of all the "uncomfortable" emotions to find serenity. But is it really so? Do we really have to vent what we have inside as it happens? To get to know anger better, we will analyze it in all its aspects because it is not always what it seems. Read on to learn more!
What is anger?
In general we experience this feeling when someone intentionally offends our personal identity, when we have the impression of suffering humiliation. It is not just a matter of not having fulfilled a certain purpose, but at the base there must be at least the feeling of having suffered an insult or an injury.
We can also experience it when we witness some form of social injustice. If we walk down the street and see a parent mistreating their child, we feel anger or great indignation.
Anyone can get angry: this is easy; but getting angry with the right person, and in the right degree, and at the right time, and for the right purpose, and in the right way: this is not within anyone's power and it is not easy.
Maybe you know someone who gets really angry when the printer doesn't work, for example. It may seem strange, but even then a process of humiliation occurs. What do you mean? So many people are so negative that they see anything as a personal attack. If the printer does not work, they may think: "life is making fun of me and makes me understand it by not making the printer work".
We easily realize, therefore, that we do not necessarily need an external physical agent capable of subjecting us to humiliation, our interpretation of the situation in question is enough to make us angry. This is a very important aspect because it shifts the attention to ourselves: do others annoy us or are we the ones who annoy us?
I was angry
We somehow claim to safeguard or increase our self-esteem. When we perceive a possible threat to our ego, our response may be anger at the situation.
If we get angry when someone honks while we are driving, it is usually because we think they are berating us for the way we drive. Consequently, the thought that our way of being and acting is not the correct one poses a threat to our identity.
The Greek philosopher Aristotle argued that "not resenting offenses is a cowardly and slave man". This leads to a rather simple and obvious justification for anger. Is it worth it to react in this way to an insult? Sometimes we invest too much energy in things that don't deserve the slightest effort.
Once the disciples of Buddha approached him and, worried, asked him: “Master, wherever we go they laugh at us and insult us. How is it possible that this does not affect you in the slightest? ”. And Buddha replied: "The insult may even come out of them, but it never reaches me". This precious Buddhist teaching contrasts with Aristotle's thinking about cowardice. The first involves suffering, the second, peace and serenity. Which one do you prefer?
Wrath and action
In feeling our personal identity threatened, we manifest a great physiological activation that accompanies the tendency to attack the person we consider responsible for the offense suffered. The attack can be both physical and verbal. The answer will depend on our degree of control and how we interpret the situation.
If the person who offended us is our boss, our response may be lower performance at work. We know that an aggressive reaction could have far more serious consequences, such as being fired. In situations where we risk endangering an aspect of our life, we choose to take less direct action.
Once we have unloaded all our anger on someone, a particular emotion can emerge: guilt. When everything returns to tranquility, we feel guilty because we realize we have crossed the line. In this sense, guilt acts in such a way as to prompt us to ask ourselves whether our behavior was the most suitable or not.
Finally, let's also spend a few words for those people who seem perpetually angry. In this case we could say that they have made anger a way of life. They have configured their mental models in such a way that they only react in an angry way. There are several questionnaires and tests to measure one's self-control and degree of anger.
How to deal with anger?
There is no better way to calm the wrath of diaphragmatic breathing than to think carefully about the situation or the person we hold responsible for the offense.
On several occasions, we react because we are full of expectations, because we had a bad day and even the slightest thing can trigger us emotionally. Understanding or at least evaluating the possibility that others may also have a bad day will help us understand their way of acting and not take things head-on.
If our employer treats us badly for something we have done, he could turn the same treatment to another employee, so we don't have to take it personally, but only as a way of reacting to the person who involved us at that moment.
While it may seem that others have control over our emotional states, the power of anger is in our hands. We decide whether to get angry or not. Leaving something as precious as our happiness in the hands of others is undoubtedly too high a price.
We invite you to see yourself as active agents in the face of an offense and not as passive agents who suffer and merely react. The power is in your hands.