***This post is part of the “Beliefs and Anger” Series. Some parts of this series may make you uncomfortable. However, we are unable to truly change if our thoughts, beliefs, values, and decisions are never questioned. I know the topics of beliefs and anger are momentous, so each post is designed to help break down our anger emotions and what may be beneath our anger (i.e. beliefs), so we can collectively move forward. Each post may be read individually; however, reading all of them will give you greater insight into yourself and society. If you chose to read them in order, read them in the order they were posted (Congratulations America, We Have an Anger Epidemic is the first post).
Staying in the safe status quo is damaging to society and to you in the long term. Do you really want to stay where we are currently are, anyways?***
Anger becomes a detriment when it our first response to anything and everything. Always responding with anger to a perceived slight, a discussion, or a tweet limits our ability to move forward. Below are some ways in which anger can be a detriment to us. Some of these topics will be covered more in depth as the series continues.
Anger as a psychological weapon
Anger is a valid emotional response to many situations. But if we neglect to acknowledge and deal with our anger it has the potential to becomes an effective psychological weapon to be used against us, an individual, or group of people. When people who wish to do harm have a deep understanding of how anger impacts people, they employ ways to discredit or “help” people remain angry. Usually done with minimal effort on their part. Because when anger is the main emotion, people tend to forgot how to think and process rationally, thereby “giving up” up their own power to bring about change.
They Are Just Angry: People on the opposite side of an issue will use anger to dismiss their “opponents’ ” position. “They’re irrational.” “They’re just angry, they don’t have anything of value to contribute”, “We don’t need to listen to them.” “Cry babies!”
Group-think: When angry people get together and only want to feel their anger is justified, the members of the group reinforce each other’s anger to confirm their own shared position. When anger is the predominant mentality, there is no room to come up with any potential solutions for what is causing the anger. It is easier to gripe and complain instead of actively working on a solution. Because the group is not seeking solutions, anyone opposing the group just needs to reinforce what the group ‘should be’ angry about, and the group will effectively self-sabotage.
Internalized Anger: This may be a hard one to accept. When we internalize our anger, we unconsciously give others the upper hand to use our internalized anger against us. When we repeatedly tell ourselves something, or have something repeated told to us it becomes easier to believe it is true, even if our conscious mind disagrees.
Anger as a grudge
Anger towards someone unknown to you: When you remain angry at someone you don’t know personally, it depletes your energy and limits what you have the strength to control. When you don’t know someone personally, you can do very little, if anything, to change their behavior. Chances are they don’t even know or care that you are angry at them.
Anger towards someone known to you and who still in your life: When you stay angry at a person who is still in your life, you end up stifling the relationship and preventing it from growing in healthy ways. Relationships continually change; unresolved anger will negatively affect the growth of the relationship and may ultimately lead to a breakdown of the relationship.
Anger towards someone known to you and who is no longer in your life:
- Ex-friend, ex-partner, ex-teacher, ex-boss, estranged family member: When you stay angry at someone who is no longer in your life, you never allow yourself to determine if you still value a relationship with the person. Some relationships are meant to conclude, but others, like an old friendship or a relationship with an estranged family member, may warrant some deeper self-reflection about the value of the relationship in your life. Anger hinders the ability to see the value in a relationship with a specific person.
- Death: Remaining angry at a deceased person prevents you from living your life to the fullest. Anger is often part of the grief process, and it can be incredibly powerful to acknowledge your anger when you are grieving. But maintaining a lasting anger at the deceased depletes your energy and your ability to embrace living.
In all of these situations, by staying angry you are ultimately giving away your own power. You are allowing yourself to stay stuck in the experience(s) that caused the anger. Only you can decide if it is worth your time and energy to remain stuck in anger or to allow yourself to transform your anger into something productive for you, and maybe even productive for society at large.
Originally published at medium.com