"Where there is anger, there is always pain underneath."
ANGRY ~ that is how I am feeling this morning. I remember learning about this powerful emotion as a psychology major in college. One professor in particular delved into the topic regularly in his counselling courses. His message, engrained into my memory, was that anger is a secondary emotion. In order to address the anger, you've got to dig much deeper to the initial emotion ~ hurt, loss, refection, fear, and so on.
I must follow this sage advice today if I want to find a healthy approach to what can otherwise turn toxic. Why am I angry? What feeling came before the anger? What are the circumstances, and is my reaction appropriate to the situation?
I think we are given an unhealthy message if we are told to not be angry. Anger is a God-given emotion. I have read through my Bible many times, and I know based on what I read, that God got angry. Jesus got angry. And we are wired to be angered, too.
So the question is, why am I angry, and what am I going to do about it? Ephesians 4:26 says, "Go ahead and be angry. You do well to be angry ~ but don't use your anger as fuel for revenge. And don't stay angry. Don't go to bed angry." (The Message) This tells me we aren't supposed to suppress it. But we aren't supposed to nurse it either. I think we are wise to own the anger, then find a healthy way to address it once we realize its origin.
This is hard for me. I am a suppressor. My nature is to stuff negative emotions and avoid conflict. I'd much rather be the peacemaker. But here I sit, unable to move past the raw emotions. I don't want to go into detail about what got me so mad. This isn't about airing dirty laundry.
Here's my lesson for today ~ and by "my lesson", it's what I need to learn here. If you can glean something too, that's all the better. I know why I am mad. I feel hurt and overlooked by the person who means the most to me. And ironically, it'a all over a fence! A literal fence is putting up fences between my hubby and me.
Once again I see that it all comes down to choices. I have made my feelings of anger clear, but through my tone and my cold attitude. It's time to own up to my side of the conflict and respond in a healthier way. It begins with communicating clearly how I feel and why. Then let it go. And move on.
This is so hard! Even harder when I open up to others about it. But it's okay. Because I want to live my life respectfully...of others, and of myself.
"Anger is just anger. It isn't good. It isn't bad. It just is. What you do with it is what matters. It's like anything else. You can use it to build or to destroy. You just have to make the choice."
"Do not teach your children never to be angry; teach them how to be angry."
"Never go to bed mad. Stay up and fight."
"Don't be quick to fly off the handle. Anger boomerangs. You can spot a fool by the lumps on his head."
~Ecclesiastes 7:9 (The Message)
"A gentle response defuses anger, but a sharp tongue kindles a temper-fire."
~Proverbs 15:1 (The Message)