Don’t Get Angry, Get Better
An empathetic perspective on challenging emotions
“FINE” I slammed my car door and started the engine. This always happens. I sped out of the apartment complex into the night.
I often respond to my anger this way, slamming doors and storming off to seethe. But in all of the times I’ve lost my temper and gotten angry, I’ve never once felt good about it afterwards. I always regret it.
Anger isn’t a “bad” emotion. Emotions themselves aren’t good or bad, they’re simply emotions. I struggle with that, but understanding that feels like a key to self acceptance, which is one of my goals.
However, responding to emotions is a choice, and there are bad responses, even with neutral emotions. It’s okay to feel anger, but to act in anger? That is rarely the solution.
How much more harmful are the consequences of anger than the circumstances that aroused them in us? — Marcus Aurelius
Instead of acting out of anger with violence or aggression, act with intent. Anger can provide intense energy, so focus that into a productive outlet. Angry your boss gave that promotion to someone else? Learn a new professional skill, set up a system that improved your productivity, set reminders to build professional networking and relationships into your work routine.
Angry about injustice? Don’t just rant on social media and move on. Act on it. Educate yourself and others, raise money for a charity that helps that cause, volunteer for a nonprofit that works in this space.
We live in a world that encourages anger. Headlines are meant to arouse strong emotions. The news is full of outrageous statements. Social media is just the highlights of people being angry.
Anger is all around us, and our world thrives on it. But our world suffers from it. And so do I.
Instead of responding in anger, I want to respond to anger. Respond with intention, love, and calm. I know this will make me better. Will it for you?
Joel Sigrist is a writer, sports analyst, and media creator exploring several fields. Visit Joel’s website joelsigrist.com to find out more.