Ep: 14: Don’t hate on anger

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Could your anger be telling you something? We tend to think of anger as a bad emotion and something to be avoided.

But anger can be an indicator of what’s not working for you.

You can learn from your anger and use it to discover what you need to work on.

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Full transcript 👇

Ep 14: Don't hate on anger

Hi I’m Lori Miller and this is your Mental Health Moment.

Anger gets a bad rap.

Most of us are taught early on that anger is a bad emotion and should be avoided.

So we learn to feel guilty about being angry or we look at it as some kind of character flaw.

First of all, please understand that anger isn’t a bad emotion.

There are no bad emotions, just healthy or unhealthy ones.

Thinking about it like this removes some of the character shaming that comes from labeling things as good or bad.

Because if we think of our emotions as good or bad, we might be tempted to think of ourselves, the owners of those emotions, as good or bad.

If we listen to our anger, we may find valuable data to discover what we need to work on.

Anger is known as a hard emotion.

It covers and protects softer emotions. Softer emotions are things like fear, vulnerability, hurt, and disappointment.

It’s easier to be ticked off and angry than to admit you’re hurt and scared, right? Because that means you’re out there with no protection and you can be hurt even more.

And then what do you do with that hurt?

Anger is simply an indicator of what we’re not getting.

Think about the last time you got angry at someone who cut you off in traffic. Did you get really upset?

Why did you get so enraged at a perfect stranger, someone you’ll never see again and who has nothing invested in your life?

Think about it.

What would have happened if they’d hit your car and caused you to spin out? And what if you suffered a traumatic injury because of it?

That total stranger’s actions would have kept you from your goal — arriving safely at your destination.

We get angry at people because their actions are blocking us from our goal.

  • We get angry at a spouse who cheats because they’re blocking us from our goal of a healthy marriage and a strong family.
  • We get angry at an abusive parent because they’re blocking us from the unconditional love and acceptance we thought we were supposed to get.
  • We get angry at our boss because their actions may very well keep us from advancing in our careers.

So breaking free from all that anger really isn’t the goal. Without anger it would be hard to know what’s bothering us.

Instead, we can use anger as a measuring stick for our pain and ask ourselves some real questions.

  • Should I leave?
  • Should I forgive?
  • Should I set some boundaries?
  • What’s really going on here?

Anger isn’t a character flaw.

It can be a diagnostic tool to help you discover a way forward in some very difficult situations.

For articles and videos about stress and mental health, visit my website at Lorimiller.me.

 

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