Despite misconceptions, as discussed in Part 1, expressing anger is a choice between actions that are defensive in nature and thus increase distance between us, and actions that are effective in increasing our understanding of one another, and keeping communication lines open.
Just as the uses and benefits of lemons are more numerous and significant than most can imagine, so are the possibilities of anger, when expressed effectively, to clarify, spark and produce a deepening of our connections with self and other, and emotional intimacy.
Truth be told, the ability to handle (listen to, feel and express, etc.) anger effectively is essential in building strong, mutually enriching and mature relationships. And, because our brain is a relationship organ, our personal wellbeing is all about how we “do” relationships. In the words of top selling author and personal success expert Brian Tracy notes, “relationships are the hallmark of the mature person.”
To learn how to regulate and express anger effectively, however, like any thing else, it’s essential to better understand our anger, its potential benefits as a healthy emotion, its risks and potentially damaging impact.
Also like anger, lemons are balancing agents. They cleanse and set the pH in your body in balance. At the same time, they were never intended by nature to be digested as a main course.
The health benefits of lemons are many, in other words, if you know when and how much to use in proportion to other ingredients, and so on.
Similarly, anger is an emotion that activates, as an agent that helps you regulate and reset the balance of seemingly opposing inner strivings — to stay connected to your self and life around you — yet never meant to be overused as an emotion to hide or to hide behind.
And, it’s not a question of “if” you write (and continually rewrite) your story.
It’s rather about who – or what part of you – is doing most of the writing.
More specifically, will the primary author be your authentic wise-self or your wounded ego-self?
Does it matter? Yes! The former is mostly a conscious process you fully participate in, and the latter is mostly directed by your subconscious mind.
Though both seek to realize a sense of happiness within yourself and life, they each tell the story of your life and experiences quite differently. That’s because … each views the world from a totally different lens!
Safe to say, the inability to handle emotional distress is widespread enough to consider it a national pandemic.
The pandemic is connected to anxious ways we have learned to avoid, deny or strongly react to emotions that are uncomfortable or painful.
We learn these desperate ways of dealing with painful emotions in childhood and carry them into our relationships in adulthood. Whether our primary response to distress is a strategy that activates overwhelm, angry outbursts or emotional shutdown, all of these cause reactivity in us that unnecessarily activates our body’s survival system.
This pandemic is related to cultural mores that overall relegate painful emotions as signs of weaknesses, inferiority or defect that need to be fixed, ignored or even eliminated.
To complicate matters, some of these teachings consist of gender taboos; some emotions are considered unmanly for men to express, and other emotions too manly for women.