How Do You Handle Anger?

“Anger creates identity. Through it we are known.” The Voice of the Heart (Chip Dodd)

In my experience, anger has been destructive. Aside from two angry parents and a very angry brother, I’ve had my own struggles with anger. I’m a yeller. I have yelled at the sometimes deserving, like my husband, although he would probably disagree, and the undeserving, like a youngster. I have slammed doors and phones, pushed things off tables and desks, and blown the car horn probably beyond what was necessary. In the moment, I usually felt powerful and justified, but later I often felt much shame and guilt. So, through it all, to believe that anger is something to be treasured is like telling me the moon is really made of cheese.

Chip Dodd says that anger is a gift, probably one of the most important gifts we have: “In truth, anger is possibly the most important feeling we experience as emotional and spiritual beings because it is the first step to authentic living. It shows our yearning and hunger for life.”

Don’t gifts usually bring pleasure to others? I dare say that my anger has brought pleasure to anyone and most assuredly not to the giver: me. I have regretted angry outbursts…so much so that whatever I demanded be changed, I have recanted and gone back to living the scenario that made me angry in the first place or worse have been too quick to apologize.

So anger has been a rather frightening, troublesome emotion both as a receiver and a giver of this “important feeling.” I haven’t felt any real satisfaction in my “hunger for life” nor have I felt any closer to an “authentic self.” What about you? How do you handle anger in your life? On a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being really bothered by your own anger and 1 being not so much, where do you fall on this continuum and why?

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