Wednesday, December 23, 2009

The Misunderstood Emotion: Anger by Vincent Harris

Many people, over the years, have initially looked at me in dismay when I tell them “There are no ‘bad’ feelings; all feelings and emotions are useful in some context!” After all, most of us have been conditioned to think of emotions like anger, for example, as being “bad” and something to work at avoiding at all costs.

What is anger? What is its role? When we are angry, it’s that part of us that keeps track of things that we don’t have the resources to monitor consciously saying “I’m pretty sure what’s going on here is not fair!” Anger is an honest appraisal-in that moment- of the perceptions and pint of view you are using to filter the experience.

Now, keep in mind, anger is FEAR-based; whenever we are angry, we fear that the situation we think might be inequitable may also have the ability to cause us damage on some level. At times, our perception may be accurate; many times, though, it is not.

First, do not be afraid of your anger; be willing to feel it fully and to express yourself from this frame of mind in a useful way. Sometimes, however, before you can channel it in a useful way, you may need to channel it in a not so useful way first. Just have places you can safely do this.

When I am good and pissed about something, before I can channel it into something constructive (and I always do now) I want to “go off” and “rant” first. I don’t over analyze this; I just know what works for me. I don’t “rant” to just anybody, though. That can have a great deal of backlash; I “rant” to people who I know will still love me after I’m done, and know that it’s part of my process. When I’m done, I get my a*& in gear and channel all of that energy before it dissipates; never miss an opportunity to capture the untold energy behind a good dose of anger.

By the way, on a side not, my friend Kevin Hogan told me years ago, that as far as emotions are concerned, when people are angry they are in a very persuasive frame of mind. Why? Because when we are angry, we tend to be overly optimistic. What’s that mean for us when we are ticked off? It means that our usual “limitations” are suspended and that we can get more bang for the buck when we focus on our work.

When you are angered, realize that it’s based in fear, and later seek to discover what you are afraid of. If you truly find something that is a problem that is going to cause you harm, DO something about it ASAP! Remember, our perceptions are always involved in emotions.

Many people, when angered, suppress the anger and do so until their nervous system say’s “ENOUGH!” At this point, as a protective mechanism, they slide into depressed thoughts and feelings. I don’t know if you have noticed, or not, that feeling depressed is not the most productive state of mind and body in the world. Sure, you may avoid upsetting other people when you keep quiet and habitually suppress your anger, but the destruction you cause yourself is immeasurable.

Anger is like a raging river; you can either allow it to destroy everything in its path, or you can re-route it, and provide enough electricity for a major metropolitan area. To attempt to stop the flow of the river of the river altogether would be far less than intelligent, and very wasteful.

Over the years, I been around a fair share of personal development “gurus” and had a chance to get a behind the scenes look at how they live their lives. Believe me when I tell you that many who promote “love and peace” in every situation are some of the most unstable and incongruent people I have ever met. What you see, is not what you get with many of them.

Make no mistake about it, I get pissed off from time to time, and not only do I have no interest in changing this aspect of my personality, I sometimes worry that I’ll wake up one day and this “skill” will be gone. When I meet “gurus” who tell me “I never get mad”, I know I’m either dealing with a liar, or someone so flat and monotone that I’d have no interest in hanging out with them for more than about 20 minutes at a time.

Stop working so hard to change yourself. You can succeed just the way you are. Learn to take what you have, and use it to accomplish great things.

Vincent Harris
© Copyright 2009-Vincent Harris-All Rights Reserved.

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