Wild? Livid? Or just plain miffed? What pushes your buttons, and more importantly, why?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           When was the last time you completely lost your rag?  Threw all of your toys out of your pram?  Had a proper hissy fit?  Maybe that’s just not you, maybe you did it quite recently.  How do you tend to express your anger?  It’s another one of those spectrums, isn’t it, with boiling over at one end and ice-cold rejection at the other?

Anger isn’t all bad though.  It’s a perfectly normal reaction.  It’s there to protect us on some occasions.  It can be cathartic: a good rant can make you feel powerful; getting it off your chest may make you feel better; it certainly lets others know how you feel; and then again…  How does it feel to be on the receiving end of someone’s anger, at either end of the spectrum?  Confusing?  Scary?  Frustrating?

Next time you catch yourself feeling irritated, cross or plain old furious, take a breath and ask yourself what’s really making you feel this way?  There are usually deeper reasons for anger than the emotion itself.  Maybe it’s because…

  • you can’t get your own way
  • someone or something has challenged your values or beliefs
  • you’re frightened (of what?)
  • it’s a conditioned piece of behaviour in response to a particular stimulus, ie someone has pushed your button (how did that button come to be there in the first place?)
  • you feel defensive (ask yourself why)
  • you feel threatened (ask yourself why)

At its extreme (negative) end, anger can be destructive, pervasive, unpleasant and lead to behaviour that is not appropriate.  As a positive force, it can be empowering, motivating and gets results.

The important part is that we’re honest enough with ourselves to know and recognise which is which in ourselves and others, and to manage it accordingly.

 

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About Marianna Beckwith