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When we talk about living healthy lives, we often hear about taking vitamins, eating well, and working out, but we rarely talk about managing anger. Few things do as much physical and spiritual damage to us as anger. On a physical level, it can cause high blood pressure, anxiety, heart issues, and other health problems, and it can be even more harmful on a spiritual level.
The first step in eliminating anger from our lives is understanding the very nature of anger. There are lots of misconceptions about what it is and how to best manage it. Here’s a look at 5 common myths about getting mad:
Myth #1: Angry people can’t change. We tend to believe people are defined by their emotions. We might think, “he’s an angry person” or “I’m a sad person.” We label ourselves as though our feelings are unchanging and fundamental to who we are.When we judge ourselves this way, we start to believe we can’t overcome those aspects of our character.
In truth, there’s no such thing as an “angry person.” You can learn to control and change your emotions with practice and guidance. While it is nearly impossible to completely remove anger all the time, you can at least limit the amount of time you hold on to it. It is absolutely possible and within your control, but you must first believe it. You are not defined by your anger!
Myth #2: Blowing up will make you feel better. We all have moments where we vent or let out steam as a way to relieve our anger. We might even let the anger build up until we explode. It feels good at the time but can actually feel worse afterward.
It’s important to talk about our feelings and express ourselves in a healthy way, but when we come from a place of pure anger, we choose to focus on the negative, adding fuel to the fire. The outburst gives us temporary relief at the expense of long-term happiness.
When you feel angry, the path to feeling better is not by raging but by finding the good in the situation. Remember, there is a hidden lesson in every obstacle. Look for it through the lens of kindness and consciousness. The more you practice this, the easier it becomes.
Myth #3: Anger will go away if you ignore it. Where does our anger stem from? If you dig deep enough, you will find that anger is almost always a mask for another deeper emotion. We might lash out at a loved one for not doing the laundry because we actually were hurt by a comment they made about our appearance earlier that day. We might not even realize that we’re doing it! It’s easier to be angry sometimes than to address the real feelings of fear and hurt and to be more vulnerable.
Anger is almost never the complete truth. It is a symptom of something deeper underlying. Until you address the root cause, the anger will not magically go away. Take time to unpack what is really going on inside. If you still feel angry, there’s something you have not uncovered or dealt with. When things get under your skin, try digging a little deeper.
Myth #4: When you’re mad, you’re in control. Just like we use anger to mask our pain, we also use it as a way to feel powerful. When we get angry, we think we are standing up for ourselves, advocating for our beliefs, and passionately speaking out for what’s right, even if we later feel bad about what we said or regret our actions.
Too often, we get angry because things don’t go the way we think they should – that person shouldn’t have said that, this shouldn’t have happened, this obstacle shouldn’t be in my life. When we feel helpless, we use anger to gain control over a situation, but it is a false sense of control. By giving into anger, we actually give up our freedom and become a slave to our emotions.
Instead of resisting these curveballs, embrace them as gifts from the Creator. Everything that comes into our lives is for our benefit, whether we understand why or not. The more you live with this mentality, the quicker you will learn to limit the anger you feel.
Myth #5: Other people are the source of your anger. When something sets us off, we often fall into a victim mentality. “That person is keeping me from being happy,” “that situation is pushing my buttons,” “those people get under my skin.” We put the onus on other people and situations as the cause of our anger and remove any responsibility we have for our own feelings and actions. We believe our anger is justified.
In truth, we have control over our emotions, more than we even know. We each possess the ability to direct and redirect our consciousness to choose a different emotion. We always have a choice to stay in a place of anger or to move on, even if it is a difficult choice to make.
Anger is an often misunderstood emotion. It is a powerful emotion and an issue that even the most spiritual people struggle with. It can be destructive, but it can also be a powerful motivator for change, showing us the areas we need to work on within ourselves. We are not meant to be perfect. We all have moments of anger. But the more we practice diminishing our anger through emotional intelligence, the happier and more fulfilling our lives become.