Self-improvement primarily focuses on one or more of three specific parts: body, mind and spirit. We know that exercise is optimal for physical health, and that meditation aligns the spiritual and mental self. There is much information on the importance of rest and relaxation in the hustle and bustle of our world today. And it is well known that negative emotions contribute to disease and depression.
But what about the positive facets of negative emotions – anger, for example – and how can we use them as a means of personal empowerment? Anger can be abusive, demeaning, and at times violent, but there is also anger that serves a purpose and brings insight into our character and the character of our fellow man.
When you witness injustice or mistreatment, a reactive anger can motivate you to help change the situation; this is the force behind righteous anger. It inspires you to uphold your principles and values. It's what our presidents have used to empower troops before going to war, instilling in them hope and bravery. If you're being treated as less than equal and not getting what you deserve, righteous anger encourages you to stand firm in your beliefs. It motivates you to find solutions instead of unconsciously being caught up in your anger.
Self-righteous anger, on the other hand, is the ego at its worst. It stems from a feeling of superiority with no purpose other than to degrade and demean. It's impulsive, and often backed with rage. Abusers are often addicted to their rage; peace is not imperative for their existence. They use their anger to physically and psychologically harm their victim. The results are potentially disastrous, with the victim suffering a lifelong litany of mental health issues, such as anxiety, depression, suicidal ideations and PTSD.
Constructive anger can be beneficial in our love lives, although it takes honing in on self-awareness to find a healthy balance. Are you angry at your spouse because dinner isn't ready and you're starving, or are you still annoyed from a bad day at the office?
Misdirected anger is a melting pot of dysfunction. It's unconscious behavior that is more about the person expressing it than the problem presenting itself. To discover what the true culprit of your anger is, it's recommended you step away from the situation before adding insult to injury. Removing yourself from the situation allows you to gain insight into the obstacles at hand.
Suppressing annoyance is just as volatile as mindlessly expressing it. It's your responsibility to yourself to develop constructive ways of communication. There are efficient ways to cope with anger, from listening to music, mediation techniques, calling on a friend to listen and even prayer. It's crucial to learn how your anger not only affects those around you, but how it affects your own well-being.
Self-improvement starts with the self, so notice the next time something sets you off. Replace indignation with introspection, and you'll learn how anger can serve you instead of you being its servant.