What Angry People Teach You About Peace
I grew up holding in anger… for so many reasons.
“Good” girls didn’t get angry.
“Nice” girls didn’t explode.
Anger seemed like something that only out-of-control people did. What nobody taught me then was this:
What you hold in MUST come out.
Maybe it’ll come out at you or maybe at somebody else but, eventually, the things you suppress explode… and then it’s a bad scene for everyone involved.
So, at some point in my twenties, I stopped holding in my anger. Instead, I started to tell people how I felt… exactly when I felt that way… and that was quite a mess too.
Imagine people being used to a nicer, softer, very agreeable “you” and, then all of a sudden (at least to them), one day, you get up and finally speak what you feel. Well, the reception wasn’t warm… and the collateral damage was massive. I started to get the “Are you okay?” question from people as if me finally standing my ground and setting boundaries meant I’d virtually lost my mind.
And so I come full circle at this point because I’m learning a few things about anger (and angry people) in my thirties that I’d forgotten somewhere along the way.
1. Being angry doesn’t make you an angry person.
Anger is normal. It’s an emotion. It’s meant to be felt, understood and released. Not feeling anger (or pretending that you don’t) is not going to make the anger go away. As Robert Frost put it, “The only way out is through.” You have to feel it to heal it…
2. Angry people enjoy the power their anger gives them.
When you find a person who lives in a constant state of anger, know this about that person: they enjoy their anger. To them, living in a state of rage gives them power. They feel empowered to speak their mind. They feel brave enough to confront situations. They feel vindicated every time they get to tell someone off or vent to another person. What they don’t realize, however, is that the anger is controlling them (they aren’t controlling the anger).
3. Angry people inflict more pain on themselves than they do on others.
No matter how mad a person gets at someone else, their anger is twice as strong at themselves. Inner anger shows up differently. When pointed at other people, anger looks like confrontation and rage. When pointed at yourself, it looks and feels like depression.
4. Angry people offer you the supreme opportunity to choose peace.
The biggest and best thing about anger is that it offers us the opportunity to choose peace. When you’re angry with someone else, you are now being offered the opportunity to exhibit compassion, forgiveness and letting go.
FINAL POINT: Every experience of anger is a call for peace. Choose peace…
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Kassandra Vaughn is an author, writer’s coach and podcaster originally from Danbury, Connecticut. She holds a B.A. in Sociology from Vassar College, an MBA in Human Resource Management from Auburn University, and an M.Ed in Instructional Design from Western Governors University. She lives in the beautiful state of Utah.