Welcome to part two of my six part series where each week we will talk about the upside of what are generally referred to as negative emotions. These are emotions that are uncomfortable, that we attempt to deny and avoid at all costs. Yet as humans we cannot live in a state of constant bliss. And believe it or not, these negative emotions, in moderation, can actually be positive, they serve a purpose and have a function. So we are going to explore these various emotions rather than run and hide under the covers.
Last week, we talked about sadness. Now let’s talk about anger.
Anger can lead to assertiveness. When we believe we are being undervalued or taken advantage of, our anger can facilitate our speaking out, expressing our needs, and often prompting others to rethink their views. Anger can help us assert our worth and avoid being exploited
Anger is beneficial to our relationships. Oddly enough couples that argue (appropriately!) within their first year of marriage have been shown to have a lower divorce rate than those that do not argue. Why…because they are actually addressing difficulties rather than sweeping them under the rug and withdrawing.
Anger can drive social progress, alerting us to wrongdoing and injustice. Parents speaking out against their child being bullied at school, LGBTQ advocates protesting for equal rights…all fuel social change.
Anger motivates us to work towards our goals. If we feel that it was unjust that we did not get that promotion, our anger can drive us to work harder towards achieving that next step.
“Anybody can become angry – that is easy, but to be angry with the right person and to the right degree and at the right time and for the right purpose and in the right way – that is not within everybody’s power and is not easy.” Aristotle