Understanding Anger: Part 2 – using anger positively.

As previously mentioned, anger is an emotion that tells us something is wrong and we must do something about it.

To use anger positively we need to respond to the cause of the anger, not to the anger itself. Let us look at possible responses to a situation that evoked anger:

Factitious story: An office executive tells his secretary that he needs a letter typed up by a certain time. He notices that she seems to be spending a lot of time on the telephone. The time that he needed the letter has passed and he becomes agitated. Now everything is irritating him and he become short tempered. Eventually he explodes when he almost trips a bit of carpet that got turned over. That his secretary is his wife did not help matters.

The problem here was that the executive did not respond when he first felt angry. Rather than assessing what was going wrong he tried to ignore it. He should have address the cause, that he needed the letter. He could have explained why he needed the letter by a certain time and have implemented checks. These checks could be in the form of ensuring his secretary understood the importance, had enough time and asking her if she needed any help. Most of the time we make assumptions and don’t communicate. His emotion of anger was the signal that he needed to take action.

Another example: In our everyday life we come across a situation where innocent children are being exploited for financial again. If we find anger rising up inside of us, we should take action. This may take the form of reporting the incident, lobbying, protesting or starting a campaign. Here anger is working positively to correct a wrong. We should not respond by taking justice into our own hands or with violence.

Anger is a very important human emotion, which we should not try to avoid. When understood and correctly processed, it challenges injustice and corrects wrongs. Without it we can become a doormat for abuse.

The Bible exhorts us to get rid of anger. This is achieved when we deal with cause of the wrong and injustice. When anger is selfish and revolves around personal ambition or ego, it is wrong.