Most people tell us to control our anger, manage it, and not let anger control us or dictate what we do.
I advocate the opposite. Use anger as a guiding star.
When we feel angry, something inside us wants to explode. Something that cannot be described inside us twists and tosses, and we feel even angrier.
A few years back, when I was angry, I sponged it up. I did not show it, I smiled and went about my way, collecting anger like antique valuables to be exhibited in a museum one day.
These last few years, with my depression, my anger went out of control. I threw my fiancé’s shoes out of the cupboard and kicked them out the door. I tore down his suits and threw them on to the balcony. I smashed books and broke glasses. I threw tantrum after tantrum, storming around the apartment in a rage.
As I worked with my psychologist to understand my anger, I realized that while the manifestation of my anger was different, the underlying reasons were similar.
This brings me to a fundamental point: anger is only the surface emotion; there is always at least one other emotion underneath the anger that is the real emotion we are feeling.
However, anger, given its explosive nature, usually crowds out whatever we are feeling inside. Thus, we end up calming ourselves down from the anger, and yet never process the actual emotion that is troubling us.
In my case, I was not angry. Rather, I was frustrated at the bureaucracy in the office. I felt misunderstood by my fiancé. I felt dismissed by editors. I read some blog posts and found the writing poor and wondered why articles as such could be published. I was disappointed my article was not chosen. I was sad that my friend committed suicide. I was worried about my future after the corporate life.
These were the real emotions troubling me. Identifying these emotions meant I could finally decipher the reasons behind and confront the issues.
Anger was a pointer for me. It told me something happened, something made me feel bad, there was something I disliked.
There is no need to act out the anger like I did with my tantrums, but actions are required to change the situation that caused our negative emotions, masked by anger.
Anger is fuel, a motivation for us to change our surroundings, our actions, our behaviours and our perspectives.
Let anger guide you to understand yourself – and channel that energy into self-development.
Raised in Hong Kong and Australia, Noch Noch was a young, overachieving executive for an international corporation, working and living in the world’s most premier cities. After seven years of living the life she dreamt of, or so she thought, she suffered a serious episode of stress-related depression that turned her life upside down. As she battles with depression, Noch Noch is on a quest to be the wake up call for others in similar plights. She jots down her reflections on living with depression and self-awareness at “Be Me. Be Natural.” and recently started Bearapy, a creative therapy project.
Photo credit: ‘Anger‘ from Big Stock