ANGER (Part 4): The 3 options that people use while handling anger.
In part one of the above great health topic, we discussed what anger meant and the general causes of anger. In part two, we looked at both the dangers and values of getting angry. In the 3rd part of it, we analyzed 10 things or behaviors that can make someone chronically angry if not checked and balanced out and in today’s part, we want to understand the best options in handling anger by analyzing the available 3 options as provided in the book, getting the best of your anger before it gets the best of you, by Dr. Les Carter. We have already discovered that anger is naturally part of us and we must use it lest it uses us. For this reason, today is your day to choose how to use it by studying well the 3 options available.
Option 1: suppress it.
To suppress is to stop something from showing up by force as cited by the Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary. When we suppress anger, we pretend that we are not angry. Some people fear to reveal that they are angry and end up suppressing it. Usually, this may be necessary to save some situations but the challenge is that we never get time to review back our anger and do something else about it other than suppression. The suppressed anger goes nowhere; it just moves from our conscious mind to the subconscious part and anytime can come back but this time not under our direct control which is ultimately dangerous. The church, the society and other virtues in our communities have had influence on this by teaching us not to be angry. So when people get angry, they feel it is a sin and out of order and try by all means to hide such an emotion.
What is clear is that this option is very important in our daily moves because we really need not show that we are angry to everyone and everywhere. For example, you need not reveal that you are angry when you are in middle of a party or church celebrations or in meeting and other places where anger expression could do more harm than good. The task is to remember that you suppressed anger and something else other than that has to be done. Anger suppression is a dangerous way of dealing with anger because it exposes us to anger bursts when we lose control over it. You are likely gonna hurt someone either by body harm or abusive language and killings if suppressed anger bursts out. This is not a good option to deal with anger to both Christians and non-Christians though it is an integral part as you move to the most reliable option. From this, we can agree that it can be helpful if used well at the right time and dropped when its use is done but it is not easy to determine this. Thus, for some, it may be safer to never suppress anger.
Option 2: Express it.
Oh yeah, we are living in the days when people are free to express how they feel. Social media, communication systems and human rights promotion have all made it easy for anyone to express what he or she feels about whatever is happening. Actually, there is no longer privacy in anything. Bed matters are being discussed on television and radio and social platforms like face book. This option is good though not the best. Yeah, it is quite fair to express and say where it hurts but this would be better if people did it in a proper way. What do I mean? As you know, some of the ways in which we express our anger are so destroying and worsen the situations more than any other options. You have watched express anger to their lovers in public or in market and bars and end up making headlines in news. You all remember the maid who expressed her anger by torturing a toddler she was left with. And you all know how much has happened to the country, our homes and to individuals all in the name of expressing our anger. Don’t you know experiences where women sleep with shamba boys as a way of expressing their anger to their husbands?
Dr. Carter shares with us the two ways of expressing our anger (assertive and aggressive means). According to his explanations, when we assertively express our anger we stand up firmly for our convictions but in a manner that the other person’s dignity. Yeah, we complain about what is making us angry but consider the other person’s feelings too. This needs control. We can decide to pull a person out of the party before we can say all we want to say, we can try to listen to someone as he explains why he had to treat us the way he did and other considerations that bear a sense of calmness and respect for others. When we aggressively express our anger, we don’t care about the other party but only about our own convictions. It is not our concern if the other person is in the middle of crowd or church congregation or has other problems that made him treat us the way he did. Our only goal is to state how hurt we are in the strongest way we can.
That is why I stressed that suppression of anger may be necessary to save some situations before we can move on to another option like the one in question. When someone steps on you in the church, you can’t stand up in burning anger and throw him to the wall. It may be wise to suppress it and then do something else after. When your lover annoys you in front of visitors, you may decide to swallow it and keep quiet until the visitors leave and express it or do something else appropriately. So while Dr. Carter didn’t add such an insight on suppressed anger, I feel it is very important to know when to suppress anger too. You can only be in position to express anger assertively with enough control if you are able to suppress it in its fresh stages when it is likely dangerous to express it.
Option 3: Release it.
To release is to let go. It is to dismiss anger out your mind and move on. This is the best option though the hardest. We release anger only when we look at it and find no reasons to be angry. For example, if a person steps on you during the dance, you have all the reasons to be angry but later you have to dismiss it and move on. Even there are people who will always behave in an opposing way no matter how much you try to complain or correct them. What do you finally do? You may decide to let go and move on since you can’t change anything. Have you ever lived with a drunkard? At first, you get mad at his deeds and abuses but time comes and you learn to let go. Even in household, some things about your wife or husband may never change and you will have to learn to let go and never get bothered.
The art of releasing anger is not easy and it includes many concepts to master it. For example, the concept of Christianity, forgiveness, and the work of grace are all important to master this. It needs sitting down, reviewing your anger and its causes and consciously forming up better reasons why anger is not necessary and deciding to let go. It needs an expanded heart of forgiveness and true meaning of grace in your life since you will have to forgive your offenders before you let go. And since some offenders won’t deserve your forgiveness, then the value of grace comes in which is uneasy to most people. Also, if applied wrongly this option can leave you vulnerable and exposed to exploiters of grace and forgiveness. For those who have read the article, not every good action carries blessings; you understand the dangers of this option.
You may end up getting angry to none or nothing. You may end up in a position where you no longer express anger or fight for any rights. But if used well and appropriately, this is the best option that will save you headaches, time, trouble and hurting. I really don’t know how to explain when and where to apply any of the mentioned options but I hope the examples that I have used will vividly bring to you a picture of experiences or instances where each of the options best fits.