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Using anger to your benefit

Examining the effect anger has on you
Christopher Furlong/Getty Images

Have you ever had a moment when you became so angry you felt you could punch a wall (or maybe you actually did punch that wall)? If so, what do you remember of your behavior or thoughts after that blow up? In reviewing it, do you see where you could have harnessed the fire that came with that anger and converted it to push you through a situation—a breakup, the motivation to look for another job, that final straw that made you realize you needed to clean up your act, or an opportunity to finally speak up for yourself? If so, then you were lucky enough to realize that there is something more to anger than the instant wall that comes up and you know that something better than stewing can be done with that energy.

An issue occurs, words are spoken, and you begin to feel your temperature rise. Or, words are exchanged and as you re-think the scenario, you begin to realize that the exchange was unjust. Once you reach that point of feeling wronged, there are a couple of ways to go. One is to tell the person off and then possibly regret the words later because they came from a defensive standpoint.

The second path that can be taken is to try and keep cool for those pivotal first few moments and determine why the exchange has made you angry. Why did your initial reaction translate to anger? Was an accusation made which was a blatant lie? Did the comment hit a nerve? Is the point something that you have been aware of and ignoring and your insecurities were rattled? Was it said to strike back to intentionally hurt your feelings and, if so, does considering the source shed any clarity on the occurrence?

If you come to realize that the occurrence rang your anger bell because of issues within yourself, take the time to trace the roots of why this is, why you have avoided the issue at hand, and what can be done about your feelings or the issue.

If you find that you genuinely became upset from the behavior or ill-intent of the other person, then it becomes your decision whether to address the situation with the offending individual, sever ties, or move on and get past the hurt feelings.

Instead of getting stuck in anger, use that energy to fuel your road to self-discovery, whether the discovery directly relates to yourself, or your relationship with others.

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