Thursday, March 5, 2015

Is anger okay?

I've often heard it said that men are allowed anger as an emotion, and women are allowed sadness. Men aren't supposed to be sad or cry. And women aren't supposed to be angry.

We know that isn't fair either to men or to women. We need to be allowed the full range of emotions. Having the emotion—feeling it—is neutral. How any of us chooses to express it is another matter, and that's true whether we're male or female. We need to find appropriate ways to do so—ways that aren't hurtful to others.

It makes far more sense to me that we be real, honest and authentic about what we're feeling. Stuffing our emotions down isn't healthy; generally, they come out in some fairly inappropriate and hurtful ways. Release of emotions is important.

Take anger. It has enormous energy and can sometimes be used to provide fuel to move forward. The anger I had following my divorce gave me energy to move, find a job and carry on with my life at a time when I didn't think I could do any of those things, for example.

However, there came a time when that anger became a ball-and-chain and definitely needed to be released. That's when I journaled, wrote letters I never sent, sought counseling and found many other ways to let go of the anger. But I couldn't let it go until I'd felt it—and in that case, even used it as fuel (in ways that didn't hurt others). It's all a matter of knowing how to express the emotion appropriately and when it's time to let it go.

What do you think?

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