Over the past few days a lot of things have happened to make you angry. Maybe things didn’t go the way you wanted them to. Maybe things did go the way you wanted them to but other people didn’t respond well. Now you are angry. You are beyond angry. You are furious. You are livid. You are pissed (no, they don’t take away your pastor’s wife card for saying pissed). You are feeling more steam and pressure on the inside than you have ever felt in your entire life. Well, I have good news for you.
You have the right to be angry.
Yes, you heard me correctly. You have the right to feel every bit as angry as you feel. There is absolutely nothing wrong with feeling angry. It is a natural and normal feeling that you completely have the right to feel. Feeling angry doesn’t make you any less compassionate, any less loving, or any less of a good person. It makes you a normal human being. Normal human beings have a huge range of emotions and angry is just one of them.
We have five children in our family. All five of these children are rather dramatic (I have no idea where they would have gotten this trait from), rather loud, and all of them prefer things a certain way. This has given me a lot of experience with anger. Sometimes it’s “She’s wearing my shirt” anger and other times it’s “Doesn’t anyone knock” anger, and sometimes it’s even “Why can’t anyone seem to figure out how to fold towels in thirds” kind of anger. That last one may not so much actually be the children.
The point is that in a family with more than one or two people, you have to figure out how to deal with anger. We have some rules about anger that I think may help a few people out there. These rules may seem mostly logical, but let me remind you that people are rarely logical when they are angry. You may want to write them down to remember.
1 You have the right to feel angry. Don’t ever let anyone tell you that you don’t. Anyone who tries to tell you that you shouldn’t feel your emotions is trying to control you and should be avoided at all costs. Bottling up your emotions or worse, denying that they even exist is not healthy and can be downright dangerous.
2. You do not have the right to hurt others with your anger. Not with your words, not with your hands, not ever.
3. No one else should be forced to participate in your anger. In our house that means that if you are sputtering angry, you can go to your room or you can go for a walk, but you go and experience your anger all by yourself. When you are done being angry, you may rejoin the group and discuss your feelings rationally.
I’m going to pause here a moment to break some news to you. This may hurt a bit but I believe in being completely honest with you. I would like you to please sit down and prepare yourself. Are you ready? Here it goes.
Nobody else cares that you’re angry.
For some of you, this comes as a complete shock, I know. Take all the time you need to grieve.
Honestly, the only person who really cares that you are angry is your mommy. As a mommy, I can assure you that there is a pretty good chance that not even she cares. People only care about the effects of your anger. They are worried that they might have to suffer the consequences of your anger, and trust me, there is not a person on the planet who wants to suffer the consequences of your anger. People are only interested in their own angry feelings. If they seem to be interested in yours, they are actually just using you to fuel their own negative emotions.
Back to our list.
4. You do not get to call people stupid. Those people are not stupid. Nope, not even those people. To be perfectly honest with you there really isn’t much of a difference between your IQ and the person’s you are angry at. They are not stupid. You are just upset because they have not read the same book you read or have not attended that class that you attended or have had different life experiences than you have had. You do not get to call them stupid. When you are done being angry, you may calmly and politely share the book or the information from that class. Don’t be surprised if they then politely and calmly say “Thank you, but I do not care to change what I believe”. You then need to be okay with this. I promise you this. Your anger will never ever ever ever change someone’s beliefs. Unless you are trying to get them to believe that you are a scary angry person.
5. Do not get together with other angry people. This one is not so much a rule as really good advice. Nothing good ever results from angry people mobbing together. This is really difficult advice because as much as misery loves company, anger thrives on it. When you get really angry and you start talking to other angry people, you will not calm down. You will not think rationally. Love won’t have a chance of entering the conversation. Instead, you will end up doing or saying things that you will probably live to regret. Deeply. Instead, wait. Wait until you have calmed down enough to allow logic and love to enter the conversation. Once you can do that, all kinds of real solutions will come to you.
If you are angry, please know that I respect that. I would love to hear about your problems or your opinions once you have calmed down. Also, I just can’t wait to hear about all of the wonderful solutions you are going to come up with. You can also be angry for as long as you need to, but please, don’t get any on me. And, for your own sake, please don’t let your anger turn into hate. Everyone looses with hate.