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DON'T SNOOZE THE ANGER ALARM!



Have you ever set up an alarm? It may be to get up early for a meeting, to catch a flight, maybe because you don't wanna miss your school picnic or college tour. We set alarms to notify us about something important.


What if I tell you that, we have an alarm system within us?

Yes, We have an inbuilt alarm system, and you'll be surprised to know that you always hear it ringing! It's called “The Emotions.” Our emotions are alarms that set off every time something is happening & it's important to us. When we get good news, the happy alarm rings, when we hear bad news, it's the sad alarm. Similarly, different alarms ring in different situations. Of all these alarms, one of the loudest ones is “Anger”.


WHEN DOES THIS ALARM NAMED “ANGER”, RING? 


Anger always rings (emerges) to tell you:

  • Some boundaries of your life are being crossed

  • Something is directed to you in an inappropriate way

  • Someone is pushing you over, without your permission

  • Something is not right or not how you would want it to be

  • Something needs to be changed

  • Something wrong is happening to you


When anger starts ringing (whenever we feel angry), we often hit the snooze button & suppress it. Sometimes we just suppress it because it might upset others around us. Most of the time, it's because we have been taught that this alarm is BAD! One should not have this alarm with them at all! We try to cover it with something else so that we do not have to listen to it. After all, isn't anger the root cause of all evil and problems? Not really. If you listen to it rather than snooze it, you’ll realize the anger alarm only goes off to tell us about something important. Most of the time we just don't know how to deal with this alarm once it goes off, so we leave it be. But at what cost?


STORY TIME!


Suppose you have an important meeting at 9 am, the next day. So you set an alarm for 7 am. The next morning your alarm rings at 7 am, but since you were in deep sleep & the ringing was disturbing you a lot, you snoozed it. It rang again after some time, you hit the snooze button again. After repeating it several times, you finally got up! Only to know that it's already 8:45 am & YOU'RE LATE!


Similarly, when we keep suppressing or ignoring our anger, we allow the wrong things to happen to us. Because it has been suppressed time after time, the anger keeps building up and by the time we finally realize it, it's TOO LATE! That's when we have anger outbursts. In order to avoid such outbursts, it's important that we listen to our anger & respond to it timely & appropriately.


DIFFERENCE BETWEEN EMOTION & EXPRESSION



The major reason that anger is treated as an unwanted emotion, is because of the response that comes next. We've seen people throwing things, engaging in physical violence, raised voice pitches, etc. maybe have also experienced it first-hand. What's important is to understand that the emotion “Anger” is not the problem. It's the “Expression” of that anger, which becomes the problem.


Different Ways of Expressing Anger:


  • Aggressive Anger: Aggressive anger is when someone lets their anger take control, often without considering the consequences. This type of anger often arises from a deep sense of insecurity or fear, leading individuals to believe that putting others down is the only way to protect themselves. This fear might come from things that happened in the past, like feeling rejected or not good enough. So, when people feel threatened, they might act aggressively to protect themselves. They might think that being mean to others is the only way to show they're in charge or to feel like they have some control over their lives. It's like putting up a tough front to hide how scared or vulnerable they really feel inside. Aggressive anger can look like shouting or yelling, physical aggression or violence, threats, etc. People expressing aggressive anger may harm others or themselves in the process.


  • Passive Anger:

Passive anger is less overt. Passive anger often comes from a deeply ingrained belief that prioritizes others' comfort over our own, even at the cost of our own happiness. It's like we're programmed to believe that making others comfortable is more important than addressing our own feelings. This sheds light on how societal pressures and our sense of self-worth influence how we express emotions. In simpler terms, it shows how we sometimes prioritize pleasing others over taking care of ourselves, leading to hidden resentment and unspoken frustrations that can unleash in unexpected ways. Passive anger can look like giving silent treatment, making sarcastic remarks, holding grudges, procrastination, avoiding, excessive criticism towards others, etc.


  • Assertive Anger:

Assertive anger involves expressing feelings in a calm, respectful manner. It is rooted in evidence-based strategies for effective communication and emotional regulation. Setting boundaries and communicating what's bothering you without aggression or suppression, helps individuals foster mutual respect and understanding in their interactions with others. Assertive anger expression helps in addressing the issue directly and communicating their feelings and needs, individuals create opportunities for constructive dialogue and mutual resolution.


The way we react to anger has been programmed, based on how we saw people around us deal with their anger. If we've seen people lashing out in anger, we tend to lash out. Similarly, if we've seen people suppress, we suppress our anger too. But if we communicate with our anger, understand what it is trying to tell us, its objective and understand how we can achieve that objective, we can learn to respond to it in a well-thought-out manner.


We can choose to respond in any of these ways based on the situation, but it can be a CHOICE rather than a learnt reaction. Remember, it's okay to feel angry, but how we choose to express it matters.


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