You would be surprised if you could ask your anger what it really means.
If anger were sitting next to you when you got cut off on the road, what would it say? If anger were on a conference call with you when you tried to cancel your cable service, what would its message be? If anger were online with you as you tried to enter or exit a site that just wouldn’t cooperate, what would it really mean?
Anger means: “You feel powerless.”
You feel that you have no “juice,” no sway, and no ability to change the situation.
Consider how marginally true that is. How rare it is that you literally can do nothing.
What anger says is that you don’t fully understand your choices. That something is unexpected or continually perplexing, and you don’t have a repertoire of responses ready.
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That’s all. You are never really powerless. You always have options.
But anger is what I call a “weaponized” emotion. It’s ballistic. Like fear, worry, self-doubt and even boredom, anger destroys your clarity. These emotions put an embargo on your access to your personal intelligence. That is, you can’t call on your inner wisdom, self-acceptance and clear-eyed-optimism.
It’s like those key qualities of a self-fulfilling life have been blown up, like a bridge that’s been wired with explosives. It’s a bridge that takes you from where you are to where you want to be. And, anger blows up the central, connecting pathway.
That’s why anger is actually a great signal to laser focus on what you want. And, make the decision to avoid a death match with the source. This means:
- Avoid the bully
- Research alternatives
- Know where the exits are
- Take pride in standing down from battle
If anger says you feel powerless, you won’t be angry for very long. Because there is always a choice, and you have the power to choose.
This story originally appeared on Personal Branding Blog