Anger is one of life’s most powerful emotions. Sadly, there is an overabundance of misinformation that can seriously impact a person’s relationships, happiness, and overall health. Consider the following:

Myth #1. It’s wrong to get angry. Anger is a bad emotion.

Truth: All emotions are normal and have a purpose. They provide necessary insights into one’s self by revealing core values, personal issues, expectations, and judgments of ourselves, others, and life. Deciphering the hidden message behind the anger provides greater awareness of the individual coupled with the ability to resolve deeper issues. Anger is a messenger. How we convey and use it defines its value.

Myth #2. It’s better to express anger than suppress it.

Truth: This is a double-edged sword. Suppressing anger can prove detrimental, leading to resentment, bitterness, deceit in relationships, health issues, and an absence of joy in life. Ordinarily it is not wise to express anger at the precise moment it emerges. Individuals need to calm down and carefully evaluate the situation, determining the best course of action. If necessary, thoughtfully express your concerns at a later date.

Myth #3. You can’t help the way you feel.

Truth: Actually, our thoughts create our feelings. Think in detail of someone you intensely dislike. Pay attention to your emotions. Are you angry, disgusted, resentful? Now, think about one quality of the person that you admire. Notice how your judgmental feelings are replaced with gentler ones. You are not powerless to your emotions. Choose your thoughts – choose your feelings. Change your thoughts – change your feelings. It’s that simple. Anger is a choice.

Myth #4. Other people/things make you angry.

Truth: All outside stimuli (people or events) are triggers, not causes. When they do not meet our expectations, we become upset. Be cognizant of the demands you place on yourself and those around you. Unrealistic or unfair expectations lead to disappointment, hurt, or frustration, which are root causes of anger. Readjusting one’s expectations to that which is more reasonable alleviates potential anger from manifesting.

Myth #5. Anger is hereditary.

Truth: Anger is a learned behavior. Believing it is inherited is a means of circumventing responsibility for one’s attitude, behaviors, and subsequent consequences. Remember, anything that is learned can be unlearned. With innovative knowledge and effective skills, anyone can exchange anger for understanding and acceptance.

Myth #6. People with anger issues become physically or verbally aggressive; the lack of hostility indicates an absence of anger.

Truth: Not so. Aggression is a more apparent form than other expressions of anger. Sarcasm, sabotage, ignoring, subtle insults, and stubbornness are some less obvious examples.

Anger is a normal, healthy, useful, and necessary emotion. Acknowledge it when it arises, uncover the root of what’s bothering you, heal those issues, and the anger will dissipate. When utilized appropriately, anger can yield positive benefits for you and those around you. Choose your emotions wisely, for they direct the course of your entire life.

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