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Episode 38: The Gifts of Anger

Many of us label various emotions as "good" and "bad." Joy is "good" and anger or sadness are "bad." In this short episode, I share how I realized that I judged anger as "bad" and what I learned to value in it.


[00:00:00] A few years ago, I was talking to a friend of mine about emotions. At the time, I was really not hyper-aware of my emotions the way I am now. I didn't really understand what I was feeling.

[00:00:17] It was pre-cancer and pre- me basically analyzing my feelings and understanding what they were. And she said, "I think you have a problem with anger."

[00:00:29] And I was like, "what are you talking about? I don't have a problem with anger. I'm not angry." And she said, "I don't mean you have a problem with anger, as in you can't control your anger. I mean, you have a problem with anger as and you don't find it to be an acceptable emotion."

[00:00:48] And I was like, *whoa.* Because she was 100% right. She told me, that her personality is such that she feels fine being angry, and she could be angry all day long and she'd be fine with it.

[00:01:05] But for me, I felt like it wasn't "nice" to be angry and that I guess . . . it kind of scared me. And I felt a lack of control around my anger. And I thought that if I allowed my anger out, that it would be destructive.

[00:01:25] I want to share with you today that that was a real problem for me. It really *was* an issue that needed addressing because I recognized that my daughter's anger would stress me out, that my partner's anger would stress me out. I didn't like it. It was a problem. I think part of that was a fear that once you unleash anger, it will be destructive, it will make problems in your life, it will scare other people.

[00:02:07] After years of coming to terms with my own anger, I realized that it actually can be a pretty amazing emotion. Because it can be a catalyst for change. It can be the thing that you *need* in order to move forward. It can be the culmination of years of frustration. It only becomes a problem when you stuff it down, and it explodes at the wrong person.

[00:02:42] Feeling your anger and working through it can be one of the most helpful things that you can do for your own health, because it's not healthy for your body to keep anger inside. Anger can be one of the things that you most find most useful in moving forward with your decisions in life. Because if something is making you angry, and you really honor that, and you ask yourself why you're feeling this way, it can help you make the right decision moving forward.

[00:03:19] So try your absolute hardest not to label any emotions as being "bad." Anger is not bad. Sadness is not bad. These feelings, these emotions are all there to inform you about your life and about your decisions and about the things that are going on in your life. And when you allow them to inform you, you end up making better choices for your own life.