Hi folks! This week, as we continue with Chapter Three of Rosenberg's book "Seconds to a Life You Love" I want to delve into an exploration of the feeling of anger. Rosenberg goes into extensive detail about the eight emotions, two of which we discussed last week. I highly recommend checking out her descriptions and deepening your understanding of these highly frequent emotions that make it to Rosenberg’s eight feelings list. However, my purpose here is to take what I have learned from the book and discuss the application and real-world implications these lessons have for us. Therefore, I want to talk about the often-taboo topic of anger and its intricate dance it plays in mine and many others lives.
First off, if you ever have the pleasure to meet me, you may be surprised to know that I have a very short temper, which I usually keep hidden from most people. It is something I have recently been working to understand. Why do I get triggered so fast? Rosenberg states, "[a]nger serves two primary functions. It is a protective response and facilitates social communication. You need to have it available as a way to respond to distress, harm, or pain. It is often elicited when you believe you have been wronged in a certain situation and where you also see yourself as morally right in the same situation" (pg. 58). I really like Rosenberg's explanation of anger as it shows the multifaceted way this emotion surfaces and why it does. Anger is a completely valid human emotion that can spur us to achieve great things, but it also has the power to tear down and hurt. I want us all to understand that anger doesn't have to be bad, just as Rosenberg says, "[a]nger never has to be explosive, wounding, or destructive"(pg. 59)."
In observing myself, I have noticed times when I am angry or frustrated and I become sarcastic, and I start to raise my voice. This initiates an aggressive stance, and when escalated, sarcasm can really hurt another person. Just as Rosenberg talks about in her book, I would never raise my voice or become overly sarcastic to a professor, co-worker, or another friend's parents. So the question remains: why do we act so differently when angry around some people than others? There is often a double standard, as Rosenberg discusses. We often feel safe, loved, and cared for by the people we get the angriest at. It is imperative to embrace and uphold the framework that, just like a boss, your partner, family member, or friend, doesnn't appreciate being
the one to face your frustration, and they sure don't have to stick around for it. Rosenberg’s frank reframe has helped me with my shorter temper. Knowing that yes, my family, friends, and romantic partners often love and care for me, however, they deserve the same respect as anyone else in my life, if not more and they don’t have an obligation to put up with mean remarks and comments. Anger is important and needs to be shared. But it needs to be shared in a constructive, non- aggressive manner, or issues will remain unresolved. I highly recommend that you review the complete list of Rosenberg's ways of "[m]odulating Your Anger"; in Chapter Three. A few strategies she lists that I have found useful include:” [a]cknowleding that how [I] manage [my] anger is a problem & [n]oticing [my] patterns of expression before they erupt” (pg 60).
Modulating our anger is such an important lesson because without being able to control our temper and have our voices heard in a constructive way, we cannot continue our journey to a life we wholly love and desire. Challenge: Reflect on a recent situation where you felt anger. How did you express it? Was it constructive or destructive? What could you have done differently to modulate your anger and express it in a more constructive manner? Share your thoughts with yourself and those closest to you.
Thanks so much for listening. I hope to see you all next week as we venture into Chapter Four.
Madison is a Psychology Assistant; Digital Marketing Assistant at Eckert Centre. She is a university student majoring in psychology at the University of British Columbia. She is our blogger in residence, and we are grateful she is sharing her writing skills along with her mental health journey. May her young wisdom help all of us grow our “Wise Self.” For more information or to book an appointment, visit www.eckertcentre.com or email our team at info@eckert- psychology.com
Rosenberg, Joan I. 90 Seconds to a Life You Love: How to Master Your Difficult Feelings to Cultivate Lasting... Confidence, Resilience, and Authenticity. Little Brown Spark, 2020. Apple Books, https://books.apple.com/us/book/90-seconds-to-a-life-you-love/id1466751090.