angerI grew up thinking anger was bad. If I ever got angry, my parents would send me to my room and close the door, instructing me not to come out until I had calmed down.

I fairly quickly learned not to express my anger directly.

As an adult, I found myself getting angry easily at little things. I would yell at tech support people, but never at people I actually cared about. Sometimes I would express my rage in dreams, waking up feeling somehow cleansed.

I often doubted my sanity because I felt angry so much of the time but did not know how to use it to any advantage.

Productive Anger

In more recent years, I have learned to express my anger more productively, and my previously pent up anger does not have much power. I’m discovering that most people can handle it when I express my anger to them! Not a single one of them has “sent me to my room.” In fact, many people take action when I express my anger that they might not have taken otherwise. They actually want to satisfy me!

Anger can be fuel for a project or a cause. It can lead to career and business success. It can be channeled into creative endeavors or physical challenges. And it can make a difference in relationships.

Anger Can Equal Caring

This week, I expressed my anger to a friend over the way he was not fighting for himself, and he had a huge revelation about his life and how he can choose a different way of acting and being.

I’ve heard it said that anger means you care. We are so quick to express anger to a child who starts crossing the street dangerously – we want to protect that child. But we often hold back when an adult is heading down a destructive path.

A scene in the movie Good Will Hunting epitomizes the use of anger to take a stand and make a difference for someone you care about when the person is not fulfilling his or her potential:

This is how I want to be with the people in my life. I want to care so much that I will threaten harm if they do not live big. I want to care so much that I order them to get their lives moving in the right direction, even if it’s at my own expense.

Who do you know who could be doing more with their lives? Their creativity? Their relationships? Their careers? Are you willing to step up and fight for them so they are inspired to fight for themselves? I hope Ben Affleck gives you the kick in the butt you need.

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