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Constructive Anger

Earlier this week it snowed quite a bit in my area, and the company who did the snow plowing did a horrible job. In the process of cleaning the streets, they dumped a bunch of extra snow across everyone’s driveway multiple times, resulting in a lot of additional work for the residents. I was angry, though not the bad type; yes, there is a good type of angry as well, a constructive anger. I could have gone outside yelling and screaming at the workers, and I would have probably been ignored. Instead, like my neighbors, I just went out and shoveled. I used my anger to me to power through the extra shoveling, and when it was all over instead of feeling bitter I felt accomplished.

Anger is usually associated with negativity, and in many instances it is a negative experience; I know because I have received and doled it out a few times myself. Years ago, I used to be the bad type of angry. It was never the sort of anger that made me want to hit things, just yell and drop the “duck” bomb often (damn it spellcheck, doesn’t it know I never mean duck? ?), but still, it wasn’t constructive. What I learned from both types of anger is that most of the time I felt like crap, but when I chose to be a good type of angry, I felt better in the long run. Besides, the bad anger usually helps in making bad decisions.

Think about an athlete who just lost a big match, about the anger and disappointment he must feel. I think that the best athletes would take that anger and channel it into more practice, learning from their mistakes and ultimately become better; a constructive anger. That is what I have learned to do with my anger. In cases where I find myself agitated, I try to reflect on the situation and grow from it. Maybe I did not give clear direction, so what I wanted wasn’t delivered; or perhaps I didn’t understand the directions that were given to me and I should have asked for clarification. Maybe the other person was going through a rough patch and I should have considered being in their shoes. It can be a challenge, but I find motivation in learning, being better and obtaining a positive outcome, a healthier outcome.

The current environment and the recent winter storm have certainly left us feeling many emotions, including anger. How are you channeling that anger? Are you dropping “duck” bombs with no positive actions?  Or are you dropping the bombs, getting it out of your system and doing something positive with your frustration? What are you learning from your constructive anger?

If you are finding yourself struggling to be a good type of angry these days, let me know. Maybe we can work through it together.

“If you are patient in one moment of anger, you will escape a hundred days of sorrow.”-  Chinese Proverb

Have a great weekend,