You’re mad. So quit pretending you’re not. Because there’s something — maybe many things — that are making you angry at any given moment. But you’re not sure what to do with your anger. So you hide it. Which isn’t doing you, or anyone else much good. So in this brief article, we’re going to take a close look at how to identify your anger — and how to deal with it.


Don’t try to hide it.

That’s the first step. When you’re mad, don’t hide it. Even though some of the people around you may be uncomfortable with your anger. Even though you’re uncomfortable with your anger, too. So even when you and the people around you are tempted to shush your anger, don’t. Instead, make a plan to deal with it, and carry through with your plan.

You’re mad for a reason.

After all, you’re mad for a reason. There is something eating at you. Some reason why you’re angry. So please do this, now. Stop. Because if you’ll just stop for a moment and ask yourself, “What am I so mad about?” chances are good that you won’t have an answer right away. Because your anger is buried pretty deep. But the fact is — if you’ll ask yourself the question, then you’ll get the question moving around in your head. So ask the question now — and let it simmer. Give yourself room to reach for the reason why you’re mad.

So face it.

Because the longer you run from your anger, the more it will control you. And don’t get me wrong. Anger makes you feel powerful. But haven’t you noticed how anger comes out sideways, spilling where it doesn’t belong? And you don’t have to wait for a heart attack or for a serious personal infraction to address what’s really wrong. In fact, the sooner you face your anger and allow yourself to get to know it, the sooner you’ll be on your way to becoming a more powerful man — through emotional intelligence.

And be smart.

Because hey — I know you’re a smart guy. But you’re not as emotionally intelligent as you could be. Case in point: how you deal with anger. So please watch this brief TED talk, and then come right back for the Takeaway.

The takeaway.

Did you notice how the speaker, Susan David, talked about emotional rigidity? And how she contrasted that with emotional agility — and linked emotional agility with courage? Leading to the question: how can I become more emotionally agile and courageous?

So please do this.

  • Admit that you’re mad.
  • And ask yourself why you’re mad.
  • Then take a blank piece of paper and write about your anger. And tell the truth, like no-one is reading. And after you’ve written, read your writing and ask, “What is this anger telling me?” Because the anger is not you, as in, “I’m angry.” No. You are not the anger. The anger is there to tell you something important, so you can choose what to do about it.
  • And as you show up authentically with your anger in this way, you may begin to notice a new feeling of genuine power that will allow you to move past your denial, which up to this point has been making you emotionally rigid.
  • Recognize that it’s not “good” or “bad” to be angry, so you don’t get stuck faking it in false positivity, because denying anger only makes it bigger, and more in control of you — robbing you of the real power you need to choose your life.
  • And now, begin to move toward “emotional agility,” where instead of trying to feel what you “should” feel, you can open yourself up to what you actually feel. Because chances are good that behind your anger is fear. So remember that in order to face the fear behind your anger, you need courage. And what is courage? Here’s what courage is not: courage is not the absence of fear. Instead, courage is “fear walking,” which means that even when you’re afraid, you keep moving forward.
  • And then, finally, take a concrete step toward seeing yourself — human — and have compassion for yourself, so that you can address what is making you mad.

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