How often do you get angry? Do you know what sets you off? Today, let’s explore the topic of the relationship between anger and self-esteem.
Do you remember what you were taught about anger when you were growing up? Were you taught that it was unacceptable to feel angry? Did you learn to suppress angry feelings and stuff them down inside? Or were you taught, perhaps by example, that it was OK to explode with anger and attack others, verbally or physically? Or were you fortunate enough to learn that while it’s OK to feel angry, it’s not OK to hurt others, and it’s not OK to blame them for how you feel?
If you were taught to take responsibility for your emotions, to communicate feelings calmly and clearly, and to value both your own and other people’s rights, you probably don’t have much trouble with anger.
Now the reason we just asked you what you were taught, while you were growing up, is that anger very seldom has anything to do with what is happening right now, because there are so many other ways to respond. Anger is triggered, and the trigger usually has something to do with the past.
People with high self-esteem aren’t interested in blaming others for things that go wrong. Instead, they accept accountability for their lives and know that if things outside them are to change, they must first change internally.
For people with high self-esteem, change in themselves or in others isn’t threatening to them. They embrace change because they believe they can handle it. So, if you find yourself feeling a lot of anger, perhaps some introspection will help define the root of the anger, and then a little work on your self-esteem is in order.
To start, picture yourself reacting to a situation without anger. What does it look like?