Anger is, really, just another emotion. Here’s what you can learn from it.
One thing I struggled with when our son was deployed was my anger. Some days I didn’t need a specific reason, I just felt angry. Sometimes I got mad at specific things: I was angry our son had chosen to be a Marine, angry that he had to go to war and angry at God for the whole stinking mess.
Not some of my best moments.
I learned a lot about myself and about God through this struggle with anger:
1) Go deeper and look at the root cause of feelings.
So often I found I was angry because I was scared. Once I identified the foundation, I was able to begin to deal with my emotions more constructively.
2) Take an honest look at expectations.
Many of the things I had assumed about life, circumstances, even myself, turned out to be unreasonable. Evaluating what I assumed helped me adjust.
3) Take your anger to God.
Getting mad also carries the underlying emotions of embarrassment and shame. I was ashamed I wasn’t coping better and my first reaction after lashing out was to run and hide. Neither of which was productive. Instead, I spent time in prayer and reading the Bible, asking God for His perspective on the situation. He was always there when I turned to Him.
4) Look beyond yourself.
Anger is generally a self-centered emotion. When I stopped focusing on myself and looked for ways to help those around me, my anger dissipated.
5) Anger isn’t a sin.
It’s what I do with that anger that can get me into trouble. Emotions simply are. They’re not always fun, but they don’t have to be destructive either.
So now when I just feel angry, I look back at what the lessons I learned during deployment to help me refocus and cope with what’s going on around me.