What You’ll Learn Today:
- The crucial difference between anger, rage and resentment
- How focusing on anger is often a mistake; you really need to focus on a different emotion
Is anger a positive or a negative emotion? OK, that’s actually a trick question. Emotions aren’t positive or negative. If you think of them this way you’ll get yourself into trouble because you’ll try to chase the “positive” ones (happiness, love and pleasure) and avoid the “negative” ones (anger, anxiety and sadness).
Instead, I want you to think of emotions as either being healthy, and moving you forward, or unhealthy and keeping you stuck.
Anger itself is actually a healthy emotion. Anger is often very motivating. You know, like when you think your butt is looking too big so you get pissed and get yourself to the gym or if you’re upset about the latest political campaign and it motivates you to start working the polls.
The problem is that a lot of people think they’re experiencing anger, but what they’re really experiencing is either resentment or rage, and those are unhealthy emotions.
Let me take a minute to talk about both of those feelings. Let’s start with resentment:
Resentment is all about old anger. Remember what “re” means at the beginning of a word? It means “again.” Re-sentment literally means sensing or feeling something again. If you came in with the groceries that very first time and no one offered to help, you wouldn’t be happy about it, but you wouldn’t be seething all day about it either. The problem is that there have been many times when no one offered to help you – it could have been with the groceries or something else entirely. This time that you came in with the groceries and no one offered to help is reminding you of a previous time no one offered to help. This is how resentment builds.
Now, there’s also rage. There’s a special equation for rage. Rage equals anger plus helplessness. It’s the combination that’s the problem, not the anger on its own. It’s the same with resentment. It’s that feeling that “nothing will ever change,” or “no matter what I say s/he still X.” It’s a feeling of helplessness and hopelessness.
Feelings of anger come and go. Rage and resentment stay with you all day. A lot of clients come to me and say they have an anger problem. In the past, they were told to do things like “counting to ten” and “breathing through their feelings.”
They end up with me, because this doesn’t work. It didn’t work because they were focusing on the wrong thing. They were focusing on the anger or resentment, instead of on the helplessness.
If you want to feel better and really change how you feel, you need to move your attention to the helpless feeling you’re experiencing.
As luck (or years of therapy) would have it, there’s actually a quick and very effective way to stop feeling helpless: Taking Action. If you want to stop feeling helpless, you need to take some action. No matter how small the step, if you just do one thing, you’ll start to feel different. You’ll start to feel empowered.
In the end, the most important thing you can remember is that you feel the way you think. Let me say that again: You feel, the way you think. This means that if you want to stop feeling angry (or helpless), you need to change what you think or believe about whatever it is that’s getting you so upset.
To accomplish this, I’m going to teach you one of my all-time favorite tools today that will absolutely help you to shift from angry or enraged to calm (and maybe only a little annoyed since that will pass). It’s not about seeing the world through rose-colored glasses, but it is about seeing the world through a different lens.
This Magical tool is called Rational Emotive Therapy or RET for short and it was created by a brilliant man named, Albert Ellis.
He created RET and a tool called the ABCD format which works amazingly well to disrupt anger and change our thinking so we can feel more compassionate, patient and calm. Here is the link to this awesome tool, or fill out the form below.