In this article, I want to talk about a difficult subject: anger.
It seems to me that right now there is a lot of anger in our society.
I see it expressed on Facebook and other social media.
I see it on people’s faces and hear it in their voices when I watch the news.
It shows in the extreme political divisions that exists in our country.
It shows in the way people choose to express differing opinions on any number of subjects.
Now, anger in and of itself is not bad.
Anger, properly channeled, can lead us to take constructive action against injustice, racism,
inequality, or other wrongs.
But, unfortunately, anger is too often expressed in harmful, destructive ways. And it’s my
perception that this is often what happens when anger is a cover for other, less comfortable
Right now, Covid-19 has upended our world, our nation, and our lives on so many different levels – socially, economically, physically, emotionally.
And though eventually we will come through this, right now, how the virus is going to affect our
country going forward, and when and how this pandemic will end is uncertain. And that
uncertainty itself adds another layer of disruption because it makes plans and decisions about
the future much more difficult.
Grief is a natural reaction to such an unprecedented, drastic and sudden disruption of just about
every aspect of our lives.
And fear is a natural and normal reaction to something as widespread, dangerous and
potentially deadly as the Covid-19 virus, which at this writing, has sickened over 41⁄2 million
people in this country and killed over 152,000.
But it’s my observation that our society doesn’t teach people to deal with grief or fear very well.
Fear and grief are uncomfortable emotions for many people.
So those emotions are often hidden behind anger.
For me, both fear and grief make me feel powerless and out of control. So anger, for me, feels
much safer. When I am angry I feel more powerful and thus more in control. But sometimes, my
anger causes me to lash out at someone in an unhelpful or even hurtful way.
Now, it’s OK for me to be angry.
It is not OK for me to act in hurtful or harmful ways because of my anger.
So in those times when I am feeling what seems to me to be an unreasonable amount of anger
at someone or something, and that anger threatens to boil over in a harmful or hurtful way, I
have learned to stop and reflect on my anger, and ask myself what it might be hiding. And I often
find that helps me get beyond my anger to so that I can deal with what I am really feeling.
It’s not easy for me to do this, but it is necessary for me to do it for my mental, physical, and
Maybe some of you reading this find yourself struggling with anger right now.
If you do, it might be helpful to stop and take time for some self-reflection.
Don’t let your anger cause you to lash out at someone in a harmful or hurtful way.
Ask yourself, “Am I really angry, or is there another emotion hiding behind my anger that I need
to deal with?”
Take your anger to God in prayer and ask him to help you deal with what might be causing it, or
what other feeling it might be hiding.
Below is an excellent video interview with psychologist and best-selling author Brené Brown that I found helpful in understanding and coping with my feelings right now.
Take care and stay safe.
We are in this together.
Brené Brown: How to cope with grief, fear and anxiety during Corona