The case for yelling

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Now that Sara is at home much of the week taking care of Owen, I’ve wondered whether she’s a bit surprised and alarmed at how often she hears this shouted loudly in anger from my home office downstairs. No, not everyday. But enough. When the health insurance people on the phone are being particularly incompetent. When I lose 45 minutes of writing because a file didn’t save as it should have. When it feels like there’s just too much work and I can’t possibly keep track of it all and another task gets put on my plate.

Don’t get me wrong. Cursing and yelling at people, in my view, is a form of violence. Words definitely can hurt. And I avoid it whenever humanly possible.

But more and more, I am allowing myself these little ourbursts of rage, these shouts of anger at no one in particular. Several years ago I would have thought of this as some sort of moral failing or sign of weakness. We should all be able to control our emotions and be perfectly calm and even-keeled at all times, right?

Now I see it as a healthy release of anger. Rather than suck it up, push it down, and let it fester, I acknowledge that my anger is real, feel it, let it out, and let it go. By the time the room has gone silent, I’m almost always feeling better and ready to move on.

I know for me occasional anger is an inevitable part of my life experience. I am not able to be calm and even keeled at all times. Sometimes I feel anger. It’s inevitable. And it might even be a good thing, a sign that my emotions are working.

In the past, too often I’ve either repressed my anger or projected it on to other people, blaming them and making them responsible for whatever I might be feeling. It has not ended well. It makes me miserable and damages my relationship. More and more, I believe the most conscious way to handle my anger is to acknowledge it, let it run through my body, find someway to express it out of my system, and be done with it.

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