Photo credit: Max Kukurudziak

There’s plenty in the world to be angry about. There is often plenty to be angry about in our own lives and relationships. Here’s a book that demonstrates how to get this emotion to work on our behalf.

The book The Dance of Anger by Dr. Harriet Lerner is a fantastic resource for anyone who suffers from negative emotion—especially if the suffering is excessive. Although she specifically focuses on anger, anger is absolutely connected to the other less fiery emotions like sadness and despondency.  This book is perfect for anyone who either suffers from angry outbursts, or chronically suppresses anger.  Neither is productive; neither is effective in asserting one’s needs. Although Dr. Lerner doesn’t connect anger with chronic sadness exactly– I do.  Without anger, the effective assertiveness of oneself, sadness emerges if the anger is lacking or suppressed regularly.

The book is geared specifically towards women, but I think it’s perfect for anyone.  We all have ineffective and sometimes immature way of expressing healthy, appropriate needs.

The book is on Audible, for those of you like me who listen to books.

After a great introductory chapter, Dr. Lerner explores the anger dysfunction of one couple or set of people in each chapter.  You just might see yourself represented in at least one of these chapters!  The underlying lesson is that a healthy relationship with our own anger will inevitably affect all of our relationships for the better. I suggest practicing small, with one less heavy relationship in your life. You will likely build up enough “anger muscle” to peacefully live with yourself and coexist with others.

For some of us, this means knowing how to quiet the flames, and for others, this means finally lighting a flame where there never had been.

The concluding chapter is a fantastic how-to manual that reminds us how to revisit, slow down and work with this overwhelming emotion. We all have the right to have and feel anger.  Some of us appear not to have access to anger, but if we work at it, we can find it deep within.

Dr. Lerner describes the process of re-selfing, where we successfully assert our views in relationships without throwing emotion, control, or blame onto the other person. Fundamentally, in any relationship, if one person changes the dynamic, the relationship changes. The other person is forced to take up and carry what the other person let go of. Many times, it’s a responsibility of some kind, even emotional responsibility. …It’s nobody’s job to carry the emotions of others!

Cheers to working with the fire that is meant to serve us, not burn us or burn others. I’m curious if you give a read; please let me know what you think.