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John Lee

What Anger Looks and Feels Like

The following is a transcribed excerpt of Module 1 What Anger Looks and Feels Like from The Anger Solution Master Class.

Steve Stein: Hello, my name is Steve Stein, and I’m honored to host this online workshop with the great author, John Lee.

The topic of this online course is the Anger Solution. And this is Section One. And in section one, John will discuss the topic, What Anger Looks and Feels Like.

John Lee: “What Anger Looks Like and Feels Like.” First of all, anger is a feeling and an emotion. Those two words get used interchangeably by therapists or the general public. So I’m going to use them now, but as time goes on, you’ll hear me separate the difference between an emotion and a feeling. But for right now, let’s put them together. Anger is a feeling and an emotion. Anger if it’s expressed appropriately…this is what really sets my work apart. If anger is expressed appropriately, it equals energy, intimacy, and serenity. When I say that at a conference, people look at me like I came from another planet, because most people, most people, whether they’re clinicians or the general public, they think anger is a negative emotion. And many therapists have been taught that it’s not even what people are feeling. The common teaching that most clinicians and you the general public get is that we want to avoid anger, and here’s why. From the time we were children, right up to today, most of us carry the notion that anger equals pain. But what I just said is if it’s expressed appropriately, it equals energy, intimacy, and serenity. And so the question that everybody asks is how do you express anger appropriately? By the time we finish this course, you will know exactly how to do that, and you will have the answer for that. But first, I have to keep going and saying what anger looks like and feels like.

Here’s point one. Anger takes moments or minutes at the most to be expressed. If you’re having a confrontation or in a conflict with your husband, or your child, or your boss, or your lover is that if it isn’t being expressed in a few moments or a few minutes, then you slipped over into something else, which I’m going to talk about at the end of this segment, but I’ll go ahead and tell you now, it is rage. And we’re going to make a huge distinction between anger and rage. Anger is about here and now, what happened today, what happened last night, not what happened 20 years ago and not what’s been happening for 20 years. Anger is about what you said to me last night, or this morning, or yesterday. I need to talk about because it made me angry and then we’re done. We’re done, okay? Because it’s not going to cause pain. It’s not going to cause pain. In a minute, you’re going to see why we think anger equals pain. Anger if it’s expressed appropriately, draws people into conversations.

See, nobody’s scared, no one is scared if it’s being expressed appropriately. If you, Steve, said to me this afternoon, “John, I need to talk to you about something that we said during the taping of this video.” Okay. If it’s really about this video and about what I said today, it should take you only a few moments or minutes at the most and then we’ll go out have a cup of coffee together, because I’ll go, “Yeah. Now, I see what you’re saying and I see your point. Okay. You’re right. I need to apologize. Now, we’re done. We are good?” “Yep, we’re good.”Anger shows appreciation. If I actually call you and say to you, “Steve, something that you said during the taping made me upset and a little angry.” That is showing me taking the time to call you that I appreciate you enough and our relationship enough to make that extended effort. So at the end of it, chances are if we do it appropriately, you’re going to say, “Well, yeah, I see what you mean, and I apologize, and I’ll try not to do that again.”

Check out the full program The Anger Solution Master Class here. 

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