Loosening the Wrench of Sadness and Anger

For a time, I believed it was easier to pretend that I was always happy and excited. After all, it made me more likeable and acceptable to others. If ever I thought anger was not an issue in my life, the exercises from my initial weekend spoke volumes that both anger and sadness were online in my life.

I haven’t pretended since.

What I have learned is that whether you experience anger or sadness, there is a path forward. However, both emotions lend themselves to a slightly different path forward. Reading Michael Schreiner’s explanation of the two emotions will help you see what I mean: “Where anger is active, sadness is passive. Anger gets you fired up, ready to defend yourself or go on the attack. Sadness leaves you exposed, feeling the full pain of the hurt you have endured. Sadness leaves you feeling vulnerable, where when you are angry you feel invincible, donning your armor, shield, and sword to go do battle. Sadness accepts the situation for what it is, while anger rallies you to do something to change it.”

As 2018 begins, I continue to experience both sadness and anger, and feeling sad and angry could make me feel alone since my social media stream is full of all these happy, smiling people who offer good cheer as the new year begins. It doesn’t make me feel alone, though, because I have tools to work through these emotions.

So, if sadness is the presenting emotion for you, what might you do?

  • Survey the sadness and give your sadness context
  • Consider what the sadness reminds you of
  • Wonder aloud if there are other decisions you could have made that would have resulted in you not feeling so sad
  • Reflect on whether or not someone else could have made different decisions that would have resulted in you not feeling so sad
  • Consider setting a timer for you to throw yourself a pity party, but when the timer goes off, resolve to leave your pity party
  • Share your sorrow with a trusting friend

And if the presenting emotion is anger, what might you do?

  • Be open to the power of your anger and attentive to what this energy is suggesting you do
  • Reflect on the possible positive and negative outcomes of doing that action
  • Share your anger and its context with a trusted friend
  • Let your band of brothers in on your anger and request prayer
  • Act in such a way that your anger is constructive, not destructive

There are always healthy paths forward, brothers. Both emotions suggest different paths forward, but God, in all his power, is with you, for you, and in you.

By using these tools, you, too, will embark on a healthy path, finding your way out of these emotions and towards a more brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and fabulous you.

By Tony Bradburn

Tony completed his initial weekend in June of 2008 and is a graduate of our two-year transformational program. Tony hails from the idyllic shades found in Crystal Lake, IL. After being adopted from the Dominican Republic at the age of 6 months into a family in Elgin with two biological children, going through school, getting sober, becoming a teacher and a football coach, getting married, going to more schooling to get a few Master’s degrees, having four beautiful children, moving into educational administration, getting divorced, and now having principalship duties, it’s safe to say that Tony’s path has never been a straight one.

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