Psychologically Speaking with Popoola Peace


Anger is often held responsible for all the bad vices in our society. From road rage to shootings, violence, domestic battery etc. It is seen as a completely negative emotion and a major problem. Poor thing. Does anger really deserve all these? Maybe anger just gets used in the wrong way. Maybe it could be something good and productive if channelled in the right ways.

I saw a meme the other day, it said “I don’t even get mad any more, I’m just like ‘Oh, okay. That’s cool, I guess’” WHAT?? I find it particularly ridiculous when I hear someone make a resolution about never getting angry. Anger is a normal, healthy emotion we all should experience. It’s a core emotion, just like love or fear. Even though anger when intense, prolonged and uncontrolled has damaging effects, the complete lack of it is abnormal and a complete waste of such intense source of motivation.

Emotions are energy. Energy can neither be created nor destroyed, but transformed from one form to another. When we get angry, our bodies prepare for fight or flight, one experiences quickened heartbeat, tightness in chest etc. This ferocity can be used to fuel one’s drive. Anger goads, incites. The key to constructive anger is recognizing the situations that you can change and those that are beyond your control; the ones that are worth your anger and those that aren’t.

Martin Luther King Jr. knew the power packed in anger; he used his constructive anger energy towards resolving injustices and making the world a better place as well. Through activism, he played a major role in ending the legal segregation of African-American citizens in the South and other areas of the nation, as well as the creation of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965. If he had remained complacent and had not been pissed off by the circumstances, all these would have remain unachieved.

Funmilayo Ransome-Kuti is another perfect example. A political campaigner, women’s rights activist, she found the treatment of the female folk dehumanizing and unacceptable and so, led protests and rallied against the unfair tax rates for women. She also braved seemingly insurmountable odds to ensure that Nigerian women have the right to vote and be voted for. The current battle for more inclusion of women in political offices in Nigeria and female representation on national and international levels can be traced to the acts of Funmilayo Ransome-Kuti, who is being regarded as “The Mother of Africa”.

Altruism is often incited by anger. In supporting a cause, mobilizing people, fighting for a right, there’s no stronger emotion than anger. Positivity alone is not enough to navigate this unfair world successfully. If we rely on love, kindness and compassion alone, we’d be stepped on, cheated and denied of several opportunities. “Imagine what the women’s suffrage movement would have been like if women said ‘Guys, it’s really unfair, we’re nice people and we’re human beings too. Won’t you listen to us and give us the vote?’” said social psychologist Carol Tarris, PhD.

Anger is neither rage nor violence. It isn’t forbidden or evil. Anger can be a force for good. The movers and shakers of this world don’t kill, suppress or ignore their anger. They don’t allow it consume or control them either. They tame it then harness and channel it into self-will and determination to make a difference. Hitendra Wadhwa wrote “Average leaders focus on results, Good leaders focus also on the behaviours that will get the results. And great leaders focus, in addition, on the emotions that will drive these behaviours”.

So bad grades? Financial problems? Relationship issues? Be the master of your emotions; well up anger for the situation; sculpt your anger to suit your needs and use it to make a difference.

Peace is a 300level student of the faculty of Vetenary Medicine, University of Ibadan.




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