This is the first of a two part series of posts which look at some common myths about anger. While there are many different anger myths, I have chosen to look at 5 myths which I believe will give you, as a follower of this blog, a better understanding of the misinformation that has been written about anger, how this misinformation has evolved into widely believed myths which act to both demean anger as a valid emotion and disempower people, including women, to deploy their anger as a strategic tool.
I have chosen to write two posts rather than one in order to keep the length of each post manageable.
In part #1, this post, I will discuss what a myth is and anger myth #1.
In part #2, I will discuss the remaining 4 myths.
Let’s start by examining what a myth is.
A myth is a story, a belief, or a statement about how the world is perceived to be.
It might be an “old wive’s tale” that has been repeated so often that it is unquestioned, widely believed, and accepted as fact.
The Problem with Myths
While many of them may sound both logical and correct, they turn out to be false when critically examined.
That they appear to be logical increases the likelihood that they will be believed and repeated.
Two Examples of Myths
The 5-second rule.
This rule states that if a food object such as a piece of candy, a slice of banana bread, or a chicken leg falls on the floor, it remains safe to eat as long as you pick it up within 5 seconds of dropping it.
While I hate to admit it, I have heard this rule over and over, repeated it to others, and even acted as if it were true. The facts, however, are that it is completely false. Indeed, it only takes a very small fraction of one second for bacteria to contaminate your food once the eatable lands on your germy floor. And, if you walk on that floor, it’s germy.
I don’t know how this myth started.
What I do know is that it probably persists because we don’t want to throw out or waste “good”food, or give up that tasty treat just because it accidentally found its way to the floor.
I have implemented the myth because it was convenient. While I haven’t gotten sick (yet), the myth is still wrong and it is wise not to believe it.
Brown vs White Eggs
Another common myth is that brown eggs are more nutritious than white eggs. The truth is that egg color is related to the breed of the specific chicken and there is no correlation between egg color and the nutritional value of the egg. Here, the myth might persist because advertisers and merchants have found that they can charge more for brown eggs than white eggs. So, while you may think you are getting more for your money with brown eggs, all that is going on is that you are unnecessarily spending more than you need to.
I do pay more for extra large eggs and they happen to be brown. I wouldn’t pay more money for brown vs white eggs.
There are many myths about anger and I suspect they persist for several reasons which will be discussed below.
Anger myths are problematic and even psychologically harmful because…
- our behavior is impacted by the myth,
- our ability to strategically deploy our anger as an emotional tool gets impaired, and
- the validity of the myth is not challenged,
There are numerous anger myths. I’ll explore 5 of them.
Myth #1: Anger is a negative, dangerous, or bad emotion.
This myth is both widely believed and widely quoted although the form you see it in may change. It is seen as both believable and credible because most people do not understand what anger is or why we experience it.
By the way, I totally explore and explain anger in my Amazon best selling book: Beyond Anger Management: Master Your Anger as a Strategic Tool. You can download the first two chapters of the book (without any opt-in) by clicking on the “Beyond Anger Management” page on your right.
Examples of this myth include:
- “Anger is a negative emotion.”,
- “Anger is one step (or letter) away from danger.”, and
- “It is bad to get angry.”
The facts about anger are..
- anger is a primitive threat detector,
- It has three functions:
- subconsciously perceive the presence of a survival threat (one that would kill us)
- alert us to the threat, and
- very quickly prepare our bodies to attack and eliminate the threat. Anger prepares us for battle.
These three functions are primitive, occur subconsciously and are part of the anger mastery cycle. You can download a PDF of the entire anger mastery cycle by clicking on the link in the page section to your right.
The myth probably persists because some people, when they get angry, do bad or regrettable things.
Secondly, because anger motivates us to take quick action toward a threat, it is easy to assume that the anger causes the negative behavior that becomes associated with it.
It is the association between anger and behavior that gives anger a bad reputation.
That anger causes behavior is another myth we will discuss next.
The truth is..
- There are no negative emotions.
- All emotions are adaptive in that they provide us with important information about our surroundings.
- We can learn to master our emotions and choose to use the information they provide to improve our lives and our relationships.
- Emotions never force us to do anything.
In the next post, I will discuss the other 4 anger myths.
I welcome your comments.