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Here’s how to use your anger to your advantage

by Samantha Antrum

Photo: Huffington Post

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Earlier this year, I was having a conversation with my dad in which he told me “anger is not a productive emotion.” I remember this moment distinctly. It came after several months of me dealing with a living situation that was making me miserable. And when I say miserable, this wasn’t just a “my roommate and I don’t get along” kind of miserable. This was a “my roommate is illegally subletting to me, stealing my security deposit and threatening to take legal action against me for confronting them about it” kind of misery. 

I had been living with this person for almost a year-and-a-half, and although there were signs that the situation wasn’t all the way right, I chose to ignore them amidst all the other stresses I was facing with my job, mental health issues and adjusting to a new city (I had moved from the east coast to the west coast in June of 2016). I needed a place to live, wanted friends and, at the time, felt excited to know I had someone around who appeared to be a good friend to me, introduced me to their friends and showed me things to do in a city that was new to me. Little did I know how bad it would get. 

Things got to a point that I could no longer accept. I had been sharing my car with this person. I was buying groceries for the house. I took off work to care for this person when they were sick. Not only did this person turn around and tell me that they “could not be my friend” because my mental health issues were causing them problems, this roommate involved me in living arrangements with their friends that should not have involved me. At one point, this roommate had their friend stay with us and share their apartment keys — calling me anytime the other person was locked out. 

I couldn’t take it anymore. I was livid, and I wanted out of the situation. 

I immediately provided notice to move out — something I had needed to do far sooner, but was feeling too complacent and too afraid to. But, my anger pushed me to take action.

Anger is a valuable and productive emotion. It was the only thing that gave me the confidence I needed to cut off my roommate and seek out a living space where I could thrive. You just have to figure out how you will channel it. For me, this meant setting concrete steps to remove myself from a harmful living situation. But, it could mean anything from talking to your boss about that raise (you know you deserve it) or finally ending a toxic friendship. 

No matter how you decide to use it, your anger is fuel. Allow it to motivate you to make the changes needed to live your best life. 

Are you struggling with your anger? How are you going to channel it to make changes in your life?