Editorial Overview: Anger Is Your Compass – Expected 2021
Practicing psychotherapist and anger expert Moshe Ratson shows readers how to use their anger as a tool for personal transformation by treating it as an inner GPS that can orient them to unmet needs for safety, positive regard, integrity, and freedom and set them on the path toward constructive action, peace, healing, and growth.
Anger is often believed to be a destructive force, and anger can indeed cause great suffering. When people act out of anger, they may make impulsive decisions and violate their values. Whether it is extreme and disproportionate or chronic and habitual, anger can destroy anything in its path: marriages, family relationships, friendships, businesses, careers, and health.
For these reasons, anger is usually seen as an emotion that should be eradicated, controlled, or at least managed. Self-help books for anger typically teach readers how to relax and think more rationally, but they are limited in their effectiveness because they do not get to the root of what makes us angry, nor do they show us how we can use our anger for good.
In Anger Is Your Compass, Moshe Ratson dismantles common misconceptions around this powerful emotion and shows readers how to unlock the transformative potential of anger. Anger is an internal GPS that reveals our core hurts and needs. If we ignore or suppress our anger—or just relax and think more rationally, as many self-help books teach us to do—we will miss out on the wisdom that anger carries. But if we learn to listen to anger and use it wisely, it can show us how to live our values rather than violate them. It can help us become our best selves.
Anger Is Your Compass shows readers how to tap into the vast potential beneath their anger. It teaches a transformative three-step process for interpreting the information signaled by their anger, and then consciously and mindfully moving toward the aspired self. When you unveil the wisdom underneath anger, you become the fullest expression of yourself, a warrior-philosopher—someone who’s courageous, wise, and disciplined. The principles and tools in this book empower readers to enhance their self-awareness, build confidence and self-mastery, live with purpose, experience inner serenity, and positively influence others by sending ripples of peace and harmony outward into the world.
Anger Is Your Compass offers a radical new framework for understanding and responding to anger. The book opens by validating readers’ struggles with anger and inviting them to consider the idea that in spite of these problems, anger might not be something to gotten rid of but potentially a positive force for healing and transformation—not an obstacle, but a gateway to one’s better self.
The foundational chapters cover the basics of the human brain and mind and briefly explain the role of emotions—including anger—as a kind of personal GPS. The author approaches these topics in a way that blends Eastern philosophy with Western psychology and neuroscience. Understanding the protective and adaptive functions of emotions helps readers begin to see the hidden purpose and value of their own anger.
Part 2 lays out the three basic principles for working with anger:
Responsibility, or shifting from blame to accountability.
Mindfulness, or nonjudgmental awareness of what is happening internally and externally, here and now.
Compassion for both self and other.
The author uses the metaphor of the warrior-philosopher to show readers what they can achieve and experience when they live by these principles: courage, discipline, insight, dignity, self-mastery, and harmony.
In part 3, readers learn the three-step process for using their anger as a force for personal transformation:
- Temper Your Temper. Just as a metal becomes stronger and more flexible by being heated and then cooled in air, anger can make us stronger when we take charge of its heat and intentionally cool it down again. To work skillfully with anger, readers must first notice that they are angry. Once readers learn to recognize their anger cues, they can temper their anger by pausing, breathing, slowing the experience down, and separating thoughts, emotions, and actions. This is also the point at which readers can use emotional-regulation strategies like relaxation or investigating distorted thinking. But unlike many other self-help books, the approach in Anger Is Your Compass does not stop there.
- Think Compassionately. Anger always points to our core hurts and needs. Step two is to interpret the anger to identify these unmet needs. Just as GPS locates objects in four dimensions—latitude, longitude, altitude, and time—anger indicates our location in four dimensions: safety, positive regard, integrity, and freedom. Readers learn to ask themselves,
- Has my physical safety or well-being been threatened? Has a personal boundary been crossed?
- Do I feel hurt, insecure, disrespected, powerless, rejected, or taken advantage of?
- Have my personal values been violated? Is something unjust happening to me or someone else?
- Has someone blocked me in something I want or need to do?
- Transform Anger. Once readers have identified what need is not being met—safety, positive regard, integrity, or freedom—they are prepared to decide on action that will be in line with their values and consistent with the aspired self: assertive, compassionate, and wise. Readers learn to take the next steps, then let go and accept the outcome.
Anger Is Your Compass shows readers how to transform an experience that may seem unacceptable into a rich resource for cultivating clarity, equanimity, harmony, and emotional freedom. Readers who practice this three-step process will discover an internal guidance system that is always available to them, showing them how to be the person they truly wish to be—strong, confident, joyful, authentic, compassionate, and loving. Anger Is Your Compass goes far beyond merely managing anger; it shows readers how to use anger to transform every aspect of their lives.