Is it better to channel your anger into productive communication, or just go to your bedroom and scream into a pillow before slugging it a few times?
For a couple of decades psychologists thought you needed to “release your anger,” by punching pillows, giving a primal scream, or ripping up paper. The belief was based on intuition. We really didn’t have any science to tell us whether that was helping or not. It just felt right.
But for most of the last two decades psychological studies seemed to support the other side. Studies showed anger gets stronger when you punch pillows. By slowing down your breathing and pondering solutions (rather than revenge imagery), angry feelings dissipate better than they do if you try to “release them.”
It might not surprise you to learn that some family therapists and mental health therapists still believe there is value to releasing your anger. And one thing everyone agrees on is this. Suppressing anger is unhealthy.
“I’ve seen men put more effort into finding a movie to watch on Netflix Instant than composing a coherent message to ask a woman out,” said Anna Goldfarb, 34, an author and blogger in Moorestown, N.J. A typical, annoying query is the last-minute: “Is anything fun going on tonight?” More annoying still are the men who simply ping, “Hey” or “sup.”
That’s from a recent article published in the New York Times about the changing landscape of dating in the modern world. Sound familiar?
Facebook, Twitter, text messages and online dating sites have certainly shaken things up. A couple of decades ago, if a guy wanted to ask you out he had to do it in person or over the phone. You know, using his actual voice. Today, he can message you and he doesn’t even have to use complete sentences.
And it’s not just the way we arrange dates that’s gotten a make-over. The dates themselves are often less formal. Instead of dinner and a movie, the new standard is the hang-out date. You’re lucky if he buys you a drink or a cup of coffee. What’s more, that date may even include a group of his friends.
Shortly after meeting each other, Harry turns to Sally and declares, “You realize of course that we could never be friends.”
“Why not?” Sally asks.
Harry continues: “What I’m saying is—and this is not a come-on in any way, shape or form—is that men and women can’t be friends because the sex part always gets in the way.”
In this classic scene from When Harry Met Sally, Billy Crystal’s character asserts that physical attraction will always keep men and women from embracing true friendship. Harry sees friendship as a bond between two people that must exclude romantic feelings.
Can a man and woman be best friends?
Some people say the best relationship is one that allows you to act like lovers and best friends at the same time. But what does it mean to be “best friends” with a man?
Mae West said, “You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough.”
Are you doing it right? Are you spending your time, effort and energy on the things that are really worthwhile? Or are you holding back?
Don’t hold back. Spend all your life pursuing (all out) the things you believe to be worthy of your life.
The core message I want to communicate to anyone who looks to me for guidance is a simple one. Live your life to the fullest. Spend every moment you can pursuing what matters most.
It’s definitely one of those “easier said than done” type messages. There are always good reasons to hold back. Things like holding down a job, obligations to friends and family, and even the daily race just to tick off everything on your to-do list.
All of that stuff takes up time and energy. Sure, it’s noble to live life to the fullest, but many of us feel we simply don’t have the luxury of making that a reality.
The thing is, I believe in you. I believe if you look deeply within yourself, you will find there are things you believe in that are worthy of your time, energy, and full pursuit… even in the face of hardship.
Of course, the biggest reason we hold back is even more basic. We’re afraid of failure.