I don’t know what it says that the first two books of the #SelfCareSyllabus (click here for the first) were both written before I was born in 1985. If anything, I think it means that the barriers to good self-care and emotional wellness are well entrenched in society and for generations we’ve been having a hard time figuring it out.
After I devoured The Dance of Anger: A Woman’s Guide to Changing the Patterns of Intimate Relationships, I was so full. I can’t remember another book that I’ve read and instantly wondered 1) why no one else had ever told me to read it and 2) how could I give a copy to every single woman I know and love?
I discovered this book by simply browsing Brene Brown’s IG and seeing a quick clip where Brown tells Lerner that the book literally held her marriage together. I’m allllll for books that help me keep one of those core relationships strong, so I grabbed it a copy.
It blew me away.
Simply put, once I began putting the lessons of “The Dance of Anger” to use, I found that anger was incredibly useful. I began to enjoy when I was upset and frustrated with something because it meant there was a problem to be solved and once I knew a solution was on the way, I didn’t feel helpless. It empowered me, in the best way.
Dr. Lerner makes it plain on page 1:
“Our anger may be a message that we are being hurt, that our rights are being violated, that our needs or wants are not being adequately met, or simply that something is not right. Our anger may tell us that we are not addressing an important emotional issue in our lives, or that too much of our self — our beliefs, values, desires, or ambitions — is being compromised in a relationship. Our anger may be a signal that we are doing more and giving more than we can comfortably do or give….Just as physical pain tells us to take our hand off the hot stove, the pain of our anger preserves the very integrity of our self.”
Three biggest takeaways:
- Women have been conditioned to be “nice” and in the process we have bitten our tongue so much that we have to dig to discover what we really want.
- Anger is a useful emotion. It allows you to evaluate and make adjustments so don’t run from it.
- HOW TO PROBLEM SOLVE. She reminds us that we can not always expect people to do the hard work of caring for our feelings, especially if the situation that’s infuriating us is barely registering in their lives. She teaches how to identify the problem and most importantly, identity a solution that does not depend on anyone else to change. (See how I put her advice to use recently in my marriage.)
Where to Buy: Amazon, $10