There was a great article in the Guardian yesterday, called “How to be happy in life: let out your anger.” The article starts:
Conventional advice about keeping a stiff upper lip and staying cool can damage your career and lower your satisfaction in life, according to new research. If you want to be promoted and attain true happiness, you should get angry.
Read: it’s healthy to act a little less British, and a little less American. I mean, c’mon, the whole stiff upper lip thing is pretty much the gospel here. And it was the thing that nearly killed me when I first moved here. I made an effort to try to fit in with the stiff-upper-lipped-ones around me, such that I became totally repressed and frustrated, which then led to me in therapy. Now I try to just be my normal American self all the time, and don’t just pretend like everything is alright all the time. It works for me. But it does scare some of my colleagues.
So what are the ground rules for the release of this anger? I think most important is not complaining just for the sake of complaining–as much as I like the idea of “venting” I think (and the article seems to imply) that it’s only constructive if there’s a possibility that real change might come out of it. And it’s best to have a plan of how to go about actually making that change happen: have a solution in mind, not just a problem.