Most of us think anger is a problem - and it can be if we are not in right relationship to the energy of anger. In our western culture, few of us were taught how to allow and express our anger - or any emotions - in healthy and responsible ways. As humans, we have a natural mechanism to do this, yet it's been trained out of most of us. We learned things like: "don't cry", "you shouldn't feel that way”, "good boys/girls don't get mad", etc. Most of us were taught that our 'negative' emotions were something to be avoided, reduced, medicated, repressed or ignored. While trying to be 'good people', most of us associate negative feelings with being 'bad people'. We feel guilty about the negative feelings arising within us which create another layer between us and the feelings that want to move up and out.
Growing up, we each had thousands of experiences of anger when our wants and needs were not honored. As a result, many of us have years and years of unconscious anger stuffed down into a large pool within us that can be triggered with the smallest 'slight' from another. This is such a common experience, that culturally we have demonized 'anger' as something that makes us immature, unpredictable and dangerous. Yes - dangerous. I just read a meme that said "Anger is one letter away from Danger" and when we don't know how to express our anger responsibly - it can turn into violence.
What if it doesn't have to be like this? What if anger is our friend, here as a messenger to tell us when we are not getting what we want, or we are getting what we don't want? What if the energy of anger is here to help us know when our needs are not being met or someone has crossed a boundary that is not OK with us? What if we don't have to 'react' to anger, and instead honor its message? Anger is useful information to empower us to make choices when seen from this perspective. When we realize anger is simply providing us with a choice, we can pause, reflect and then make choices that feel best to us.
Creating a New Relationship with Anger
Learning how to empty the old 'pool' of energy stored up from past anger is a great place to start. Expressing anger in a responsible way means making time in a safe space to say what anger wants to say to anyone from the past or present with whom you are angry with. We don't express this directly to those who we are angry with - we say this to someone or something that can be fully present and unconditional with us. This anger is from the past, and needs to be recognized, seen and heard in the present moment so it can complete its journey and move on. Good sources to express your anger are a journal, a tree or flower, our dog or cat, and some people. Be careful here with people - you don't need anyone to fix you or give you solutions, just someone who you trust to allow you to be where you are and say what is needed without judgment.
With a smaller pool of past anger to get triggered, we can begin to relate to our anger in current circumstances differently. We can slow down the knee-jerk reaction by allowing the feelings to be here and asking ourselves; "what is it that I am not getting, or what am I getting that I don't want?". With those answers in hand, we can then choose what is best for us in the situation.
I have decided that anger is my friend. It lets me know there is something that I need to ‘attend to’ inside of myself. When I fully express my anger, in responsible ways, all of the solutions and actions I need to take in the situation become obvious. Being responsible means expressing the feelings without making anyone (including myself) wrong for feeling angry. Listening to the anger with compassion and respect. Once anger has had a chance to express itself within me, then I can move towards doing what is most loving for me now that I know what is and isn't OK for me. With the energy of the anger released, my perspective shifts and I can see with fresh eyes.
Are you ready to have a new relationship with anger?
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