I don’t know about you but I find anger one of the more difficult emotions to deal with. As a child, I used to have fits of anger. And they did not go down well with my parents. I used to slam the door and burst into tears of frustration. I felt like I needed to destroy something to find an outlet for this force within me.
Even today I don’t like to think of myself as an angry person. I don’t like to get angry. I think part of it is that often anger and aggression are considered the same. It is difficult to turn anger into something constructive and useful.
Yet, over the past years working with people and on myself I’ve come to appreciate anger as a much-needed step in the process of transformation and growth. There is a magical power and beauty in anger.
Anger gives us the strength to stand up for ourselves. It helps us to claim our boundaries and say: “Stop! No! Enough is enough!” Yes, anger has a destructive component. And in that destruction – when it finds an outlet that’s not harmful to anyone – it can free up a tremendous amount of energy.
I know that anger helps me to liberate myself from the desire of wanting to please everyone, of always behaving properly and stick to what (I believe) is expected of me. When I am angry I don’t care anymore about what others think or being rejected. I’ve just had enough. Anger makes us honest – and selfish in a healthy way. The “I don’t give a sh…” attitude allows for a more authentic expression.
The difficulty and art to master is to find an outlet for anger – a way to experience, express and harvest the magical transformative power of anger. Our society – and even so-called spiritual circles – don’t encourage a healthy expression of it or any other negative feeling. Then we get stuck in unprocessed and unexpressed anger which simmers away and eventually turns into resentment, frustration and aggression – directed at one self or others.
We can use the anger to walk away from that unhealthy relationship, to say no to our boss who wants to pile on yet another project, to push back on that friend that keeps crossing our boundaries.
The truth is that we do experience anger, pain, disappointment or betrayal. We do get our hearts broken. And destruction is part of living. Sometimes old structures, beliefs and forms need to be destroyed to make space for the new and to connect us more deeply to who we are. Because once the anger ebbs away we find ourselves standing there: naked, raw and vulnerable – the place we need to be to experience joy, inspiration and creativity.
So get angry! Dance! Paint! And shout if you have to. Find a healthy outlet for your anger. Don’t let resentment darken your spirit. And when it’s time, forgive. Let go. Move on.