Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Anger Gets A Bad Wrap

Do you have friends who post inspirational quotes and cute sayings as their Facebook updates from time to time? I do. Often worth a read, one went up the other day that didn't ring entirely to true for me. It said:

"Life is short it. ♥ Love is rare... grab it. Anger is bad... dump it. Fear is awful... face it. Memories are sweet....cherish them."

Some nice sentiments but I think anger gets a bad wrap. It can provide the extra energy you need sometimes to propel you forward. Anger directed AT someone - including self - can be destructive but generalised anger... Not bad. Cleansing, motivating, powerful, useful when well placed.

I can't help but that think that anger is one of those gifts we have been given as part of the evolutionary process... it is designed to get us out of a bad place at the right time, to give us the motivation and power to react differently... An unknown adult disciplining your child in the playground causing you to run to the rescue, a boss who has had an unjustifiable harsh word to say just once too often and finally gets a piece of your mind (or a resignation?), an abusive spouse who crosses some imaginary line and triggers a new reaction in the abusee (to resolve to leave at the most prudent time) - to give rather random examples.

Many people though, live with anger. They do not use it but are used BY it. Anger controls them. It causes them to be people they don't want to be, say and do things they regret, creates isolation and separation from the people they love most. That kind of anger... bad news. No evolution there: pain and hurt instead.

No point suppressing it or denying it though. If anger shows up - in it's most positive, motivating form or its damaging, dangerous form - it's a wonderful clue that right there, in that moment, you have an opportunity for transformation. Taking a look at your shadow self and getting to know him or her can actually be a gateway to great joy - it puts you in the position to choose light or dark, old ways of being or the new.

If you can put anger to work, understand your triggers and do something constructive with the massive emotions that sit there, you can create a whole new life for yourself, a life where angers works FOR you as a positive, transforming force, not rules you.

Desiderata: Old Words, New Meaning
Are You Beautiful, Perfect, Broken?
God Speaks In Whispers - Margaret Silf


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