Anger – The misunderstood emotion
Anger is very misunderstood, but it doesn’t have to be. Once we, as a society, begin understanding the reason behind why we experience anger as human beings and what it really means internally, we can then truly accept that anger can be a part of our lives in healthy ways. Anger is part of being a human being. There is no getting around it. All we have to do is understand why and how anger works and what to do with it.
We’ve all experienced and been exposed to anger in some way throughout our lives. No one is immune to it. People think they’re not supposed to get angry or that they need to get rid of it or that it needs to be controlled and or contained. Which really is detrimental to our emotional health.
We have every right to feel anger just as much as we do joy. Many people insist we have to transform anger and that it’s not “spiritual” to feel this emotion. This idea confuses anger with aggression. Anger can be an expression of passion, willingness to uphold boundaries, stand up for someone being oppressed. Compassion and anger can coexist.
Anger is an immensely powerful emotion.
Anger is the most disallowed, unapproved of emotion in our society. If you’re an angry person you’re considered bad, less than, evil or dangerous. That’s because it’s a scary emotion. It’s very uncomfortable to feel and we all know everyone tries to avoid what’s uncomfortable.
The majority of people internalizes their anger. You can see bottled-up anger as clenched fists, locked jaws, stiff body language, a short fuse, a harsh voice, an elevated level of stress. Suppressing anger eventually builds up and when it’s not dealt with properly gets unleashed in violent and dangerous ways. Including upon the self.
What anger really is, is an alert. An S.O.S signal. Anger is a messenger. Anger says, “there is something wrong here, help!” Anger lets us know there is distress somewhere inside of us. Anger relates to issues of power (control) or disempowerment (had no choice) and boundaries. Anger’s intent is to protect us. To prepare us to act when danger is upon us. In today’s modern world anger tries to protect us from other people’s anger, judgments, and other low vibrational behaviors targeted at us. It’s when we stop judging anger as ‘bad’ that we can allow it to do its job without hurting ourselves and others in the process.
Our emotions have layers to them. Once you deepen your self-awareness you’ll be able to see under the anger as to why you’re feeling angry in the first place. You can usually find sadness underneath it. Then fear under sadness. There is always an underlying emotion under the initial strong emotion.
Anger has two sides. Constructive or destructive. The destructive side includes aggression, violence, shame, and helplessness. The constructive side can fuel inspiration to take action, show you what’s no longer working for you, where boundaries have been crossed, to make a choice, take responsibility back and even inspire an entire culture to change.
Anger wants to be heard and let out. Anger needs movement. Action. It appears in the mind as well as the body. There is a complex series of psychological and bodily events that occur when we become angry. Your muscles tense up, blood pressure rises, neurotransmitter chemicals in the brain are released giving you a burst of energy to take immediate action. We’re designed this way.
The idea is to give anger space to voice itself to you. Slow down, pause and be still. It’s challenging but not impossible. Anger can be calm and grounded. It can also be impatient and fidgety for action. That’s usually because fear and hurt are mixed in with it. While still, we must listen to the message. It’s trying to get your attention to show you where there is an issue and why. Then take action. It’s absolutely NOT okay to direct anger at another being.
What are you feeling under the anger? Scared? Upset? Misunderstood? Sad? What really is going on besides the anger? Are you not feeling seen or heard? Are you feeling out of control? Are you feeling taken advantage of? Is there something that needs to be changed? An injustice? Rather than blame try to identify what’s really going on and have compassion. Express your needs in healthy ways. Voice the issue respectfully. Beat on a punching bag or pillow. Write it all down, read it aloud then burn it. Scream it all out somewhere private. Try to remedy the situation. Go for a run, exercise, move your body in some way to get it out. Listen to music to help you work out the anger. Use the anger to fuel changes needed in your life. To remove yourself from something that is harming you in some way.
Spirituality is not about finding ways to avoid or eradicate our feelings. Spirituality is about getting deeply personal with ourselves so we can see to the heart of an issue, be honest about it, and care for ourselves and others as best we can. It’s about listening closely to your heart and honoring them especially if they’re uncomfortable.
I have a lot of experience with anger. I live with rage. When I get angry, I get enraged. I go Super Saiyan. I can “see” myself ignited in flames and everything in the world hovers off the ground. I’m easily angered, too. With borderline personality disorder, I discovered that this is a trait of it. I still have a lot of inner issues to work through that contributes to setting my anger off so easily. Most of the time my anger is showing me that something is off about how I’m being treated. Gaslighting, my boundaries being crossed or trying to suppress me really triggers my anger.
Anger has been a really tricky emotion to work through for me because I feel with such intensity. I get especially angry when people tell me I’m being negative or that I’m not spiritual because I feel anger. I’m not a horrible person because I have anger. A pissy mood doesn’t mean there’s something wrong with me. I’m not negative because I allow myself to feel anger. I’m an authentic person with a bleeding heart. Anger doesn’t take that away from me. My anger is passion and fuel to get shit done.
It wasn’t always like that though. I used to feel sadness more than anything. I was always depressed, always considered a cry-baby. I felt like a pitiful victim and felt sorry for myself. It wasn’t until I started empowering myself and healing the inner things that made me sad, anger suddenly appeared. This is what happens when you work through the layers of emotions.
Anger can be especially useful. It can be healing when done properly and safely. It’s best to work with a therapist or someone you trust. Anger can be motivational. Anger is insightful. It shows us where changes are needed in our lives. It can help with injustice. Anger causes courage. It confirms our identity, especially as children. It’s a powerful form of survival. A source of energy. It’s empowering.
Ask yourself, what is within my control? How can I be an agent for change? What can I do to fix the problem rather than just acting out in anger?
Remember, anger itself is not necessarily a problem. It’s how you choose to handle it.