Greetings fellow mindful travelers!
As I tune into the collective energy of the planet right now, there is a lot of energy expressing itself in full force.
Today, I want to talk specifically about anger, and it’s incredible power to create positive change, as it is playing a large role on the planet right now.
And whenever the planet is waking up to a certain energy, it gives us an opportunity to look within ourselves, do our personal work, and notice how anger is and has shown up in our lives.
During my childhood, I grew up with the conditioning that “anger is bad” and that I should “repress my anger” so that I can be a “good guy.”
And so, like most kids, I absorbed this conditioning and pushed away my anger so no one could see it.
While well-intentioned, this repression caused a lot of problems. I missed out on all the positive aspects of anger, and generally could not be my authentic self.
I also started to direct my anger inward, and would be really hard on myself.
On the other side, you may have been told “anger is the only acceptable emotion to express, repress all other emotions.” Or perhaps some other messages about anger.
Everyone has their own story and conditioning with anger.
Growing up, what were you taught about anger?
Take a moment to reflect.
Since becoming more aware of myself, I have been reintegrating my anger and seeing the power that anger has to create positive change.
And in the world today you can see much of the positive side of anger showing through.
So let’s take a look at both sides of the coin of anger and see what we find.
The Light Side of Anger
Anger has incredible power. In fact, it is often when we feel like we don’t have power that anger shows up.
It also often shows up when a boundary has been crossed or we feel unsafe.
Thus, the light side of anger is it’s ability to protect, to set boundaries, and to ensure safety.
As humans, we need healthy boundaries – with other people, with work, with the world.
We have to be able to say “NO”
When we can’t set boundaries, we often feel trapped and unsafe.
Anger also has the power to inspire us to take action and create necessary change.
Right now, as the planet wakes up to racial injustices, anger serves us to change the systems, to shake up the attitudes, and bring awareness to the hurt that needs attention.
If there was no anger, there would be no change.
The light side of anger says: “No more injustice! Humanity, we are better than this, and we can create a better reality for us all!”
Think about yourself and your life for a moment.
Where in my life is anger showing up?
How can I use my anger in a way that would serve myself and others?
How can I express my anger in a healthy way?
We often are afraid that if we share our anger, we will scare others away.
And this could happen.
However, I’ve found that when we share our anger in a way that does not attack or blame anyone, it can open up an honest discussion about what is really going on.
It can create positive change in the relationship.
It can help both people feel more safe, and understand where the boundaries are.
As a general guideline you could try something like:
“When I observe _____, I feel angry because I need _________. Would you be willing to change _________?”
The Shadow Side of Anger
The shadow side of the coin, perhaps is quite obvious, as it is often highlighted in the media, or in dramatic relationships.
Anger can be used to hurt and traumatize others, to cause unnecessary damage, and can also be directed inward to hurt ourselves.
We need to know where to draw the line with anger.
If we tend to unconsciously and automatically express anger, it can help to slow down.
When we are feeling angry, it may be helpful to take some time to write down how you feel, go for a walk, and do some breathing so that we can give it some space.
We may need to yell at the sky, punch a pillow, exercise, or express it in a way that does not hurt anyone.
Then, when we are in a more grounded place, we can approach the person and have a conversation about what happened.
Here, we may also want to reflect on more vulnerable emotions that might be underneath the anger such as hurt, fear, or sadness.
As with all parts of us, instead of repressing, or unconsciously expressing, we need to OWN our anger, listen to it, and see how it can serve us.
Aligning Anger with our Values
When we’re owned our anger, we can begin to see how we are using it.
Often, we may want to use anger to get rid of something we don’t want.
And this is often a good first step, but often only works for short-term change.
In it’s highest form, we can use anger to make change toward what we do want.
And this requires us to know the direction we want our lives, the relationship, or the world to go.
Once we know our direction, we can use anger to make change toward what we do want to see in ourselves, in others, and in the world.
This is the true power of anger.
For example, we may want to see more love, connection, truth, freedom, and equality in ourselves, in others, and in the world.
So we use the power of anger to stand up for love, for truth, for equality.
When our anger comes from a place of love, rather than fear, then we can make a lasting change in the world.
This is heart-centered anger, or a heart-warrior energy that can be both loving and strong.
If we only use it to destroy what we don’t want, we are not harnessing the true loving power of anger.
Thank you for reading, and I hope you can use the recent events on the planet as inspiration to look within, grow, and connect with your values.
Know your story with anger, know it’s shadow side, and use it for it’s light so it can serve yourself, your relationships, and the world.
Until next time,
Ellis Edmunds, Psy.D.
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