If you’re like most people, anger makes you really uncomfortable – both feeling it and witnessing it in others. Anger scares us. It leads to violent outbursts and screaming. We’ve associated anger with horrible acts and feelings. When we get angry, we scream at each other, we even hurt and kill each other. There aren’t very many people who can witness someone in the throes of anger and not feel at least a little bit of discomfort. But anger doesn’t have to lead to explosive outbursts or violence and it doesn’t have to be uncomfortable. In fact, it’s how we treat anger that’s led to most of the damage, not the anger itself. In it’s pure form (without our meddling), anger is actually an incredibly useful and healing emotion.
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I think anger is one of the most important and one of the most suppressed feelings, but also an incredibly healing emotion. Here’s why I say that: Anger results from a feeling of powerlessness. So, when you feel trapped in a situation, when you feel like you have no control over your life, when you feel depressed, when you feel like it’s all your fault, you are, in essence, turning 180 degrees away from Who You Really Are. Who You Really Are (your soul or higher self) knows that you’re one hundred percent worthy. You’re an infinitely powerful being. So, when you’re feeling power-LESS, you’re turning completely and totally away from who you really are. Nothing feels worse than that.
When you’re in this really low vibration (bad feeling place), you need to work your way up the emotional scale to get to something like joy. You don’t have access to joy and happiness from depression or powerlessness. When you feel powerless, you’re basically saying “There’s something wrong with me. I’m broken. It’s my fault.” The way out of that is to take your focus off of yourself and put it on someone else, or the world in general, or society, and say, “Maybe I’m not the one who’s broken. Maybe it’s not MY fault. Maybe it’s YOUR fault or THAT GUY’S fault.”
Anger is not the destination – it’s just a stop on the way
Now, you don’t want to get stuck in this state and you don’t want to end up there, but it’s the stage that you have to get through in order to get to the better feeling emotions. So, anger is a very natural emotion that results from the feeling of powerlessness. If we don’t get in our own way and we allow ourselves to feel angry and move through anger, the following happens:
When we feel powerless, we have a natural emotional response to that and we get angry. Anger takes us out of this state of powerlessness by giving us some of our power back, and then we move through that anger into frustration, into boredom, then contentment, gratitude, appreciation, knowing and joy. Done and dusted.
Mismanagement of Anger leads to ugly reactions
But this doesn’t generally happen. Because in our society we’ve been taught from a very early age that anger is not ok. Instead of being taught that certain displays of anger (like punching someone in the face) are not ok, most of us have been sent the message that the emotion of anger itself is not ok. So what happens instead is this:
We feel powerless, we’re in this horrible feeling place, and we naturally start to rise into anger. But then, we squash that anger because anger isn’t ok. We generally do this to ourselves (but if we don’t, others will do it for us.) That’s like putting a lid on a pressure cooker. The pressure will start to build. And just like with a pressure cooker, if the pressure continues to build, at the very least, it’s going to spring a leak. This is why someone who is usually calm and completely non-violent will go and get drunk and will just start wailing on some guy at the bar. When you feel powerless, when you feel like you have no control, taking it out on another person (basically, taking control of another person), feels better than where you are. These kinds of extreme reactions don’t happen unless that powerlessness has been brewing for a long time and hasn’t been allowed to escape. That pressure has to be allowed to build in order to lead to such behavior. This is why people commit acts of violence, why they steal from others, why they riot, why they loot, and why they kill each other.
When you have a whole segment of society that’s been kept in a powerless state for a long time and that pressure’s been cooking for a long time, people will take any chance that they can get to feel better. People don’t riot and loot because we’re all fundamentally flawed and we can’t have nice things and we’ll all destroy each other if given half a chance. If given half a chance, we will take any opportunity that we can get to feel better. When people have been in a really low vibration – a really powerless state – for a long time, this is when you get that kind of explosive, violent outbreak behavior. It’s a rebellion against the feeling of powerlessness. And at the heart of that (being stuck in powerlessness, not the cause of the powerlessness) is an inability and/or unwillingness to get angry.
We don’t like angry people
Anger makes a lot of people really uncomfortable. We don’t like it when someone gets angry and so we send the message very quickly: “You shouldn’t be angry”. We teach this to children from a very young age. We incarcerate people who have displayed anger with no counseling or opportunity to express that anger. We don’t teach people to express anger in a safe way.
But that’s the thing: Anger does NOT have to be expressed in a way that involves shouting at other people, or smacking them in the face or hurting them in some other way. You can express anger in a safe way and actually, in a DELIBERATE way.
So, if there’s a situation that has made you feel powerless or depressed, like you’re trapped or like you have no control over something (all of these are different forms of powerlessness), then the way to get out of that is to be angry. And you can get angry in a safe environment.
One thing that I coach my clients to do in this situation is to punch the couch. Yes, really. You can’t hurt the couch and you can’t hurt yourself (not recommended with leather couches…). And your couch can really take a beating. You might be surprised at how much rage comes up when you finally open the door to let it out. A lot of people never allow themselves to get angry. I’ve coached people into anger that have not allowed themselves to be angry in YEARS and the healing that happens when you finally allow that rage to come out is absolutely phenomenal. People have life changing experiences by finally allowing anger to release.
As I said, you’ll very naturally tend towards anger if you don’t squash it. So if you pay attention to how you feel emotionally, and you’re in a situation that makes you feel trapped or out of control or powerless in some way, you’re very naturally going to move into anger. And if you don’t squash it (and providing that you don’t have a lot of pent up anger from the past that you need to let go of), you’ll find that you’ll move through anger very, very quickly. You were never meant to spend a lot of time in powerlessness, and we were certainly never meant to get stuck in an angry phase. Anger doesn’t have to be this horrible display.
You’ll find that if you don’t have a lot of pent up rage in you anymore and you allow things to happen naturally, that you’ll feel powerless, then you’ll move into anger and spend seconds or minutes there, and then WHOOSH! You’ll move into frustration and up the emotional scale. You’ll feel a lot better in minutes. It’s the squashing of the anger that causes all the problems.
Allow yourself to feel anger. Express is constructively and safely, punch the couch, scream at the walls, write an angry letter than you’re never going to send, do whatever you need to do in a safe way, but allow yourself to feel the anger and you’ll be absolutely amazed at how healing and cleansing that release will be.
What do you think? When was the last time you allowed yourself to be angry? Are you afraid to get angry? Do you generally block this emotion?