Anger has gotten a bad reputation. Sure, when used recklessly anger has some pretty big impacts on others, and ourselves, but what if anger did not need to be something to avoid at all costs? Some of the messages that are predominate around anger are: that we should not feel angry, that anger is to be avoided, or that feeling angry is shameful. So much of our attention when it comes to anger goes toward avoiding, dismissing, and shaming. The article below explains it this way: “We often fixate on how negative anger can be—how it can take hold of us, how it can hurt others and ourselves. We talk about wanting to get rid of it. The thing is, it’s not going anywhere. Anger is here to stay, no matter how happy you are, no matter how much you are in sync with the universe, no matter how much enlightenment has touched you. You are going to get angry.”
Personally, it has taken me (Loraine) some time to get comfortable with my anger. For many years, I did not give myself the permission to recognize feeling my anger, much less feel angry. Maybe it was because I heard many messages and warnings about anger. Some of these messages were subtle, while others were overt, but all pointed to necessity to avoid anger and its potential impacts. So, as a result, I became much more familiar with my feelings of sadness and hurt. I could talk and process my hurt and sadness, but when it came to anger it was a very different experience. I had so many messages of “don't feel angry”, “feeling angry is wrong” and “feeling angry will hurt others”. Most of these messages filter down into a deep message of “You don't deserve to be angry”.
Getting comfortable with my own feelings of anger has been transformative. It has given me opportunity for a fuller expression of who I am and has allowed me to have a deeper trust in self and ALL my emotions, not just the ones that feel pleasant. When I began to give myself permission to feel angry, it also gave me energy and motivation to change things that were not working. Without accessing the fact that in some circumstances I deserve to feel angry, I could not move towards changing them. Once I discovered that anger was not to be avoided it become my strong ally, making me aware of experiences of injustice. Not in a out of control or destructive rage, but rather serving as an injustice indicator that provides information about how I am feeling. Now I have a choice about how to respond. Instead of telling myself not to feel angry, I can now respond to the feeling of anger with curiosity and openness.
So ,what should you do when you feel angry? As the article below suggests, the best way to process anger is to feel it. For some it might start as simply recognizing that you feel angry, often it can be difficult to even allow yourselves to admit that you feel angry because of rules you have created around this feeling. Denying this feeling rarely works, nor does it help diffuse the feeling. Once you have permission to feel anger you can let it go.