The Gift of Anger

Most of us don’t see anger for what it really is. We usually associate the emotion with negativity, aggressive behavior, and hurt. However, it really is a matter of perception. In the East, anger is considered the most useful emotion.

Every time we are angry we get a chance to gain valuable information about ourselves.  We get to know what makes us feel threatened.  What limiting belief gets triggered when we feel inadequate or hurt.

Some Buddhists call anger the mindfulness bell. When they experience anger, they stop, breathe, and look within.  They identify the internal discord, wrap it up like a baby and give it love, knowing that some old hurt is resurfacing.

In fact, if you look back at all the times when you have felt angry, you may realize that most of the times your anger had more to do with yourself than others.  For example, often when we get angry with someone for being rude with us, we are actually more focused on the hurtful feeling of being disrespected, but instead of focusing inwards, we channel our hurt outwards as anger.

By the same logic, when someone else acts nasty with us or hurts us, it is because they are feeling terrible inside. As they say, hurt people, hurt people.

The solution lies in naming it and claiming it.  When we are willing to admit the shadow nature within, it has a much harder time ruling us and coming out in an uncontrollable manner. In other words, we need to embrace all our flaws, limitations, and emotions, including our anger.

There’s a wonderful quote by Deepak Chopra that describes this perfectly—

“At the ego level, we constantly fool ourselves into thinking that being absolutely good is possible.  Never again will we cheat, feel jealous, lose our temper, or give in to anxiety.  This intention never works out, because being good all the time is as rigid as being anything else all the time.  There are moments when it is absolutely right and healthy to be angry or afraid”. It is these moments that we can use to look within, identify the emotion, uncover the old hurt that has resurfaced, wrap it up in love and heal ourselves.

Assignment:

Reflect on any instance that made you angry lately. It could be someone on the road being rude with you, or a loved one acting in a hurtful manner. Bring up the emotions you felt at that time. Were you angry only with them, or because of what their behavior made you feel about yourself? Did their behavior trigger an old buried hurt?

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