Have you ever felt angry and wondered why? Did you feel like something was wrong with you because you couldn’t just let it go? Or maybe you’ve felt like you had very good reason to be angry, but you should be able to “control” it?
Many people see anger as an undesirable or an unhealthy emotion. However, while it is not always pleasant for us to experience (or people who are in the path of our anger to experience), it can be a powerful messenger that something is not right.
It’s common for people to think that something is wrong with them if they lash out in ager or feel it bubbling up to the surface. Our society prefers that we put a lid on it, and keep it to ourselves if something is bothering us. (This societal superficiality in itself can be angering).
There’s the notion that if you express anger, then you are crazy. There’s the idea that you should be able to “keep it together” at all times.
Yes, I am totally normalizing anger here. However, how you handle your anger DOES matter. Of course, it is not okay to use anger as an excuse to abuse or harm others. Rather, notice how your anger may be signaling how you are feeling abused.
Have you been highly self-critical lately (partaking in self-abuse)? Have you been letting others consistently trample all over your boundaries or needs? Has someone gone too far and you feel violated? And finally, are you just left feeling completely powerless in some area of your life?
In my opinion, anger itself is NOT a signal that something is wrong with you. Anger is not necessarily a bad thin
In physiological terms, anger is simply a message from the primal part of the brain to the body that says, “This is not right! Do something!” This triggers an array of physiological responses in the body to get us to get whatever “it” is to STOP. This in itself is not problematic, but in today’s culture, we may not feel like we can do anything about it to get it to stop.
In a spiritual sense, anger points us to our deeper needs for healthy self-preservation.
Generally, we feel anger for 2 fundamental reasons:
- Someone has violated one of our boundaries
- We are feeling powerless
For example, if you had a boss that perpetually belittled you (violating your boundaries) in front of others, you would probably feel angry, which would trigger a set of physiological responses. However, if you know you would lose your job if you said anything to your boss, then you are likely left feeling powerless to do anything about it. This violation, combined with feeling powerless, means that your body gets stuck in anger mode, and it can take a toll on your health and happiness if nothing is done about it.
Feeling one (or both) of these two things can pull us into a real personal crisis. In reality, we are never powerless. We are only powerless to the degree that we give our power away. However, if someone is consistently acting is ways that threaten our sense of empowerment or safety, then we need to remove that influence from our lives. If no solution can be met after repeated attempts, then it may require that we leave a job, a relationship, or an otherwise good situation in order to restore our well-being.
It can be tough to make the changes or choices required to “get it to stop” (whatever the anger is sending a message about). It calls on every part of our being to find the strength to risk doing things differently.
So, the point is not to push anger away when it arises, but to honor it fully as a messenger. To master this is to work wisely with your anger, and to fully understand what it is telling you about your own personal truth.