Recently I have been giving a lot of thought to anger.
Anger isn’t something that I was raised with, and looking back probably was taught that anger wasn’t appropriate. Looking back this was a stunting message, since in truth, if we feel it, it is right, and suppressing any emotions is not healthy.
Rather, the correct message is to understand that there is a difference between feeling anger and expressing anger. and that we should feel it and not express it.
I say this because, usually the object of our anger is another person.
As I read recently, “we need to learn to hate the action, and not the person.” Wise words. After all, the target of our anger is just a person like each of us, and while their their action might have been deplorable, it is really just a reflection of what they have learned in their path through life. So why hate them, we should feel sad for them!
Plus, in most cases the thing we are angry about is really a reflection of our own insecurities and expectations that the world works according to some predictable pattern that we control. Which it doesn’t. So usually anger is our problem, not theirs.
So where is anger appropriate?
When the anger is reflected at an idea, that is something we need to jump on board with. When there are things in our world that need to be fixed, and no one takes action, we need to leverage anger in a positive way to create change.
At issue is that as a society, that likes to think we can control the world, we look down on anger since anger, like fire, is man uncontrolled. We don’t like that. It makes us uncomfortable. We stay away from it, and disassociate from it. Rightly so, since in general, as we saw, it is silly to associate with someone who is angry, since it is misplaced.
The lesson for us to take away is not to throw the baby out with the bathwater, and leverage this important emotion to reacting to injustice and impacting the world in a positive manner.