Tuesday, September 4, 2012

We Need To Talk About Anger

Time and time again, I see things happening in our society that make me roll my eyes.  In fact, you could even say it makes my blood boil with anger.  Yet, that might be pushing the envelope of drama a little too much.  I have no desire to sensationalize such an important issue.  However, we need to talk about anger in our society!  We really do!

Anger is one of those things that we are taught from our early days as a child that it is not good.  If a little kid gets angry and attempt to show their anger, parents are quick to chastise and discipline the kid.  They quickly show the kid that anger is a BAD emotion.  If you don't believe me, put on your analytical hat and just watch the interactions of kids and their parents on this issue.  In fact, some form of discipline may be used to control the anger, thereby connecting the anger and physical punishment together forever in their life.

The church often teaches that anger is a bad emotion.  After all, God gets angry, but to most churches, while that is okay, it isn't good if us normal and regular people get angry.  If you even talk about being angry with God, you will quickly get shunned or counseled as to why this is inappropriate.  I remember one time someone coming down hard on me for being angry at God.  I looked at them and stated that if God wasn't big enough to handle me being angry, then he must not be as big of a God as you make him out to be!  Regardless, churches make anger out to be something equal to sin and something that must be avoided at all costs.  This leads people to bottle it up, rather than express it in a healthy way.

New age philosophies often view anger as something that is out of balance.  They claim it is a dis-ease part of you and that you should put on your happy face and speak your happy thoughts and feel your happy energy and have nothing to do with it.  Unfortunately, these same people fail to understand anger just like the parents and the churches.  When you talk about balance in life, if you don't have both anger and happiness, you cannot have balance.  One without the other emotion, makes it lopsided.  Anger is just as appropriate as happiness, peacefulness, or calmness.  Yes, if there is too much on either side of the balance bar, than most likely you've got problems in paradise.

We've got to get past our hangups with anger!  We really do!  I know, if someone is getting angry it can trigger all kinds of unpleasantness out of those close to that person.  So many of us have traumatic moments from our childhood when it comes to anger, that if we see someone else exhibiting anger, we just can't deal with it.  Too many always want to view life as something from the belief that everything is a happy thought and generally speaking, anger doesn't bode well for them.  Often, they are the people that are trying to suppress the most anger in their own lives.

Being happy is a good thing, unless you are stuffing it deep inside.  If you're stomach is churning constantly from the anger you hold within or if your muscles are so arthritic that it looks like they are going to burst at any moment, then holding anger in is not a good thing.  Hiding from it or trying to numb yourself to it through alcohol, drugs, anxiety, work, or painting a fake happy smile on, is going to catch up with you sooner or later.  Anger has a way of bringing out all kinds of physical ailments, diseases and health conditions in our body if we don't learn how to deal with it.

While anger is appropiate, a constant state of anger is just as much a problem as those who avoid it.  Anger is one of our emotions and when it is released in a healthy way, it often helps us connect more deeply with ourself.  Yet, when anger controls our every move, one needs to stop and evaluate what is going on in their life and then find the courage to begin making changes.

It took me a long time in my life to understand that anger was a valid emotion.  I was taught growing up that if I expressed anger, I usually suffered through something horrible in return.  I learned to stuff it down and it ate away at me through headaches, migraines, neck and muscle tension, back pain and a stomach ulcer.  It was not until I started to deal with it, that I began to find healing for the physical ailments in my body.  Healing did not happen over night and it took me several years to get where I could learn to deal with it, release it, and find release so it didn't build up automatically inside my body.  I still struggle with it, but I'm not at the same place where I was.  No longer do I hold it in and put the happy painted on face to the world, and I'm getting to the point where I don't have 100 angry outbursts per minute.

Anger is something we need to quit shunning in life and recognize the pain in the life of the person that is expressing it.  The more we make it into a whisper, the more we are setting people up to just explode.  We need to get past our own repressed anger and learn to meet people where they are at, in a place where their anger does not shake our own foundation.  It is more than just being condescending to someone with anger and shunning them as a result.  It is more than acting as if anger is not present.  It is more than fleeing the path of anger, because we have not given voice to the source of our own anger.

The good news is that the more we go in and touch the depth of our own anger, the more human we become.  As we do this and release all that we stuff deep inside, we find that there is a greater space for more peace in our life, and that of the world.  Trying to stop the discussion of anger is like trying to stop a hurricane.  Instead of spending our time doing this, we need to talk about anger!

You may want to read a blog post I wrote on January 24, 2010, Ways To Release Anger.

Blog Post And Images (c) 8/10/12 by Don Shetterly

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