We all know what anger is, and we’ve all felt it: whether as a fleeting annoyance or as full-fledged rage. Anger is a completely normal, usually healthy, human emotion. But when it gets out of control and turns destructive, it can lead to problems—problems at work, in your personal relationships, and in the overall quality of your life. And it can make you feel as though you’re at the mercy of an unpredictable and powerful emotion. Most of us have a pattern to our fits of anger that we repeat over and over.
Myself, in the recent past, I used to get angry often when I was tired, allowing myself to be stressed by the circumstances and pushing to get things done that needed to be done. In this state, something would often happen, such as dropping dishes and therefore spilling it all over the floor. Then I would explode in anger and curse myself through the cleaning part. After a moment or two I would calm down and then would be ashamed at my lack of self-control.
This was my usual pattern for most of my fits of anger. Others’ patterns may be different. It does not matter what one’s pattern is; the important thing is to understand your pattern and then you can be aware of it. Then you can change your thought and actions, avoiding the pattern and controlling your frustration and anger. For me, this meant not pushing so hard to get everything done. When I realize I am getting tired, stop and rest a little bit, listen to some music, think about what I am doing and quit pushing to get everything done right then.
One big misconception on the spiritual path is that you should always feel “positive” emotions–love, joy, peace, generosity, etc. It’s an incredibly juvenile view, which creates a dark shadow side filled with emotions such as fear, shame, sadness, jealousy, greed, and of course, anger. It’s completely unrealistic because we are all of our emotions. Cutting ourselves off from an emotion is like cutting off a limb. It’s absolutely crazy, and it perpetuates the inner division and duality that perpetuates pain. Psychology perceives getting in touch with your anger as essential to releasing it and dealing with previous or current injuries. Using a combination of mindfulness, compassion, and present moment attention can assist you in shifting your relationship with anger.
When we stop ourselves from following our Hearts and living our truth, we can get restless, discontent, angry. The more we need to follow a certain path and the more we avoid it, the greater the pressure becomes. We get to the point that we want to scream and lash out, but we don’t know what to lash out against. This often leads to a lot of poor choices and bad coping mechanisms like alcohol, sex, getting into verbal and physical fights, doing drugs, working long hours, and even excessive shopping among other things to make ourselves feel better. Meanwhile, the pressure is building, and you don’t know how you’re going to deal with it without going out of your mind. The most effective way to eradicate anger as desired in many spiritual traditions, or release your angry behavior is to use it as a guide back to center, back to balance. Anger can be a powerful teacher about yourself, your needs, your boundaries, and your misalignments. And breath can be an effective way to increase your attention into the present moment when anger presents itself. It is a paradigm shift to befriend your anger and perceive it as a sage guide. Think of this as a way to utilize the idea of an inversion in yoga to shift the entire mechanism and send fresh new energy into all the areas of your spirit, mind, and body system. Re-framing anger, and using it as a way to cue you to a problem, is an effective way to reduce and eradicate anger from your reaction patterning, so that you may find ways to be whole, and loving in each step in your life.
The hardest times to choose love are the very times when you can most grow spiritually. In fact, they are the only times you can grow spiritually! When you are angry, jealous, impatient or holding a grudge, a part of your personality that has no interest in love is active in you. It is not interested in other people. It is not even interested in you. It is interested only in what it desires in order to make it feel safe and valuable, for example: winning a power struggle, being right, making someone wrong, having its needs met first, eating when your body does not need food. These are all experiences of the frightened parts of your personality, and the list of what these parts want is as long as it is familiar. The worst thing they do, though, prevents you from choosing love.
My last thought for you is to appreciate that anger is as sacred as all your other emotions. It is not a bad or negative emotion. Holding on and attaching to the anger and the stress builds grudges, hatreds, and generations-long feuds that lead to wars and atrocities. This is why people are afraid of anger, and in being afraid of anger, it gets bottled up and worse things go on at the unconscious level within you. So, look underneath anger as it gives you clues to the imbalances in your spirit, mind, body, and connections.
I witness a lot of healing work on guilt, shame and anger blockages in my sessions. A blockage is any place within you where things are stuck. Oftentimes, the blockages are caused by ideas, beliefs and/or programs. Want to witness some clearing work on yourself? Just send me a little message here.