After recent events I've started to consider anger and how it works. This blog entry will be an exploration of anger and it's usefulness. I believe that there can be a positive aspect to anger. Anger invigorates us towards immediate action. While it's not always useful to be reactive with your anger, it is useful to feel inspired towards constructive action. Anger is a fierce energy, that demands our attention. One thing I've learned is that anger is usually the emotion that sets in before, after or during grief or pain. Pain is the underlying condition of anger. Anger can motivate us to speak up about injustices or "wrong doing" against us or the people we care for. If used constructively it calls our inner power to be used to point out something that doesn't sit well with you. If you are able to control your anger and harness it you can speed through issues of racism, sexism, or disrespect.
Over the past year I've spent a lot of time pondering about temperance. Temperance is moderation, or in other words, learning how to harness your fire side. It's a balance and a guide to achieving inner harmony and peace with others. I can't act like I'm the perfect person and don't yell or get upset when I'm angry. What I can say, is that I've learned to let that anger guide me and the people I surround myself with. Often times I've seen an immediate and significant shift after a fit of anger. Something important is being addressed and brought to the surface for clearing and it can be uncomfortable! Once you are able to state your case and feel heard usually those feelings dissipate immediately. Often times after a fit of anger I find it important to readdress what was learned calmly and of course apologize, usually not for the things I said, but for raising or changing the tone of my voice. If someone is raising their voice in anger it is a sign that person really wants to be heard! Now, it's not always easy to listen to someone once they are yelling! So it's a good idea if this makes you uncomfortable to tell the person, state your boundaries! You can calmly say, I see that you are upset but I cannot talk to you when you are yelling at me. Or you can walk away, hang up the phone and leave the conversation for another day. Every situation is different, it's a lot easier to handle with someone you know.
However, there are certainly incidents of unprovoked anger from a total stranger. In these instances I've found it important to observe the person's behavior carefully and find the safest exit. That person is obviously not in the state of mind to listen to reason and it's not your job to do so anyhow! It's hard to know how they could react. As a woman I've encountered this type of situation where all of my senses were alert, especially in a place where there was no one else to witness the harassment. I've encountered harassment in the workplace on multiple occasions and in these situations it was always important to quietly document the behavior. In some instances there were multiple issues that arose into something bigger. It's important to note what you are willing and able to tolerate and who you can turn to for help and support in the matter.
I do believe one of the most important factors in changing our relationship with anger is to acknowledge that a desire is not being fully met. In the case of harassment at work I was put into a situation where I was willing to ignore a lot of the issues I was having with the person as it seemed an intrinsic part of their personality. Once they sensed that I was unwilling to humor them they got angry and it was only then that I was able to tell them of multiple instances of inappropriate comments they had made. In this case their anger was met with information of which they had been entirely ignorant of until the circumstances called for clearing.
In sharing these thoughts I hope to cultivate a better understanding of the usefulness of fully expressing our emotions. Finding a container for our emotions is important, yet so is feeling through them and being heard. These are important times to use our fire as fuel instead of letting it go unchecked and becoming destructive.