Let’s talk about anger. Anger gets a bad rap. Sometimes nothing can be more powerful, motivating and creative than anger channeled in a healthy way. But so much of the messaging we get around anger as children is rigid in its gender specificity and leads to unsatisfying and unsustainable methods of communication. Often by the time we are adults, we can’t even see the emotion underneath the anger, the one that anger works to protect against (fear, sadness, shame, guilt, loss, insecurity). And our only understanding of anger is to inflict harm on ourselves or others.
So much of the work we do in therapy is to find kindness and compassion for ourselves and what we have done in the past. Looking back in anger keeps us stuck in a cycle of blame and guilt that never allows us to affect real change in our lives. Forward moving anger, however, righteous anger, can help us find courage to step outside our comfort zone, to say enough, to establish and stick to a boundary, and to choose to fight for ourselves when it seems like no one else will do so. This anger leads to community, to finding support, to healing, to trust, and yes, to love.
So use your anger! But see it for what it is. Know that you are not your anger, just as you are not your thoughts. If you have access to it, find ways to channel it, express it, move with it. Create something powerful using this incredible force.
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