Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Anger As Healing Tool

Anger is a great force. If you control it, it can be transmuted into a power which can move the whole world. William Shenstone

Anger is a complex critter. It can kill you or it can save your life, depending upon how you use it. When it's projected outward it becomes destructive. Society tells us not to get angry, and if we do, we're supposed to suck it up. As if stuffing it down somewhere inside is going to dissolve it. When turned inward it causes ulcers, high blood pressure and heart attacks, also destructive. So what causes it?

Anger is often our response to a thought, idea or belief that we're being threatened by someone or something--look what they did to me--or that we've fallen short of our own standards--I'm so stupid. I should have done better. This perceived threat may be associated with self-esteem issues, our need to feel secure and safe, loss of something tangible in our life, personal exposure, our own imperfection, or something as simple as a need to be right. For some, being wrong means invalidation of self, but being right provides a false sense of power. Have you ever known someone who couldn't stand to be wrong?

Anger seems like a no-win situation, but there's another side to this phenomenon. Anger is painful, and pain is useful. It tells us there's something inside that needs our attention. You can't make others be what you want them to be, and you can't make yourself perfect, but you can change your responses with inner work.

While you're working on inside changes, you need a way to stop anger from taking over in the first place. You know how it first grabs you in the pit of your stomach. That's when you say stop and re-focus your attention with affirming statements. I don't need to be right all the time; I'm fine just like I am; this can be fixed; that other person is just a big bag of wind. Use whatever fits to stop the feeling before it becomes full blown.

Grab the broom of anger and drive off the beast of fear. Zora Neale Hurston

Allow anger to tell you what there is in you that needs attention. Then begin your search for answers. The better you know and understand yourself, the better you're able to deal with destructive anger.
1. Spend some quiet time writing letters to yourself with questions: What am I afraid of? What in me feels threatened? What in me needs changing?
2. Write down whatever answers you get.
3. Now write a new scenario confronting each answer with positive descriptions of your true self. Emphasize peace, strength, wisdom, power etc.
4. Release the fear and create a positive you.

Anger is pure energy, and you can use it to your advantage. (I do my best house-cleaning when I'm angry) Use it wisely, and it will serve you well. Allow it to heal your fears and help you grow in truth.

I wish you peaceful encounters.


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