It’s been awhile since I’ve seen a theme emerging in my life and my client work. What’s been coming up with patients, on Facebook, in emails and in yoga classes is the theme of anger. We are at the tail end of Spring with just a couple of weeks to go before the official start date of Summer.
The emotion connected with Spring is Anger. Anger in this case is the catalytic energy surge that is required to turn a seed into a plant that pushes it’s little head above the soil and reaches for the sun! Spring, our Liver, and by association the energy of Anger are connected with upward and outward growth.
So what happens if your growth is inhibited? What happens when someone tells you no? Or gets in your way? Tells you to lower your voice or your music? Throws a wrench in your game? What if you are simply just trying to walk down the street in New York and everyone is in your way? An order is cancelled, a flight is delayed, a class isn’t offered, and your car is towed?
These are ways that the smooth flow of our life is interrupted by an obstacle. We don’t like obstacles. We don’t like no. We don’t like interruptions to our plans.
Our natural reaction is Anger. Which is totally fine. We are upset.
Anger in its purest form simply says, “I don’t like this. Something needs to be different about this situation.” It’s a call to action! You don’t like it? Ok, change it!
One of the best examples of healthy anger is peaceful protest. This is anger put to work! A group of people turning their collective anger into action to create change.
We can ALL do this in our own lives. Anger is a very powerful force and if wielded with grace and finesse, it can move mountains. Where we get into trouble with anger is when we suppress it and let it build.
Unexpressed or suppressed anger can get ugly. This is why Anger has such a stigma around it when all it is is a catalyst for change and an opportunity for some honest communication. Anger can actually work for you if you work with it.
We associate anger with road rage, throwing things at people, screaming, crying, cursing, fear, abuse, physical threats, danger, and out of control people. These are all examples of unhealthy anger. It’s not an emotion we appreciate so we try our very best not to feel it or allow it to escape.
All emotions are valuable-even anger! If we can sit with it and look at where and why it is coming from, we can find the gold contained within. If we have been hurt or upset by another person, rather than lashing out or stuffing it, we can advocate for ourselves and clearly state our needs to that person. If someone continually disrespects or hurts us, you may need to use that anger to create a change in the terms of that relationship!
You may have heard that anger turned inward results in depression. There are many different types of depression and this is just one of them. That is an oversimplified expression but there is some weight to it.
When we repress our anger toward a partner, friend or family member, it starts to come out in weird ways. Sarcasm is the most common expression of unexpressed anger. Mean little jabby attacks that are passed off as jokes.
We feel uncomfortable or nervous about rocking the boat. We are afraid of how the other person will react. We are afraid that nothing will change and then…uh oh, we might have to.
So we stay snippy and unexpressed and our blood pressure goes up or our shoulders get even tenser, or our digestion suffers. It doesn’t have to be this way. Use your anger as a call to action to change your circumstances!
Dance it out. Run it out. Write it out. Scream it out (not at someone else!). Sing it out. Create it out. Talk it out. Paint it out. Boot camp it out. Express it out.
You have to feel it to heal it. You have to let it out to transform it. Just don’t be afraid of anger.
The more you know your triggers and can feel when it’s rising in you, the more gently and safely you can manage this emotion. It is sooo powerful and can do so much for you. It’s your inner Mama Bear, your inner Kali, your inner badass.
Work with it in a healthy way and it can be the fuel to create powerful change and transform your life!