Dancing with Anger

There is no shortage of advice for what we can do with anger. The list for short term solutions is endless.

However, anger is a signal worth listening to. It may be saying that we are feeling hurt... a hurt that shows itself as being disappointed, fearing loss, being threatened, feeling unloved or unacceptable or being unimportant. When we see a fiery display of hysterical or belligerent anger do we ever pause to think that maybe the cause lies in feeling over-looked, unwelcome, or simply not good enough?

The taboos against our feeling and expressing anger are so powerful that even knowing when we are angry is not a simple matter. Most often an angry person is difficult to deal with and is usually dismissed as irrational or worse. Because the very possibility that we are angry often meets with disapproval from others, it is no wonder that it is hard for us to admit when we're angry. This disapproval teaches us to fear our anger. Why? Because it signals the necessity for change! Doubt raise its ugly head and we say to ourselves, "Is my anger legitimate? What's the use of getting angry? What good will it do?"

However, anger also brings up many other important questions that may be helpful to ask ourselves. "What am I really angry about? What is the real problem and whose problem is it? How can I learn to express anger in a way that will not leave me feeling helpless and powerless? Can I communicate my feelings without becoming defensive or attacking? If getting angry isn't working out what can I do differently?"

The most important thing to remember is that anger is there for a reason and can be positive as well. To me the purpose is to gain greater clarity about the source and then learn to take a different, more productive approach.

It is never easy to move away from anger towards a calm but firm assertion of who we are. As we become clear and direct so do others. We can also gain a clearer and stronger "I" and with it comes the capacity for a more intimate "WE."

Ritu Malhotra