The Anger Revolution – Why Expressing Anger Is A Good Thing
The Anger Revolution: Why Expressing Anger Is a Good Thing
Anger is one of the most repressed emotions in our society. We’ve been taught that feeling angry is ugly and bad and something that should be avoided.
Expressing any of the negative emotions is viewed as a weakness and lack of control. While being able to “keep ourselves together” and not get triggered is synonymous with strength, heroism and self- control.
This perception, however, is harmful and couldn’t be further from the truth. The reality is that being able to express our anger is not only a good thing – it is also completely necessary in order to be fully healthy. To be authentic and whole we need to accept and express all that we are. And that includes our emotions – even the challenging ones.
The consequences of suppressing anger
The body remembers everything we experience in our lives. It stores what we don’t let ourselves feel and process in our bodies and cells. However, emotions are not meant to be stored, they are meant to flow freely and, so holding onto anger or other negative emotions is very unhealthy and may over time cause psychological and physical illness.
Keeping our anger locked away in our subconscious mind doesn’t make us have any more control over our life, in fact, the opposite is actually true. When we attempt to suppress our anger, the result is often that we get triggered and overly emotional during times of inconvenience when the emotional intensity is completely disproportionate to the situation we are experiencing in that moment.
Negative emotions are a natural part of the human experience. We all have anger (yes, all of us!) and it demands to be felt. Denying certain emotions from being authentically expressed means suppressing parts of who we are.
In his book The MindBody Code, Dr. Mario Martinez touches on the problem of the demonization of anger when he describes how some Tibetan monks demonstrated incidents of diabetes that could not be explained by diet and lifestyle. If you have trouble losing weight ask yourself: “Am I allowing myself to express all my emotions?”
As holistic beings, it doesn’t matter how well we eat, how many cleanses we go on or how much we exercise if we don’t take care of our emotional health. Suppressing anything in our psyche that wants to be expressed is exhausting, draining and takes up a lot of our precious energy that instead could be used to achieve great things in life.
Anger as an ally
The truth is that our anger is actually a powerful ally and it can assist us in various ways if we know how to utilize it to our advantage.
First of all, the integration of anger is very helpful when we need to keep our boundaries in check. Our anger, when used the right way, assists us in saying no to the things we don’t want to do firmly but kindly.
Acceptance of our anger and other negative emotions prevents us from feeling that we need to please others all the time and makes us recognize it when someone is trying to hurt or take advantage of us.
The reality is that not acknowledging our own anger and darkness makes it difficult for us to see it and accept it in others. When we make peace with the idea that we are not love and light all the time, and that we are not (nor expected) to be perfect, but simply human, we can allow other people to be human as well. The dismantling of this black and white, good or bad perspective of ourselves and other people can greatly expand our capacity for compassion.
Have you ever been angry about something and then used that energy to fuel great accomplishments? This is an excellent way to use the intense energy of anger!
This kind of positive aggressiveness can be a powerful motivator and it can indeed drive us towards great achievement. Anger is closely related to passion and it can carry us toward our goals.
Healthy expression of anger
When we first learn how to accept the expression of our negative emotions and allow them to exist, the experience may feel very challenging when things come up to the surface but the value of anger is important to understand. If we have been habitually suppressing emotion it will take some time to release everything that our body has been storing over years.
To assist with this purge, it can be very helpful to find an activity or ritual that can help to move old emotional experiences out of the body. For those who feel overly self-conscious or shameful when expressing anger, engaging in an activity like kickboxing or mixed martial arts can be very helpful. If this resonates with you, set the intention to release some stored anger before you begin the training session.
Another great arena for this work is movement out in nature. Find a place of solitude and scream as loud as you can. Kick, hit or do whatever feels authentic to get the anger released from your body. It should feel liberating, so find out what works for you and trust that the release will get easier and easier as you keep practicing accepting your emotions even though it may feel uncomfortable in the beginning.
Our anger serves a purpose and can be a good friend to us if we know how and when to express it. When anger comes up to the surface it is inviting us to release another layer of old pain so that we can feel more peace, calm and free in our inner world.
So, as you learn to accept and befriend anger and other challenging emotions, celebrate yourself and know that you are doing a good thing because by expressing and accepting all that you are, you are creating an anger revolution and taking action towards becoming a more integrated, whole and compassionate human being.
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