There are all sorts of negatively geared discussions towards anger we see floating around. Anger is labeled as a poisonous chalice, a useless and destructive emotion, a negative thinking habit that needs to be completely eradicated for any chance at cultivating a positive life.
But to deny the existence of anger within ourselves or its existence in our surrounding world is to ignore reality and with it all the possible lessons it can teach us, if instead of suppressing it, we sit with it and listen to what it has to say.
1. Anger teaches us to interact with people.
Having to deal with people on a daily basis for a dozen different reasons be it social, work related, or just trying to avoid getting shoulder barged as you walk down the street to get milk can often feel like the bane of our existence.
Usually in our relations sphere we behave more reactively than responsively, letting our emotions get the better of us and affect our approach and attitudes towards people.
Let’s be real, some people are just shit — rude, ignorant, unconscientious, and whatever else you can think of.
Interacting with these types can be hard at the best of times, more so if you yourself are a bit of a sensitive person. Sometimes one poorly toned email from just one person can piss us off for the rest of the day or week.
It’s natural to get angry in these kinds of situations, but let your anger teach you how to respond to all situations you may face calmly.
Try and understand what exactly about that email is so frustrating, accept it for what it is, and carry on handling the situation in your nice, well-intentioned way, then let it go.
2. Anger teaches us to deal with people.
You know this one definitely deserves at least two bullet points. Following on from the above, sometimes it stems deeper than a particular situation a person may create or involve us in, and boils down to the fact that you yourself feel misunderstood which leads to further frustration.
Never in a million years would you add intentional added pressure onto another, so you feel slighted when someone does the same to you.
Nor would you let whatever you’re really feeling result in any kind of potentially hurtful behavior, so you feel bitter when someone else thinks it’s just fine to do it to you. You are a spoon in a world of forks and sometimes that reality just sucks.
3. Anger teaches us growth.
In karmic circles we hear that an unresolved issue in life doesn’t truly go away until we learn the lesson it has to teach.
Though we may eventually overcome one display of a particular issue and feel all proud of ourselves, it’s easy to lose your shit when the same issue arises again three years later, just with a different hat on.
This is annoying, no doubt. After all that grunt work and tears shed, you still have to deal with the same shit all over again.
“When will it end?!” you think and scream as you sit in your car that’s parked on the street in the middle of the night because you don’t want to disturb your household with your mood swings.
Best case scenario, you accept that it is in fact happening all over again and you take heed in the fact that if you’ve overcome it once, you can sure as shit do it again.
4. Anger teaches us patience.
More often that not, when feelings of anger swell up inside us, there’s an element of impatient attached to it.
Whether it’s because we’ve been waiting forever in some doctor’s office, with no update as our mental to-do lists for the day pile up and up, or because we’ve invested so much time and energy into our professional efforts without it yielding any kind of visible benefits yet.
When we think we deserve something, we begin to expect it. Expectations breed disappointment and herein lies cousin anger.
In general, learning to act without expectation will lessen many chances for shit to hit the fan later on, which our future selves will thank us for.
5. Anger teaches us to heal.
Perhaps the biggest lesson of all. If you’ve experienced any kind of deep seated pain, grief/loss, abuse or trauma, regardless of how long ago the initial event may have occurred, chances are you still haven’t fully healed from the situation(s).
It’s been nearly 17 years and I know I’m still nowhere near close to feeling fully better, despite a lot of progress within that time. Even if you don’t behave angrily in public, your inner self may still walk around with a bit of a chip on its shoulder, a big ass sack filled with weights tied to its ankles and pockets overflowing with trust issues.
Your life might even feel like a seesaw (despite appearances that you have it all together). One day you’re brimming with confidence and soaring high, the next your an inconsolable puddle of anxiety, sadness, and frustration.
And I know you’re tired, I know you’ve had enough, and I know your angry because none of it was your fault either, but see point four.
Anger is teaching us, all of us, that healing — like all good things — takes time and the sooner you learn to be okay with that the sooner you’re able to give yourself the space you need to truly heal.