Have you noticed lately that we don’t seem to be doing anything low key? Everything just seems big and loud. Lots of strong feelings. The one that I notice most is anger. So, what do we do with the anger that percolates inside of each of us?
If you are like me, anger is exhausting when not channeled productively. I know what you are thinking…can anger be productive? Yes. The key is to not get carried away on the tsunami of emotion. Instead you ride the anger, harness its power, and use it to transform not only yourself but the world.
I can almost hear your thoughts of disbelief. Yes, they are that loud. How do I know? I have them, too. In fact, I used to be embarrassed by my anger until I realized something. It’s not anger that is bad or inappropriate. It’s our reaction to those uncomfortable, strong feelings. So, how can anger be productive?
Ride the Anger
Anger has two kinds of energy: power and force. Let’s talk about force first. Have you every exerted force on something and wound up breaking it because you pushed or pulled too hard? Think about detangling a necklace. If you have ever knotted one, you know how mindful you need to be when working out the knots.
How do you work out the knot? You use your power. Instead of getting frustrated, you have control. You are aware of not only the tangle, but how it impacts your physical being, your mental stance, and your emotions. You breathe though all of them to a place of calm.
That is how you ride the anger. You are aware of the feeling but you don’t feed it. You sit with it to understand it. You wait for the message of the anger to rise so that you can better understand the roots of the anger. The message inherent in the anger is the power of the anger.
Harness the Anger
You’ve ridden the anger to the message. So, what was the message? Did you discover the why of the anger? Or, maybe you just understand that the anger has nothing to do with you. Or, maybe it is highlighting a deep fear. Name what the anger is telling you.
This naming shifts you from a place of reaction into a place of response. How can you hold onto the anger when you have a conversation with it? When you dig into the hurt and despair at its roots? You cannot. When the force of anger no longer touches you, you have harnessed the power of the anger.
This harnessing gives you an opportunity to choose how you will respond with compassion to yourself, to others stuck in the situation, and to the world. When you harness anger’s power, that act triggers the power of goodness, the power of compassion, the power of integrity inside of you.
Transform the Anger
You rode the anger to be aware of it; not to feed its roots. Riding the anger reduces the force of the emotion. You harnessed the anger to name the message. Harnessing the anger gave you the power to shift from a place of reaction to a place of response. Now it is time to transform the anger.
The rawness of the anger is now diminished. What remains is pure power. Like an alchemist, you gain the ability to change the lead of reaction into the gold of response. How will you choose? To say you are going to respond is easy. To do it, well, that’s hard.
During this last step, I ask, what is the most loving, gentle thing I can do? Then I do it. I may not always get it right, but I am less likely to react from the force of anger. And, in my response, I begin to sink roots of lovingkindness into my life. I become the change that I desperately want to see in the world.
It Really Is An Inside Job
The external is not as important as the internal. In transforming the anger, I transform myself. Then changing the world becomes less important. What is important is that I am a safe harbor, a compassionate presence in this uncertain world.