In our society it is considered that there are good and bad emotions. The anger would be the worst. It must be avoided. Cover it; not feel it. Error. Like any emotion, anger has a meaning. And because of its strength and energy, it hides enormous power for our personal growth.
If they were useless, if they had to be hidden, covered and not lived, emotions would not exist. But they exist. Why? Emotions provide us with valuable information, our environment and ourselves. And it is exactly the same with rage.
Does that sound like the essential is invisible to the eyes? Well, that. Emotions provide us with that essential and invisible information. And, furthermore, as if that weren’t enough, they predispose us to action. Hence emovere, the root of emotion, which means “from where we move”. It is clear that, if we go to a dinner from the emotion of fear, joy, disgust or surprise, our disposition to that dinner, and the dinner itself, will be different.
AND WHAT DOES RAGE TELL US?
What does it inform us of when we are so angry that we want to yell, hit, offend even punish who we consider to be the cause of our anger? Let’s start by looking at the corporeality that accompanies this emotion.
What comes to mind when we think of someone experiencing anger? Someone showing his fists, his arms tense, his jaw clenched. There is contained force. There is energy that wants to come out. An explosion. We want to expand, we feel trapped, we want to widen the limits that imprison us. There we have two keywords. Limits and prison.
LET’S START WITH THE LIMITS
We feel angry because we consider that some limit has been crossed without our permission and without our being able to avoid it. Suddenly our living space is smaller. We feel trapped in the situation and that is unfair. The second keyword appears here. Prison.
And if we are victims, it means that someone is guilty. Here is our judgment. And every trial carries a punishment. That is why there is so much aggressiveness, energy and violence, in anger. To punish the guilty and to put the limits back in place.
Anger leads us to relocate. That is information and that is its power if we know what is important to us, we can put it back in its place.
USING ANGER TO OUR ADVANTAGE
Accepting and identifying that we are experiencing the emotion of anger is the first step. Be aware of that energy and try to live it without hurting ourselves or others. No punishment. We can scream, we can write in a notebook everything that goes through our hearts.
We can even do what the Eskimos do, who go out for a walk in the snow until their anger subsides (they measure their anger by meters). So, by accepting our anger, we can
- Identify what limit has been crossed. What is important that we have not been able to protect or has been taken away from us without further ado. Is it respect? Is it feeling cared for? Valued? What is our anger telling us about?
- Relocate. It is the turn to reposition the limits. To talk to that person and explain that we do not accept that situation. We don’t want it. That there are some borders that we do not want to be crossed. And for this it will be important.
- Use other emotions. Because we are going to make a request, a claim. And it will be more productive if we don’t yell or smack. We will have to use the courage to speak, the empathy to understand why that person has acted like this with us, the humility to (why not) accept that we have misinterpreted. We will have to put other emotions into play for, in the end, maybe, the joy that the limits of our life are where we want them to be.