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Healthy Anger

I have noticed an unhealthy trend going around, especially in the New Age Movement. Anger is perceived as a bad thing. It is labelled as a "negative feeling that must be avoided" or having "lover vibrations". I believe this thinking to be untrue.

Like with all feelings, they communicate important messages to us. We all have boundaries that we all like to have respected: physical, emotional, intellectual, and spiritual. And if we are lucky, we have grown up having the freedom to express them safely at home. However, many of us don't. Some parents oftentimes don't know how to manage their anger and wound us instead. As a result, we fear to express our true opinion, or worse, fear people.

When someone is violating your physical boundaries, anger will be signalling to you that this is not OK and that it's time for you to act and protect yourself. This could be by saying, "No, stop, enough," or by removing yourself from the situation if that is possible.

I understand that sometimes, saying no requires work, so that is for you to recognise and work on it. Why aren't you able to say no? Is it a fear of rejection or creating conflict? What price do you pay instead? Is it out of fear for your life? Always remember, you have a right to say no. If you believe yourself or someone else is in danger, please reach out for help.

I acknowledge that the above isn't always possible, and so, the anger is repressed. It turns inwards. We might want to dissociate, self-medicate or even hurt others. Our mood is immediately affected, and over time this unacknowledged anger works its way in our body and can be somatised, manifesting as anxiety, depression and addiction. I know this from my own experience. There is always something that you can do to acknowledge this feeling. However small, acknowledgement and attention are what is needed.

I am sure that we all have experienced anger coming up when our belief system is questioned when we are being challenged. This can be scary. But not all systems are good and need to be questioned.

Anger, when acknowledged and acted upon positively, can make a change. Consider Rosa Parks or Emmeline Pankhurst, for example. Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat on the racially segregated bus. How lucky are we that those who felt the anger back then took action? This is really what this feeling is calling you to do, take the right action. It's about understanding the anger, the source of the anger, and channelling it into something good. Stand up for yourself, and by this, for others.

Another example of feeling injustice and anger and using it in an empowering way is Mahatma Gandhi. If it weren't for anger and love, he would not have led the successful campaign for India's Independence from British Rule. The people were led to freedom, and Gandhi inspired a movement for civil rights. He is an excellent example of a 'peaceful warrior' and how an expression of love and emotion of anger can be used in a healthy way, intelligent way. Martin Luther King is another.

Anger is signalling action and protection. The action doesn't have to mean you need to strike back or lead a world movement but initiate a conversation between two people, where you can be listened to and understand the roots of it. Give a voice to buried feelings for yourself and your family.

We all are fully aware of the expression of anger in our world that causes harm. It is time to change that by learning individually to attend first to our feelings for our children and the world.

If you are struggling to understand and manage your feelings of anger - whatever the cause - you may benefit from counselling. On Counselling Directory, you learn more about counselling for anger and find a therapist online or near you.

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