Have you ever felt like you needed to make sure you don’t get angry?
Do you feel like anger just makes people do bad things, so needs to be avoided?
Do you feel like there’s no point in being angry, so you make sure you don’t waste your time feeling it?
Maybe you’re pretty sure anger does nothing more than make people shout or get violent, and those are usually destructive and definitely not professional, so you know you better than to do it?
Maybe you’ve just had your own anger dismissed or shamed repeatedly, so you at least make sure to keep it to yourself.
There’s a lot of judgment around anger and … I think people really just have it wrong.
There are a few things anger does that we usually refuse to acknowledge because our culture (and by that I mean the English-speaking West) tends to be afraid of anger and try to make sure it’s avoided at all costs.
And after deliberately avoiding and suppressing your anger long enough, the result is usually you becoming passive-aggressive. (I know that was definitely the result with me)
You might notice this if you ever try to directly resolve something with someone who is being passive-aggressive.
You come to them, outline the weird things they’ve been doing, and ask “What’s up? Why are you doing this?” and they say “Nothing’s up. There’s no problem.” and then walk away.
This person is not trying to mess with your head. They’ve just suppressed their anger so well they genuinely can’t feel it, and don’t know it’s there.
Self-improvement types generally get that it’s best to not be passive-aggressive, so in the interests of preventing this from happening to you, let’s actually get into the positive things anger does.
1. Anger is information that one of your boundaries has been crossed, or something you strongly value is now at risk.
So, yes, it’s information, and information that comes with a punch to motivate you into some kind of action.
If someone betrays your trust, you’re hopefully at least a little angry (unless you never had much trust in that person to begin with).
If you look around in the world and see things you think are horrible and should never happen, you hopefully feel at least a little angry.
Not very long ago, a very large country elected a president that shocked and concerned people in many many parts of the world.
A lot of people, (especially in the United States) were pretty angry.
Someone who behaves the way Trump does in a position of huge power like that violates a lot of peoples’ boundaries. And it violated a lot of trust in that country’s election system.
Trump’s election put a lot of things a lot of people strongly value at risk. (It certainly did for me, and I don’t even live in the US). People were angry, and it’s not bad that they were.
2. Anger helps you process emotional pain.
Years ago, I heard from one Tapping practitioner whose name I don’t remember (and if you know his name please let me know) the analogy of anger as a warm fire. If you’re out on a frozen prairie, hurt and crying, would you rather cry out in the cold and dark? Or by a bright warm bonfire as you recover?
Anger is the fire. When you’ve been hurt, betrayed, or strongly knocked down anger keeps you buoyed enough to not be completely crushed by what’s happened.
It keeps you in a place where you are still able to do something, and in a place where you can still feel your worth.
Since anger helps you process other hurts, tapping on it can give you tons of other information: you peel it back and see what else is there to tap on.
3. Anger can be a gateway to further empowerment.
This comes from the wonderful Abraham-Hicks. I’ve posted their emotional guidance scale in this previous post. If you take a look, you notice there’s a sort of order to your feelings, with the best-feeling ones at the top, and the worst-feeling ones at the bottom.
Moving up the scale feels good, and moving down the scale feels bad.
Your emotions probably have a slightly different different order, (for you doubt might feel better than disappointment, for example) but your own emotional scale will still be fairly similar to this.
In all fairness, anger is not far up the scale: there are a lot of other emotions that genuinely feel better, and improve your energy (conventional I-can-get-things-done energy, as well as new-agey attracting-better-things energy).
Anger is still higher than guilt, fear, despair, and powerlessness. You can deliberately move up the scale, a bit at a time.
No one’s going to jump from fear, guilt, or despair up to appreciation/empowerment, or even contentment all at once. They’ll need to take several steps in between.
And generally, you’ll need to spend a bit of time in or around anger (such as revenge or hatred) to even get up to blame or worry.
In my opinion, part of why so many people get stuck in despair, fear, guilt, etc. is because we so strongly keep anger off-limits. They need it to get to a better-feeling place.
So am I saying, “Deliberately get angry more often, it’s really great.”? No, that’s not what I mean.
What I’m saying is don’t make anger forbidden, don’t make it off-limits, and definitely don’t dismiss it as useless or a sham.
Just because you feel angry doesn’t mean you’ll automatically give someone a public verbal blasting, start punching people, or implode your entire career.
It does mean something is wrong. Don’t ignore that, and please do not try to shut down your radar that lets you detect that.
So when you’ve detected it, go there and see what’s behind it. These will either be deeper things to shift with tapping, (like if it's helping you process pain) or it will highlight something you value and want to defend, or show you that someone is crossing you .