Anger is a natural emotion. Anger is a useful emotion. Anger, when resolved properly, is a healthy Steering Emotion that helps keep us safe and strong by steering us in a direction of safety and health. When we feel anger, it is usually because somebody or something is violating a psychological, emotional, spiritual, or physical boundary of ours, and causing us discomfort or harm.
You can understand the nature of anger by doing a simple thought experiment. Imagine you are sitting in a chair, minding your own business, and somebody comes up and starts stepping on your toes (i.e. violating a physical boundary). They are hurting you. What do you do? A healthy person gets angry, and the anger motivates you to take action. You stand up, yell at them to back off, and push them so they fall back on their bum. Surprised, they stop. Your anger has motivated you to action, and this action has led to the cessation of the boundary violation.
In an ideal world, when you get angry at someone, they will stop their assaults. We don’t live in an ideal world. As a result, often even when we get angry, people don’t stop. In fact sometimes when you get angry, the person causing your anger reacts back with more force, laughing at you, dismissing you, belittling you, and even physically harming you. This is what happens when children get angry at their parents, and the parents lash out and hit back. This is what bosses sometimes do when their employees express anger and concern.
When your anger doesn’t work to stop an assault, or worse, when the other person is a bully and they just hit you back, the anger doesn’t just “go away.” It either gets internalized or redirected. Internalized anger is anger that gets turned inside and directed at you. Redirected anger is anger directed at other than the appropriate target. Anger redirection is what happens when capitalists redirect people’s anger at poverty and unemployment, and redirect it to “immigrants,” “women,” Jews, and others who aren’t the real cause of the problem, but are useful as a scapegoat.
When your anger is suppressed or redirected, you will never resolve your angry. If it is internalized, it will eat you up from the inside. If it is externalized, it will make you violent and easy to manipulate by any individual or politician who a) knows you are angry and b) is willing to exploit that. In all cases, unresolved anger makes you sick and disconnects you. It is important that you resolve any anger you have internalized or redirected.
The first step towards resolving anger is to see if you are, in fact, anger. The short assessment below measures the extent to which you are angry. If your anger reading is high, this may mean you have unresolved anger. If you do, you have to figure out what the original source of that anger is so you can clear the anger and move towards healing and connection.
If you are feeling higher levels of anger, consult with a healing professional or, for self-directed work, read Lightning Path Workbook Two, Lightning Path Workbook Three, and download and complete a free LP HEALING Map. If you are a registered student, you can seek guidance from peers and LP Connection Coaches on the LP Healing Forum.
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