When my daughter gets angry, she gets angry. She goes into her room and wails. She screams. She shouts her injustice and lists her emotional injuries to an invisible audience. Sometimes she growls. When she is particularly worked up, she throws things. It’s as if she strips out of her little girl skin and becomes a gnashing, wild thing with a distinctively feminine energy to her rage. I don’t know how to explain it other than that; she becomes the pure, animal body of a woman scorned.
It doesn’t happen often. She is like me with her temper; quick to flare and quick to forgive. It takes a lot to push us to the toy throwing stage. When she is done, she emerges out of her room with a calmness that is as equally fascinating to me as the rage. She has expressed herself, got it all out of her body, and now she is ready to take responsibility and get on with her life. I find myself slightly in awe of her presence when she has reached this stage.
I learn so much from my children about how to be in my own skin and trust my nature. In helping my children to work with the energy of their emotions in a productive way, I’m learning the same thing for myself. I’m learning that when anger rises up on the horizon, a large, powerful wave, it is time for me to take a deep breath, center myself and be prepared to paddle for it.
Storms happen in our lives and they generate energy. That energy is nonnegotiable. It will pass through us and we have a choice as to how to relate to it. Part of my path of being fearlessly kind is to work with this energy, to surf along its face instead of being tossed around by it.
There has always been a streak of fire in me but I haven’t always respected this part of my nature. At times it has caused me anxiety because I’ve also been a people pleaser. Sometimes personal integrity means that not everyone is going to be happy with you, and that is okay. I’m learning to be fearless in accepting my strengths as much as I accept and admire the strengths I see in my friends.
Sometimes the only way I can make peace with something is by having a good old fashioned tantrum. Sometimes I need to shake my fist at the wave before I paddle for it. Sometimes I need to kick my toys and feel sorry for myself until I’m ready to sit down and listen to the lesson. Like my children, I have emotional growing pains.
I’m beginning to relate to my anger as a friend that doesn’t mince words. It is a friend that isn’t interested in having its existence defined by a specific event or person or wrongdoing. My anger just wants to exist and have a conversation with my spirit. It has no tolerance for blaming other people or making excuses. Those things are like the wrong wind messing up a clean wave. Anger just wants to rise up and break. It wants to be what it is and deliver its message to the shore.
Anger, I’m discovering, is a powerful ally if I allow it to be.
How do you relate to your anger?
Photo credit: Max the Brown Tabby and Burt the Grey Kitten: Cat Argument 3 by Found Animals Foundation is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. www.foundanimals.org