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Soulful Sundays: Good Anger

"Fear leads to anger, anger leads to hate, hate leads to suffering..." -Yoda

I know that it sounds hokey, but when you really consider these words you will find them to be true. Fear and anger are both normal human emotions. It is when they become dominant over other emotions that we start to see trouble (violence, revenge, hurt, etc.). Does anyone need reminding of that?

I will admit that I have had periods of my life dominated by anger. Anger that was created earlier in my childhood by circumstances that were beyond my control (my parents' divorce) and unable to express itself outwardly. So I turned it inward. I became highly self-critical and simultaneously self-important. I used anger as a way to stay aloof and avoid connection. It has taken many years and lots of friends to help me realize this and let my anger go. In doing so I have learned a great deal about the pesky emotion and how it can be used for as much good as bad.

Good anger (sometimes called righteous anger) has a place, but it must be managed. The adult mind can, and should be able to, contain anger plus compassion. Compassion is key for tempering and directing the anger into areas that make a positive impact on our lives This lesson is very important to teach to our children who tend to either express anger uncontrollably or bottle it up.

Let's say someone has wronged you, or you are upset with a situation in your life, or you despise some part of yourself. I challenge you to have compassion for yourself and the ones you think who have wronged you, and hold the possibility that change is attainable. Then plan out the one (non-violent) thing you can do right now to start that process. Like Gandhi said, "Be the change that you wish to see in the world." We must take responsibility and not hide behind anger as an excuse for not doing the right thing.

How have you confronted and used anger in your own lives? Is there anyone you know who is angry who would benefit from some compassion right now? Be kind to one another.

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