I recently co-lead An Anger Break-Through workshop. Every year I do this, I am more and more convinced of the power of anger and how it could be used for creative forces rather than destructive forces. But all too often, when anger is unleashed, it comes out in a hurtful way, making the other person wrong, blaming them, and slowly destroying the relationship if unchecked. Even though anger feels powerful, it is often disempowering, when you’re attributing your anger to someone else, rather than owning what you’re truly feeling underneath. Anger is often a “secondary emotion”, masking a deeper emotion layered by protection. Here’s how you work with it:
- First of all, know that anger can be a very cleansing, necessary emotion to help wake another person (whom you’re directing your anger) up. If you can make it your intention that anger is used for the service of another, it’s easier to express it. THINK: IT’S FOR THEIR SAKE! Anger can be viewed as a form of love, if done for the sake of love. Generally, however, our female brain is not wired to immediately jump to anger. The amygdala is the brain center for fear and anger, and is larger in men. The prefrontal cortex, which controls fear and anger, is larger in women. Thus, our brains are wired to hijack anger and suppress it, rather than express it. You may be reluctant to express it. Know that this is normal as a woman. But when you do feel rumblings of it, here’s the next step:
- Before you express it, connect with the other person. Look into their eyes, connect with their heart. Feel their heart, rather than just focusing on the offense you just experienced.
- Open your heart, your breath, and feel the possible layers of emotions underneath the anger. Often times, it’s hurt or sadness, and anger is used as a protective shield to show the more tender emotions. If you ARE feeling the more tender emotions, they become the more authentic emotion. That’s what you truly want to express. Anger was just the catalyst to get you there.
- If you do feel anger, still connect with their heart. Feel the love you have for them…Even if you don’t feel love in the moment (understandable!)…feel the ache in your heart to be seen…understood. Feel how you want to declare how much you care for them by telling them that you are angry….You know you want to serve them into greater love and understanding, and anger is the portal to do so. Don’t make them wrong. Transform them into love, instead. FOR THEIR SAKE. If anger is a vehicle for greater openness, it’s a gift. If you use it to spew toxic waste at someone, it’s disempowering…on both sides, and it’s often the result of something you experienced in a deep wound, and your partner/friend is just triggering it. You don’t have to make them pay for your past. Do let them know how you’re feeling in your deepest heart, now.
- Feel the anger in your entire body, not just your head (not staying in the story, the blame, etc). Let yourself be a Goddess of Anger – dance with it, move to it. Otherwise, it implodes in you. Instead, use it as a channel to more embodiment…more connection with your own body, and possibly to his/hers.
Connection with their heart is key. Excavating your true emotion (if not anger) is also key. Making anger a gift with an open heart and body is the portal to using anger as a creative force rather than a destructive one that can destroy relationships. It’s easier said than done, but if you start today, you start to have a relationship with anger where you dance with it, rather than let it pull you in directions you don’t want to go.