We all experience anger, no matter how hard we try not to. We get mad at our significant other for not taking out the trash. We shake our fist at the driver who cuts us off on the way to work. We become righteously indignant when someone has an opinion that we don't agree with.
We've learned, though, that good people don't get angry, so we stuff it down, ignore it, or hide it from the world. Anger is not an emotion that we want to have. I mean, it's not good for anything, so we need to get rid of it, right?
While anger has a bit of a bad rap, it can actually be a powerful tool when used correctly. Dr Jill Ammon-Wexler says in her book "Amaze Yourself-Take a Quantum Leap" that "most modern societies teach us that anger is negative and that we should avoid or repress our anger. This does allow societies to better control their members, but is anger really negative, or is repression of anger just based on social convenience?"
She also says "Anger is simply energy in motion. It's what you choose to do with your anger that makes it a positive or negative force in your life".
Let's think about that for a moment. The two most powerful emotions that we have are anger and love. When we are trying to manifest things that we want in our lives, the only way to do that is to surround our thoughts with intense emotion in order to create them.
We know that love and joy can certainly do that, but can we use anger in the same way? If we are already angry, instead of stuffing it down or trying to banish it from our mind, maybe we can use it to create something wonderful instead.
Anger can be a huge catalyst for change. Remember that anger is energy in motion, so let it move you to create positive change in this world. Once upon a time, some ladies got angry with having to stay home on Election Day, so from that anger they created the suffragette movement. If they hadn't, women still wouldn't have the right to vote.
Anger can create passion, and sometimes a fire in your belly is exactly what you need to get things done. It can be like rocket fuel.
We can also use anger to create change within ourselves. When I get upset with someone about something that I can't change, instead of trying to forget about it or hold on to it, I do an exercise that's appropriately called the "anger meditation".
I sit on my bed and think about what's making me angry. Instead of trying to fight it, I let myself get really mad. I mean really, really mad. I yell into a pillow and punch it a few times for good measure. After awhile, the anger always dissipates, but I force myself to stay angry for a few more minutes.
By this time, I just feel silly and usually start laughing. Expelling that excess energy always creates some space so that I have room to realize where the anger came from in the first place. This helps me change the things that I can and let go of the rest.
A friend of mine recently used anger in an interesting way. She had been mourning the loss of her husband, and after four years, decided that she was ready for joy again. The problem was that she just couldn't find it. She tried everything to get there, but after awhile, she started to get angry. She KNEW she deserved some joy, especially after everything that she'd been through, but it was nowhere in sight.
One day, she had finally had it. In a fury, she threw her hands up in the air and said "Okay Universe. I WANT SOME JOY NOW!!". Surprisingly, it worked. That angry release, that demand, changed everything for her. She is currently one of the happiest people that I know.
So the next time you get angry, stop and take a look at it. Don't shove it into a corner until it manifests into an illness, or scream like a shrew at your husband or wife. Say to yourself, "Okay, I'm angry about this, so what am I going to do about it? Can I use this anger to change things?". If the answer is no, then go beat your pillow.
Barbara Buck is an Aries with six planets in sun signs, and Irish to boot, so she knows a thing or two about anger. She is also a Reconnective Healing Practitioner, writer, and instructor in Phoenix, Arizona. For more information, or to schedule an appointment, please visit www.barbarabuck.org.