Using anger productively
Harnessing the power to transform
People use anger in a myriad of unproductive ways. Those that express their anger unproductively use it to blame others for their problems, prove their rightness and feel in control. People also repress their anger unproductively. Doing this allows them to be insignificant, not take a stand for themselves or what they value and not be the authority in their lives. Neither of these ways are healthy, nor do they harness the transformative power of anger.
One of the reasons why people don’t know how to work with their anger effectively is because it hasn’t been modeled in our culture. We are taught that anger is bad or scary (so we repress it) or have learned that its what we need to do to manipulate a person/situation and be seen, heard and get our needs met (express unproductive).
The real purpose and power of anger is to use it to create standards for yourself and your life. Lets say you are changing a story that you have about yourself that “you are not worthy”. You declare a new story for yourself that now says “you are pure worth and love”. In order to do this effectively you must first be fed up and pissed off enough that you’ve been dropping your standards on who you are up to this point. It must become intolerable for you to entertain the story that you are not lovable. If it is does not reach the level of intolerability you will sink back into old patterns. Anger gives you the fuel to say, “no more, this is not good enough for me, I’m never going back.”
Permissioning & directing anger
Find your fuel
Anger does not need to be explosive to be impactful. It does need to be direct, clear, unwavering and come from a place love for self and others. Productive anger has the quality of being firm in what is being conveyed or upheld, and simultaneous soft in it coming from a deeply caring place of creating greater value for all involved.
People who have learned to repress their anger they can find it challenging to permission themselves to feel it. Repressed anger can be masked in neutrality, boredom, niceness and uncertainty. For these people, in finding their anger, they will often laugh when their anger arises to disperse their uncomfortableness with it. People who have learned to express their anger unproductively find it difficult to soften and care about themselves and others in the midst of their outburst. In directing their anger they will go into blame of self or others.
Regardless of how you have learned to deal with anger in the past the goal of productive anger is to help you be your own authority by moving through victimhood into empowerment. From an empowered place you are the decision maker of what is right and wrong for you and you alone. There is only your standards for your life and you are accountable to keep them. It is moving through layers of conditioning about what you’ve been taught about how things work and who you are, to becoming the determiner, creator and master of your life. Productive anger is key in this process of providing the fuel to transform the places you keep yourself small so that you can shine in your magnificence. Using anger productively is fiercely loving yourself enough to care about your life.
Dr. Amanda Hessel, DC, Network Spinal Analysis & Somato-Respiratory Integration, Boulder, Colorado