Anger, man. Love it!
Posted on February 19, 2014
This is one of our fave untruths. We all hold fast to it. We’ve never really held it up to get a good look – we’ve just plain held it up. Lorded it over ourselves. I mean, what kinda person would I be if I thought anger was some kinda good?
Let’s play a game.
Let’s hold “anger is bad” up, at a glance. You just got off the phone with your sweetie and she won’t be home when she said she would. You are angry. But – how could you act that way? Your lovey doesn’t want to stay at the presentation, it’s not her fault, but the shindig keeps going on and on. What are you thinking being angry? Stop it. How assy are you?
Now, let’s really look at it instead of just holding it up.
A feeling happened. In nanoseconds without your conscious choice, chemical bitch juices shot through you and you felt their result. That’s what a feeling is. You didn’t have a choice. That’s a fact.
So keep beating yo’self up, bitchola.
All right. So maybe something else is true here. Maybe what we really have been associating with “bad” is what we do when we’re angry. So, what did you do?
Before we play this round, forget about good, forget about bad. Good and bad are 100% subjective. We need something more objective. Enter the Litmus Test for What’s Real. It’s simple, really. Just TP-off all the layered-on subjective shit and look at this: is it separating or is it connecting?
Let’s take the test.
I do much of my work from home, and often one of my kids will ask me something when I am on my computer, deep into an email response. Anger will flare. Maybe we can all agree now that this anger response doesn’t make me a monster. Nope. What I do next does!
So, I yell at the kid. “Pretend I’m away at work like your dad is!”
Now go all LT on my ass. Yeah – Litmus Test.
So much separation in what I did. A chasm between me and the kid. And for my husband – resentment that he’s got 50+ hours a week when it is a-ok for him to work without kids around. Sure looks like I’ve got some kinda fucked-up disconnect from the things I value most in my life.
When I use the Litmus Test, I see that my action is separating, and I know I don’t want separation. It hurts. So let’s try this on about anger:
Anger is revealing.
The things anger reveals are separating conditions that require our attention.
Good or bad, bitcholas? If anger is bad, then revealing things that require our attention is bad. Bam. Anger ain’t bad! And – whoa – this creates a positive momentum. From a negative emotion. If we don’t dismiss it. It’s like this: We will see the things we need to see – the things we need to do something about – only if we are gutsy enough to look at our “ugly” feelings. Major wattage light bulb over all yo’s heads.
We will see the things we need to see – the things we need to do something about – only if we are gutsy enough to look at our “ugly” feelings.
Huh. Maybe I need to do something about how I spend my time. Maybe set aside a specific time each day to be with each kid, work-free. Maybe going to bed earlier and getting up earlier can help me spend my time how I really want to. Maybe I can have my damn time and love my damn family too – if I just take a few actions.
Holy shit. Now look what anger is:
Anger is a catalyst for connecting action.
This weekend, my sister-in-law visited, and like any good in-law, she over-stayed her welcome. At one point, she over-critiqued the workshop I had taught. I then over-stated my basis for how I taught. Over-bitchily.
Later, I noted that my anger revealed a long-standing feeling of being under-appreciated by my sister-in-law. We spent the rest of our time together under-appreciating each other. This needs addressing. This needs some momentum in the direction of connection.
Knowing I need to be more connecting isn’t enough. I won’t be able to magically find the rainbow connection. A practice is in order. Action. Doing. And I’m talking about action I can take myself – not relying on any action by the other person. Sure, optimally the other person needs to go through the process for themselves, too, to address their own separating conditions. But you can’t make them.
Connecting doesn’t mean you have to be tight with the person you’re connecting with. You just have to be Real with them. So maybe I need a practice that builds more trust in myself, so I’m not so fearful when others question me. And maybe I need to be more assertive about boundaries. Because, you know, healthy boundaries stop the separating shit from going down. Yeah. That’s a truth.
Put your anger right up on a pedestal like I did. Get gutsy. Get Real.