There are a number of ways in which people deal with anger. As it is a fiery and fast arising emotion many people are scared of their anger, often supressing it as they fear their anger will hurt others. Other people welcome their anger as a false sense of personal power, feeling strong because they can tap into this angry energy in given situations. Culturally, certain nations such as Thailand shun the expression of anger and certain groups believe it is a personal flaw to be angry.
Ultimately, none of the above stated ways to deal with anger is a healthy or a successful strategy in a person’s life, leading to negative repercussions.
Emotional anger can leave us stewing for long periods of time, causing great stress to the body’s physical wellbeing. In my experience, the emotional feelings of anger are masking the feelings of pain under it. In an analogy, just as we are protective of a cut on our arm, where we do our best to avoid situations where people can bump or touch our wound, so too is anger used to protect ourselves from experiencing our own feelings of pain.
“Your anger is only hiding your pain”
It is a healthy strategy for us to protect the wound on our arm but the same strategy to protect ourselves from our own emotional pain is not. Anger is being used to not only protect ourselves from someone else touching our pain but it prevents us from doing so as well. Again in my experience I have found that my clients who have been holding onto anger have not yet fully felt their pain that the anger is hiding them from. It’s a bit like trying to clear the smoke from the room without putting the fire out. Once the painful fire is extinguished, the anger clears with it as there is no more pain to protect.
“trying to clear the smoke from the room without putting the fire out”
As with any supressed emotion, supressing anger is harmful to us. Supressing anger is particularly harmful because this emotion can be very intense and supressing it leads to increased distortions in our lives, including addictions and relationship issues. As with any emotion, it needs to be acknowledged, felt fully, experienced, before it can be cleared.
Some people are afraid to feel their anger for they fear they will act on it causing harm to others. And while it is true many people act unconsciously out of anger causing great suffering around them, what I am suggesting is that you can give conscious space to this feeling, acknowledging your anger with conscious intent. By thus setting your intention to consciously feel your feelings prevents you from acting out the feelings of anger to cause you and others suffering.
“What feelings of hurt are behind my anger?”
A particularly helpful approach is to ask yourself as you experience anger, “what feelings of hurt are behind my anger? What am I really hurting about?” Entering your angry feelings with conscious intent and questioning the nature of your anger will help you to go through this gateway into the underlying feelings of pain that the anger was hiding. Once this pain is truly felt and experienced, the anger will clear as well.
Going into anger is always very transformative, often bringing us instant emotional relief due to the intensity of the feelings that were cleared. Instead of seeing anger as a problem, view it as a powerful gateway that allows you to grow from the experience, bringing you into deeper realms of peace.
Published: January 2015