The Incredible Healing Power of Your Anger
I know what you’re thinking. There’s no room for anger in a spiritually-anchored world, right? We’re all supposed to simply be chanting and Namaste-ing and practicing loving kindness.
Well yes. Ultimately, this peaceful space is one that we’d all like to sit in the majority of the time. It feels better and radiates positivity into a world that desperately needs it.
But in the honouring of ourselves, our paths and our unfolding, all emotions need to be experienced. If we don’t, we become fragmented – splintered apart. And that certainly won’t take us to a place of authentic healing.
Dr. Mario Martinez, a clinical neuropsychologist, has done a deep dive into how our given culture impacts our biology. One of the fascinating pieces of research he came across was how Tibetan Monks have an unusually high rate of diabetes. This was a head scratcher for researchers because their diet is relatively healthy and their lifestyle is certainly exemplary.
The missing puzzle piece came in this fascinating and ground-breaking discovery.
Tibetan Monks are trained to continually come back to loving kindness. In fact, their entire practice is to return, again and again, to loving kindness.
This is what is known as the Spiritual Bypass.
Due to the cultural beliefs that are woven into the Tibetan Monk culture, the grittier emotions are considered harmful. Therein lies the bypass.
So even when anger is appropriate, they bypass the anger and go right to loving kindness.
I know this bypass all too well. I grew up believing that to be the ‘sweet girl’ who said yes when she wanted to say no…who allowed when she wanted to disallow…who shut her mouth when she wanted to scream…believed that this was the superior and more actualized way of being.
I was wrong. So, so wrong.
We have times in our lives when we come up against something that throws us on our ass. And when that proverbial bitch-slap knocks us down, the most appropriate response is anger.
Anger is appropriate when we need to use our voice to set a boundary in the face of someone overstepping such boundaries.
Anger is appropriate when you’ve been denied your voice, your rights, your personal space, and your overall welfare.
Anger is appropriate in the face of betrayal, condemnation, abuse, abandonment and violence.
Anger is appropriate in the face of another’s betrayal, condemnation, abuse, abandonment and violence.
How could it not be? Are we to sweetly set boundaries or self-protect or protect another in the face of someone who doesn’t know any better? Do we think a sociopath (to which 25% of the population falls somewhere on this spectrum) will respect, allow, love, and create compassionate space for you or another in the face of being asked kindly?
And so there are times when anger can mobilize an otherwise immobilized situation. It can yell NO! in the face of an unjust situation. Even if that is simply someone in your life that continuously discounts or disrespects you.
The sweet way only gets us so far.
When you give your body the visceral voice that it so dearly longs for, our immune system, nervous system, and endocrine system can get the much needed relief from the knowing that its caretaker (you) are standing up for it.
In fact, the message that gets inextricably sent to the body is this.
I love you so much that nobody is going to fuck with you. I love you so much that I will take care of you and allow you to speak up and stand up and show up. I’m in this for YOU.
And that, my friends, is a healthy, empowered, normal response to betrayal, injustice, violence and abandonment.
The trick is, not to stay there. Anytime we overstay our welcome in any one emotional state, it begins to have deleterious effects. The idea is to go there…go there fully…know that you have a right to shout out your disbelief and outrage. And then let it burn itself out.
When emotion is fully felt, accepted and expressed, it’s a fast burn. It comes and it goes and we exhale and say, Okay, I’ve done my part. Now back to peace.
And know that peace – true peace – is only possible when all of our feelings are given equal consideration.
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