Thursday, April 28, 2011

Unblocking the Ally - Habitual Anger

For many years of my life, anger was my only emotion. It took a lot of thawing to get past that, in part because I was "trained" to behave that way, as are many men.

We can't repress anger - that's also destructive - so getting to know our anger and the emotions it is covering over is important to our becoming whole healthy men. This is one area of my life where meditation has been essential to my personal growth.

Becoming mindful of the ways and the whys I became (and still become) angry helped me learn what was real anger (and this Daily Om points out, anger is a powerful ally when it's "clean") and when the anger was just the easier, habitual emotion (often covering fear or anxiety for me).

The blocking of anger often results in rage - out-of-control, violent, pathological anger. We damage ourselves and risk hurting others if we allow her anger to get pushed down until it becomes rage.

Unblocking the Ally
Habitual Anger

Anger can easily become our go-to emotion; to remedy, start noticing when and why you get angry.

Sometimes when we feel anger, it is coming from a deep place that demands acknowledgment and expression. At these times, it is important that we find healthy ways to honor our anger, remembering how dangerous it is to repress it. However, anger can also become a habit, our go-to emotion whenever things go wrong. Often this is because, for whatever reason, we feel more comfortable expressing anger than we do other emotions, like sadness. It can also be that getting angry gives us the impression that we’ve done something about our problem. In these cases, our habitual anger is inhibiting both our ability to express our other emotions and to take action in our lives.

If it’s true that anger is functioning this way in your life, the first thing you might want to try is to notice when you get angry. You might begin to see a pattern of some kind. For example, you could notice that it is always your first response or that it comes up a lot in one particular situation. If the pattern doesn’t become clear right away, you could try keeping a journal about when you get angry and see if you can find any underlying meaning. The good thing about keeping a journal is that you can explore your anger more deeply in it—from examining who in your family of origin expressed a lot of anger to how you feel when you encounter anger in others. This kind of awareness can be a formidable agent of transformation.

Anger can be a powerful ally, since it is filled with energy that we can harness and use to create change in the world. It is one of the most cathartic emotions, and it can also be a very effective cleanser of the emotional system. However, when it becomes a habit, it actually loses its power to transform and becomes an obstacle to growth. Identifying the role anger plays in your life and restoring it to its proper function can bring new energy and expansiveness to your emotional life.

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