1. Anger acts as the check engine light. When you notice anger coming up in your body: stomach, chest, face, etc, it’s time to slow down and pull the car over to check in with what is really going on. (Car is you; Engine is your heart)
Without anger we cannot love ourselves or any other human.
2. Anger will bring clarity to your own boundaries. It sounds like this : “This is what I am willing to do and this is what I’m not.” “This is the hell yes in my life and this is the hell no.” It saddens me that many people, including myself, miss the clarity in their life due to the fear of feeling one of the most vulnerable feelings there is…their anger…their anger that shows the world what they truly care about. I believe that one of the greatest acts of evil is that churches and parents across America are teaching young men and women to be “nice” and to shut down their anger. This has led to generations of lost humans working to hide how much they really care, instead of fighting for what they do care about.
3. Anger will ignite a passion inside of you to be willing to be in pain for something worth more than the pain. This is what I experience to be LOVE. Without anger we cannot love ourselves or any other human. “It is painful to love and be loved AND it is worth the pain” says Anger (and Chip Dodd).
Underneath his anger was his grief and pain for something he had lost that he wanted.
In closing, I want to tell you a story about my 3-year-old nephew. My husband and I were celebrating his birthday with his family a couple weekends ago, and at the end of the night his mom brought out the infamous Puffy Muffin cake that she gets every year. We had all gotten a slice and when everyone finished my nephew asked for more (he expressed his want, anger). When his mom said no (boundary) he was across the room and his whole body started to shake and he was grunting (cue check engine, we are getting heated). Then, the most revealing thing followed. He walked across the room back to his mom where she hadn’t removed her gaze from him, letting him have his anger and not turning from him (i.e., LOVE: willing to be in pain with others’ pain for something worth more, the heart of her child). Once under his mother’s wing he wept. Underneath his anger was his grief and pain for something he had lost that he wanted. Once he was able to have the courage to show what he truly cared about out loud, he was able to receive the comfort that he needed and the renewal to hope and want again. This was the purest example to me of what anger can lead us into, not only from my nephew but also from his mother. Not once was he shamed for his anger or for caring. Not once did someone minimize that “it was just cake” or demand him to “stop grunting or crying or acting like a baby.” Not once was he laughed at or mocked.
I believe if my nephew keeps having experiences like this in his life, he will grow up to be a man full of Passion, he will live open-hearted in a world that teaches him not to show his cards and he will be a torch carrier of hope to those that need it most! All of this glory will exist because his mom was angry enough to let her son have his anger and be disruptive!
I hope these 3 things will help you think twice when you feel anger rise in your body, or when you see the signs of anger in another. If so your pauses could change the world.
(a lot of the things I am writing come from Chip Dodd’s book The Voice of the Heart)
If you need help working through your emotions, Sage Hill can help. Contact us today to start your journey.
Kate Prevost is a therapist at Sage Hill Counseling in Nashville, TN. She was led to Sage Hill through her own personal story of recovery and interned for a year and a half while earning her Masters in Counseling at Trevecca Nazarene University.