"Hello! They call me anger.
When I come knocking on people's doors, they usually try to slam the door on my face. Somehow, they don't like it when I show up. They wanna get rid of me right away.
I've gotten so used to this that the first thing I do is to put my foot in-between. I cannot let them kick me out! I have important things to say!"
The unlovable emotion
We often categorize feelings as good and bad. Most of us love feelings of happiness, joy and gratitude. These seem to be the good ones.
Feelings like fear, hate or grumpiness are rather difficult to love. Anger is one of these. It's one of the "bad" feelings.
Nobody likes to feel angry. Everybody wants to get rid of it right away, or sweep it under the rug. It's almost like we are ashamed of it or we want it to be gone.
Most of the time, when we try to suppress anger, it jumps right back up, maybe even with a stronger voice than before.
Anger for danger
Anger has a message to deliver to you. That's why it sticks around just as much as it needs to. And then it leaves.
In most cases, anger lets you know about your internal boundaries. Something has crossed the boundary for you and you just don't know why. Your anger might be telling you:
"Hey, an important goal of yours is blocked. You can't go further!"
"Hey, seems like you are under attack by someone!"
"Hey, you're losing power. They don't respect you as much."
"Hey, things have turned out a lot different than you had expected!"
"Hey, you are hurting!"
Listening to anger's message
What happens between its arrival and its departure is what makes all the difference. Most angers turns into violence, either towards the self, or towards the others. But it is possible to own your anger without turning it into destructive action.
When anger arrives we have two options. Take action immediately. Or pause, listen to anger's message, and respond to it.
Anger is neither good, nor bad. It's just there. And it wants to use its voice. Next time anger visits you, can you lend an ear to listen to what it's trying to say to you?
"Anger is like a howling baby, suffering and crying. The baby needs his mother to embrace him. You are the mother for your baby, your anger. The moment you begin to practice breathing mindfully in and out, you have the energy of a mother, to cradle and embrace the baby. Just embracing your anger, just breathing in and out, that is good enough. The baby will feel relief right away... Embrace your anger with a lot of tenderness. Your anger is not your enemy, your anger is your baby."
Thich Nhat Hanh (2001), Anger
Mindful Parenting, A Guide for Mental Health Practitioners
✨ Want to start working on your calm? Take a look at these meditations for parents. ✨
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