Wednesday, 11 June 2008

HAIKU NOODLE: In defence of anger.

Anger is such a misunderstood, underestimated emotion. Often thought of as a "negative" emotion, it is full of potential and energy. I believe it's only when we misuse it - or don't use it at all - that it has negative effects. It rots within; it turns to something quite unpleasant. But used well, it does wonders.

I've always had a good stock of anger, but much of it did rot and turn into many unpleasant things. It was only after I went through my CSA therapy that I began to actually get in touch with anger - and with most of the emotions I'd stuffed inside.

Today, anger interests me. Not quite an obsession, but I do pick up interesting books on the subject (some of which you'll come across in Book Fair Junkie some day). Studying anger has taught me a lot, about life, about society, about relationships. I've learnt a lot - and I'm still learning. The most important thing I've learned is this:

Anger is just fear.
The snarls of a threatened cub.
No need to snarl back.

All anger has its roots in fear. Think about it. There is always a fear behind our rage or resentments, even behind our irritations. We fear that we are being taken for a ride. That we are being treated unjustly. That we are going to experience loss or abandonment or new burdens. That people are going to see we are not good enough. That no one loves us. Name any anger and I will show you the fear behind it.

And fear .. where are its roots? Back in that place most of us like to deny ever had much impact on us: childhood. It is perhaps the first emotion we experience when we enter this world, and most of us will find ourselves experiencing it again on our way out.

This haiku I've just written tells me how to deal with two angers - that of others towards me, and my own anger towards others. In the first instance, it reminds me that any aggression towards me is less about me, than about the other person's fears. That can give me the presence of mind not to retaliate in kind, but instead to show kindness.

In the second instance, my own anger, the haiku's message can flag me down to tell me that there is a fear that needs to be dealt with, and this becomes an opportunity for introspection, self-awareness and growth.

Anger's good for me. I need it!

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