In our family there are certain dominant genetic traits: Amazing cheekbones, big hearts, beautiful eyes, quick tempers.
I joke that I’m pretty sure there is something in our DNA that has our fight or flight responses reversed. It seems like a constant conundrum in our family that we run from the things we should run towards and towards the things most people with any lick of sense would run from.
We aren’t thrill seekers or adrenaline junkies, but backing down from a challenge, or even a perceived challenge, requires a level of self control most of us do not possess, and if we do manage to learn to avoid or back down from engagement, it takes EVERY. OUNCE. OF. SELF. CONTROL.
Maybe our ancestors were fierce warriors constantly ready to do battle.
I look back, and I wonder if my yoga practice and how American yoga culture approaches anger as something you should let go of, was more a source of anxiety for me than I realized.
Anger is a motivational force. We might not see it as an acceptable source of momentum, but anger is the spark of revolution.
If we are angry we won’t be taken seriously.
If we are angry, we aren’t likable.
Anger doesn’t solve anything.
You can google “Anger quotes” and find a million quotes from a million different gurus, religious leaders, philosophers, life coaches, telling you in a variety of fancy ways ANGER IS WRONG.
My righteous anger, the “You fucking pissed me off!” invasion of boundaries, crossing of lines, excruciating anger, is real. It shouldn’t be let go, or dismissed, or shut down.
Most whatever philosophies teach anger usually comes from a place of ego. That’s not anger, that’s spite. I have a larger than life ego and I’m an expert on spite. Spite and I are old friends
It is the sword I keep perpetually sheathed, but forever sharpened.
My anger comes from a wounded heart. It is a natural reaction to a grave offense committed against the greater good of life.
My anger recognizes injustice on a visceral level. It is the fight in “Fight or Flight.” It is the battle for not just survival, but for the possibility of happiness.
Anger is the declaration of “I will defend me and mine.” It is acceptable, it is real, it is an honest emotion that will not be dismissed, squelched, or suppressed.