We believe anger is always motivated by love. Love of ourselves (or another) and a desire to protect ourselves (or another), or to enable ourselves (or others) to move forward and live a rich fulfilling life with integrity and honesty. Think of the last time you were angry –‐ who were you wanting to protect?
Or who’s rights were you wanting to stand up for? Or what was being blocked that you wanted to move towards? It may be as simple as:
‘I wanted to stand up for my right to be listened to.’
‘I wanted to protect myself from being taken advantage of.’
‘I wanted to stand up for my right to be myself.’
‘I wanted to protect my child from harm.’
- ‘I wanted our relationship to grow.’
- ‘I wanted to be told the truth.’
As you think this through you will find the deep motivations that your anger is coming from.
Anger does not wish harm on anybody, it simply wishes to protect, or to stand up for what is important. However anger will take physical action when necessary. Who would not step in to protect their child from danger?
We often value kindness and politeness in this society, but there are times when these behaviours can actually represent an abdication of responsibility.
As Edmund Burke said “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.”
Anger is not a force who’s primary aim is to connect. Anger will risk disconnection from others in order to protect or stand up for what is important. However, there’s a paradox here: we often find that when we share our truth with others they come to understand us better and are able to accept and relate to us more fully. So we actually strengthen our connection with them through expressing our anger in a mature and respectful way.
It is also important in close relationships that we know we have the ability to protect and defend ourselves if necessary. Only then is it possible to open to true intimacy with another – otherwise we will always feel too vulnerable to share ourself deeply.
When we have healthy anger we are not necessarily angry at the times when we are preserving our boundaries or standing up for ourselves. However, we are able to notice, allow, respect and listen to the stirrings of anger which speak up within us at certain times. These alert us to the possibility that our boundaries are being crossed in some way. We can then listen to this and consider what we need to protect or stand up for and what action we need to take. When we come to actually take the action we may no longer need to be in touch with the anger.
“Love implies anger. The man who is angered by nothing cares about nothing.”
“A man that does not know how to be angry does not know how to be good.”
Henry Ward Beecher
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