Two weeks ago, I was scheduled to post the final installment of a five-part blog series on harnessing the gifts of spring in your wild woman life.
Part One: Learn From the Trees
Part Two: Prepare Your Soil
Part Three: Envision Your Harvest
Part Four: Plant Your Seeds
Part Five: Allow Your Anger to Fuel Your Growth
But as luck would have it, the week I was supposed to be blogging about the role of effective anger in a wild woman’s life, I found myself right smack in the middle of a confusing anger storm at home.
My husband, Omar, and I are crazy in love. We are committed to a conscious marriage built on honesty, compassion, mutual respect, and personal evolution. Yet, man oh man, preparing to have this baby has brought all of our junk to the forefront. Things that had been occasional annoyances crashed into the limelight and demanded to be dealt with. No surprise, this caused quite a bit of tension. The tension led to conflict, during which some pretty intense anger arose - both from me and my otherwise calm and collected husband.
So until now, I have been in no shape to write about anger because I’ve been too busy feeling it. From the middle of the tornado, I couldn’t tell how much of the debris flying around was what I would call “necessary, effective anger,” and how much of it was blind, messy, stupid rage.
What I already knew about anger is that it has a purpose. It is the emotion associated with spring in the Chinese Five Element system because of the force needed for a seed to grow. Think about the unstoppable power of a seedling as it pushes up through the soil, or even concrete and stone. Anger can motivate us to set limits, take risks, and make plans that otherwise would feel too scary and be too easy to walk away from.
It was comforting to find that all of that still rang true for me during this most recent anger experience. And, newly humbled, I also opened up to wonder what else I still had to learn about anger. I started a discussion on the Professional Wild Woman Tribe private Facebook group with the question:
What is your relationship with anger? More specifically, what purpose does anger have in your life?
The post blew up with discussion over the next few days. Some shares I found especially interesting. . .
“My anger is calling me to step up to another level of self care and self love, to stand up for what's right for me, and find another way to communicate.” - B.
“Anger is what helps me bike for longer periods of time, or run. Thinking about something that makes me mad when I'm biking, revs me up!” - K.
“I used to say to my boyfriend, ‘I don't want to be an angry person.’ One day he said to me, ‘You aren't, you're just a person who experiences anger,’ and that changed a lot in my relationship to anger. I no longer feel that it is a part of me I want to get rid of - I recognize it as a beast that comes and goes and my goal is to get better about handling it when it shows up.” - C.
Since the group is also full of other brilliant coaches, therapists, practitioners, and healers, there were several very helpful offerings on the topic as well:
“When I came across Access Consciousness, I learned a new point of view that anger is a distraction from your real potency, and that potency and anger have similar intensity but without the charge. So the question that opens that up is "Is this anger or potency?" You can see which one feels lighter. Anger can cause damage and stuff to clean up when it's expressed. Potency is the level of intensity that you can be, and it doesn't do damage because it has no point of view or charge.” - J.
“Great topic, Melanie! I do a lot of anger work with clients, and here are some of my choice gems to share. 1. We are never angry for no reason, we are angry because an injustice has occurred. 2.When our anger is greater than the situation warrants, it comes from the past, therefore... 3.We must be careful not to blast someone in our present life with anger about past hurts. 4. Truth is the highest form of anger. When we can name the truth of the situation, we no longer need to act out our anger.” - M.
“Like most 'negative' emotions, anger is usually the result of an unmet need. Thus, identifying that need and finding a way to fill it from your own side can be helpful in eradicating a source of anger.” - R.
And then there was this one:
“Most of my anger stays in my head. I have a hard time expressing it. I have a bad habit of not speaking up but also because I have never felt safe enough to be vulnerable and say what I need.” - M.
What this woman expressed about her anger also ended up being at the heart of what Omar and I discovered over the past two weeks. Turns out there was some work to be done by each of us in creating a space where the other one could feel safe enough to vulnerably express a need. The fact that that space wasn’t always available felt, well, icky. And because we couldn’t identify what exactly it was that felt icky, tension built, which caused distance, which caused more tension.
Anger was simply the byproduct of this process - the canary in the coal mine letting us know that something was amiss. Anger pushed us to look deeper, to push through the distance and tension and take some action. It was not comfortable, and it was very necessary.
If anger hadn’t showed up, we might have continued on in a pattern that wasn’t really serving us. Because we are generally peaceful people who don’t want to fight, we likely would have taken the path of least resistance and accepted a “good enough” way of relating.
Instead, we reached a new level of intimacy. We got a deeper knowledge of ourselves, connection to each other, and commitment to our partnership. And like one of my clients learned during an especially powerful session this week, anger doesn’t last forever, and it won’t eat us alive. When honored and felt all the way through, anger can teach us invaluable things about ourselves and the people around us.
What about you? What is the purpose of anger in YOUR life? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments section below.
What type of wild woman are you?
Hello! I'm Melanie Munir, founder of Professional Wild Woman - a women's empowerment business dedicated to helping women who are tired of feeling either "too much" or "not enough" to connect to their inner wildness so they can create work that allows them the fullest expression of their unique voice. Welcome!