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Anger – empowering in the moment

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By Dave Henning / September 16, 2018

“Anger feels empowering in the moment but leads to feelings of guilt, sadness, and even shame.  If you don’t address your anger, before long you’ll feel chaotic inside.”- Alison Cook and Kimberly Miller

“If we do not transform our pain, we most assuredly will transmit it.”- Richard Rohr

In Chapter 9 (“Boundaries with Anger”) of Boundaries for Your Soul, Alison Cook and Kimberly Miller note it’s frightening the way anger overtakes us.  However, it’s not helpful for you to label yourself, or anyone else, as an angry person.  Because labeling invalidates a person’s other characteristics. Furthermore, anger then digs in its heals in stubborn defiance.

Rather, Alison and Kim advise, see your anger as one of many parts of yourself.  And, the authors remind you, approach your anger with curiosity as well as compassion.  You experience anger for a good reason.  Also, anger has something valuable to offer.

In addition, anger typically protects a more vulnerable exile underneath it.  Therefore, Alison and Kim state, it’s crucial to look at the benefits, dangers, and fears associated with anger:

  • Benefits – since anger is a God-given emotion intended for your welfare, it needs to be heard, not silenced.  As your ally, anger (1)points you to exiles needing your attention, (2) may become your ambition or motivation, or (3) fights for justice.
  • Danger – extreme anger may lead you into danger.  As the authors stress, anger will express itself.  Thus, potential dangers include harshly judgmental attitudes; cynicism or bitterness; and swearing, yelling, and negativity.
  • Needs – you must develop a comfortable distance from your anger, be open to another perspective, and express humility before God, open to His instructions on how to proceed.
  • Fears – to help anger remain at a comfortable distance and become your ally, get to know its fears, such as “My voice won’t be heard.” or “The injustice I suffered won’t be avenged.”

Today’s question: What long-term effects do you feel when anger’s empowering in the moment?  Please share.

Tomorrow’s blog: the new Short Meditation, “The sacrament of the present moment”

About the author

Dave Henning


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