Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

We are not punished for our anger; we are punished by our anger. In other words, anger is its own karma. Eknath Easwaran

Is unexpressed anger toxic? Is this what leads to a lot of problems in our lives? Is anger management part of our lives, we will get angry and can’t always change what makes us angry, sometimes we have to continue to live with who or what makes us angry.

What made me think about this in part was watching someone erupt at a soccer game in a way that the situation didn’t seem to warrant. A few days later I learned they were going through something they couldn’t control and in that moment their anger at the game made sense to me.

Can we deal with our anger in ways that don’t destroy our lives? Misplaced anger has been part of our history since Cain and Abel. When Cain’s gifts were not acceptable to God but his brothers were, he slew his brother. Life is not fair and it makes us angry but often we don’t take our anger out on who causes us to be angry, we take it out on someone who can’t defend themselves, or we repress it and take it out on ourselves.

Resentment is one of the most destructive forces in our lives. It is cold anger that has settled into the center of our being and hardened our hearts. Resentment can become a way of life that so pervades our words and actions that we no longer recognize it as such. Henri J. M. Nouwen

You don’t have to chase anger out of you. You allow it to be in you, you embrace it tenderly, and then anger will subside, and the danger is overcome. During the practice you have helped anger, and it will be transformed slowly. This practice enables you to acknowledge your anger with a smile. Thich Nhat Hanh

One of the reasons I think we have freedom of speech is because angry speech is one way to dissipate anger, and if it isn’t dissipated it will present itself in another way. We might hate it when a protest of one kind or another, that we aren’t a part of, or sympathizer to, interrupts our day, but letting protesters protest may lead to more peaceful relationships than pent-up anger.

The question then becomes how can we handle our anger so it doesn’t become toxic? Is the vitriol that comes out during elections good for society and repressing it would be bad? Is this why some leaders become so powerful, they tap into our anger, and good ones use this power for positive change, but what of malevolent ones? Who gets to decide what is a positive change and what is malevolent?

If we can’t find ways to control and dissipate our anger is it a weapon others will find a way to use against us? How can we harness the power of anger and have it be a force for good in our lives? If we can see undesirable situations as a reflection of our faults and shortcomings will this help us become better and not bitter? We all have to face disappointment and anger in our lives and is how we deal with it one of the most important decisions in our lives?

It is easy to fly into a passion – anybody can do that – but to be angry with the right person to the right degree, and at the right time, and for the right purpose, and in the right way – that is not within everybody’s power and is not easy. Aristotle

An angry man is allowing power to rise against him and enslave him, but when he learns to control these tremendous sources of power, he can use them to meet the most formidable challenges of the day and to make his greatest contribution to those around him. Eknath Easwaran

I have learnt through bitter experience the one supreme lesson to conserve my anger, and as heat conserved is transmuted into energy, even so our anger controlled can be transmuted into a power which can move the world. Mahatma Gandhi

Thank you for reading this post, and I hope you will return and read more. Have a blessed day filled with gratitude, joy, and love.