I had a really profound realization today... I was watching a Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman episode (ok, don’t laugh I totally love it) and there was this person who was deeply hurting over losing a child and being separated from his wife. When challenged to a boxing match, he willingly accepted and found a therapeutic release in the fighting until he couldn't control his anger anymore and he just unleashed all of his rage on his contender. In the end, he felt a release but not without cost as he had badly hurt another human for no good reason.
This got me thinking into my deep philosophical self...(yes I know how crazy it seems that I can philosophically take something from Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman and contemplate it; welcome to my world...) what really is anger anyway?
My brain munched on this for a few hours while I Coached a couple of clients and took care of some admin things. Then, like a toaster announcing your bread is done, my brain went POP and here is what my intuitive voice said. “There is no such thing as anger, rather there is sadness, hurt, despair, and suffering. However, there is a desire to self protect from vulnerability therefore we require the emotion anger as a defense mechanism.” “Whoa...that was deep!” I said to myself. “Where the heck did that come from I wonder?” (Yes, this is truly what it’s like inside my head sometimes so no judgement.)
Was that true I wondered? Is anger always a defense mechanism? I had never thought about anger in that way before...I want to clarify that there is a place for anger. I’m not poo pooing it by any means. I just realized that maybe we’re not really connecting with what it truly means; with what is beneath our anger. If we were to acknowledge the hurt that we feel beneath the anger, how might that anger be transformed? How are we using anger as a way of keeping vulnerability at bay, and ourselves separate form one another. I have to say, I’m a little surprised I never made this connection till now. But then I realized, do most people? This seems so obvious, yet when I’m in my anger, I’m not focused on the hurt, rather I’m focused on getting even, "showing them", or being seen as "strong or tough". It takes hours and sometimes days of burning through my anger to realize the hurt I’m actually feeling inside.
Anger has a time and place, especially when standing up for true injustice. However, if we were able to simply express the hurt we’re feeling inside, would we need to move into anger? How different would our world be if we talked more about what was underneath the anger instead of focusing on the reactions from the anger. How different would your life be? How different would you be?
I've decided to challenge myself moving forward by asking anytime I feel angry, what is the hurt or sadness that is leaving deeper underneath. I'll let you know how it goes. Would you like to join me?
Tabitha enjoys living in Tucson, Arizona with her husband Jared, and her adorable doggies Shadow & Scooby. Stay tuned for Tabitha's upcoming book Serendipity in which she takes us through her time in Africa.