Do no harm, but take no bull$h!t: Transform Anger to Action

Several years ago I worked with some troubled boys who would get angry frequently. For some, their anger was so problematic that they were unable to maintain any healthy relationships and many were on the path to a long-term relationship with the legal system. Beneath the mask of anger we would sometimes uncover layers on layers of sorrow, traumas, disappointments, resentment, self-loathe, sadness, and a worldview that “life is unfair” or “the world is unsafe”. Not knowing what to do or simply unaware of all those heavy emotions, compounded by not having proper adult guidance would make these boys do hurtful things to others. It was interesting work to say the least.

Anger is a response to a perceived hurt, threat or to something that is unfair/unjust. If channeled properly, it can inspire action. If not, it can be projected into aggression, hate, rage, violence, control and overall contributes to a bunch of physical and mental health problems.

ACTION inspired by ANGER can be powerful. It’s decisive, it’s bold, and sometimes downright necessary. Any change demands action.

Anger (NOT aggression, NOT violence) needs space to be seen, felt and guided— non-judgmentally and safely. Like a lot of people this past week there was shock and disbelief about recent news events about another shoot-out, yet like many, I was comforted in the safety of my own #lifegoeson bubble, or ‘thank G-D for my safety’ mentality. I don’t know about you, but I find that to be unacceptable. I knew I needed to make space for everything to be felt. I ran, I blasted loud music, I moved, I sat, and there beneath thoughts of ‘not again’, ‘WTF’, ‘why’, ‘how’, was #Anger. So much anger. Grief evolved anger. From there, ideas sprang up. Motivation. Fired up energy and a renewed feeling of ‘this is WHY I do my work’. Choosing not to numb, allowing space for raw emotions to come up and staying curious to understand them is a lifelong practice. It’s not easy but it’s worth it in order to really stay engaged , passionate and encouraged in this experience of Life.

I don’t have answers to world problems but I do know that anger can be empowering to even the most grief stricken person. Let anger inspire you. Let it move you. Allow it to give you the strength and courage to take bold and inspired action in whatever direction will enhance your own life or someone else’s. Just remember: ‘do no harm’, ‘do no harm’, ‘do no harm to others!’ —-but most certainly take no unjust bullshit either.

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