Recently, I read a post from someone I follow on Instagram talking about the double-edged sword that is anger. She described how her anger started as a healthy and normal response to messed up things she saw happening in our world today: gun violence, police violence, racism, sexism, hatred… and her list went on. These things naturally stirred up a response of anger, and engendered a desire to do something about the people and institutions that allow and perpetuate acts of violence and hatred.
She then went on to describe how what had begun as a really understandable and human reaction started to turn inward. It began to poison and crowd out the joy and peace and lightness that she needed in order to continue on.
This post spoke to me, because I think many of us are struggling to find that balance in our own lives. The sharpness of anger can motivate us to act, to not remain silent, and to become a voice and advocate for change. However, when we stay in that angry place, it can make us cynical, bitter, and hopeless. It can rob us of the very desires to act that it originally inspired.
How do you feel and honor your human anger, but then transform it into something that can enrich your life and the lives of those around you?
What would that even look like, in a world where things happen daily that are worthy of righteous anger? What is the balance between staying informed and being an activist, and becoming overwhelmed and hopeless?
The reality is, we can’t stay angry all the time. And if we can’t stay angry all the time, then what that may mean is that we have to allow ourselves to take breaks, to check out, and to choose our platforms. One individual simply cannot take on the burden of all of the things wrong in the world, because that would leave no room in their hearts and minds to consider all that is right.
Molly Halbrooks, LMFT