I wish I had gotten madder, sooner.

I grew up in a family in which anger was unacceptable. With a mother prone to rage and a father with dementia-related outbursts the context was at best confounding. There was a small and constricting zone of what was acceptable to feel and express. Anger was outside of that zone.

So, not being allowed to be angry really pissed me off.

I became masterful at suppressing that concentric anger.

At school we were punished if we displayed anger. At church we were taught that the Righteous do not get mad. If they did, an angry and wrathful God would cast you into hell.


Those teachings really ticked me off.

I graduated school and church and began to forge my own way into what was right for me. I was led to New Thought teachings in general and Unity in particular. How liberating! Freeing!

Well, kind of.

It did not take long to come up against the “spiritual people don’t have anger” perspective. Spiritual people are love and light, all the time.

I could feel the simmering begin to boil.

I wish I had gotten madder, sooner.

Oh, the anger was there. It was festering just below the surface, growing hotter by the day. When I gave up life suppressing substances it threatened to gush forth in what felt like uncontrollable tsunamis. It took all the effort I could muster to dam it with an affirmation and hope the block would hold.

The by-then rage became a paralyzing depression.

By grace I began to learn that spiritual beings have human emotions. For good reason. I began to grasp that what had been shamed and stifled all those years was actually guidance. It was wisdom by fire. The things that seemed to make me angry were things that would rightly trigger a person who was paying attention and who had values. I began to get at a deep level that anger had never been the problem. Denying and suppressing the anger had been the problem.

I ponder how much suffering would have been abated if I had been more friendly with anger?

Now, I am not suggesting that it is appropriate to go around shouting down everything and everyone who seems to tick you off. The truth is, the friendlier you get with anger as guidance the less likely you are to do that. There are healthy and appropriate ways to express anger before it becomes a torrent of rage. There are healthy and appropriate ways to allow anger to become fuel that fires constructive action and transformative change. It requires emotional fluency and discernment for sure. You must become clear about what seems to be triggering the anger. Is it about injustices you are seeing and experiencing, or is it a result of a diminishing story you are telling yourself?

As I watch the atrocities currently playing out in the world, I feel a deep sadness and a fiery anger. I now have the capacity to allow for those feelings without a need to deny or suppress. The energy is thusly available to me. I can use it to fuel the things that I am called to do to constructively address the things that are occurring. Without the angel of anger, I might not be compelled to respond. The sadness and anger are energies that no longer use me, so I am finally free to use them. And when I deny or suppress, the energies can easily use me.

I wish I had gotten madder, sooner.

Well, I wish I had allowed for the anger that was already there to be used in service of what was not serving me or the world.

Today the anger moving inside of me is evidence that I am awake and responsive. It lets me know that my emotional-spiritual system is functioning properly, and that my boundaries are in place. Because I have the capacity to allow for anger, I have no more need to scream out from a boiling point of pseudo-spiritual containment. I can temper my temper. I can give space to my triggers. I do not have to recreate my family history of mixed messages and shamed expression.

I wish I had gotten madder, sooner.

And it takes what it takes.

I am now healthy and whole enough to allow for a full and free emotional landscape. Oh, not perfectly. Suppressive tendencies die hard. I am far freer, however, to feel what arises and give voice to what needs to be said. Things that for decades I tolerated I now call out. Conflicts I fearfully avoided I now more often than not walk into. I now know that my anger is an energy of change. An energy to be used for good. A fire that lights my way. Not only my way. A fire that may light the way for those still too timid to get pissed off.

Integrated anger is passion. It is fuel. It is guidance. It is change.

How many personal and collective ills remain in place because we have not allowed for healthy and constructive anger?

I wish I had gotten madder, sooner.