ANGER: Awakening New Growth Encountering Resistance

It sure seems like there’s a lot more anger around lately. The cover story of the most recent Utne Reader asked “Why are we all so angry?

Wikipedia has entries for, among others, Anger, Anger Management, Rage, Road Rage, Air Rage, Computer Rage, and even Wrap Rage, which is defined as “heightened levels of anger, frustration and violence resulting from the inability to open hard-to-remove packaging.”

Come on; raise your hand if you’ve ever wanted to take a bazooka to the 12 inches of bulletproof plastic wrap surrounding a tiny flash drive!

The topic of anger has also come up at the last two drop-in Law of Attraction groups, so I’ve been pondering it a bit lately.

Anger often gets labeled bad or lower or negative. Even the Law of Attraction emotional scale has labeled the lower half of the emotional scale “negative.” But as I explored earlier in a post about Redefining the Law of Attraction Emotional Scale, I don’t believe there are any bad or negative emotions. Those “lower” emotions serve a valuable purpose: They point out our resistance.

And anger is one of the most powerful expressions of resistance which is actually a good thing!

Anger is filled with energy and movement. Harnessing that energy can help propel you to the next level. But first you must acknowledge the anger, recognize it for what it is and accept the opportunity that comes with it.

So recently, when I have felt anger bubbling up from the depths I have begun to think of anger as:

Awakening
New
Growth
Encountering
Resistance.

When I approach anger with that attitude, it immediately softens my perspective and allows me to open up to the opportunities that the anger is bringing.

Instead of saying, “This is bad. I need to get out of this anger.” I can ask powerful, forward focused questions such as, “What is the new growth that is awakening in me?” or “How am I resisting that growth.” and “What can I do right now to release my resistance and allow this growth to blossom?”

These questions lead the way through the anger to personal growth and movement.

Anytime we label something as “bad” we immediately give it more power and cause it to become more entrenched and secure.

So the next time you feel anger starting to bubble up to the surface, don’t push it back down.

Instead, remind yourself that it is Awakening New Growth Encountering Resistance and see what you can do to open up and allow that new growth to come through.

I’d love to hear your thoughts, stories or insights about anger. Use the comment form below to join the conversation.

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    26 Responses to “ANGER: Awakening New Growth Encountering Resistance”

    1. Jennifer Mannion on December 12th, 2007 11:37 am

      Thanks Ed for another insightful post — I love the acronym for ANGER. I have been trying to do the same — make myself AWARE of why I am angry and what can be gained from it. I was doing so today as I opened a kid’s toy layered in 10 twisty ties and 5 layers of tape! The message I got was “time to slow down and take a breath”! Fighting furiously with scissors and a box while not being mindful can turn out badly!

      I have recently been doing a lot of thinking about how I handle anger towards others. When I approach someone with anger (even if I feel I am hiding it well and it is WAY beneath the surface) it makes a HUGE difference in how the person relates to me. This has been a big discovery since I know I will not always connect or agree with everyone and some people might piss me off…. but if I interact with love versus anger — the outcome will be much better for me and the person involved. I try and remind myself of the Wayne Dyer quote “look at your interactions with people as there is something to be learned from everyone — what is the lesson I am supposed to learn from this person?”. And Deepak Chopra’s “Everyone is doing the best they can from their own state of consciousness”. It’s been challenging at times but a GREAT goal for me to work on and I thought it might be worth a mention. Thanks again for your great writing! Gratefully, Jenny

    2. Aaron - Today is that Day on December 12th, 2007 11:53 am

      Ed,

      I’m with you on comparing the LOA emotional scale to how those emotions actually play out in our lives. With regard to anger, it can sometimes be empowering, and that is a far shot up the emotional scale from hopelessness.

      Great post, Ed!

    3. Alex Blackwell on December 12th, 2007 2:02 pm

      Ed,

      Your acronym is a wonderful way of remembering to step back from the situation and look at it from a less emotional point of view. Thanks for sharing this.

      Alex

    4. Lyman from Creating a Better Life on December 12th, 2007 2:47 pm

      Good Stuff, Ed!

      Personally, I’ve always struggled with anger. As I was growing up, it was made clear to me that it *wasn’t* OK to be angry – unless it was at myself.

      I’m glad I know better now.

      The emotional scale is one of the things that helped me with this. When I realized that anger was a step up from depression, it filled my life with new possibilities, and helped me to look at the anger and move beyond it without just turning it on myself or denying it.

    5. Craig Harper on December 12th, 2007 3:08 pm

      Thanks Ed,
      You can choose to be react angrilly when something upsets you or you can take a deep breath and think about what the impact is likely to be of your angry outburst.
      Too often it is ‘us’ in the situation that determines our angry reaction and not the situation itself.

    6. T. Dorsey on December 12th, 2007 3:39 pm

      I agree with you completely regarding there being no bad emotions just lower vibrating emotions that demonstrate our resistance. Labeling emotions good or bad is one of the few gripes I have with the movie The Secret.

    7. Marti on December 12th, 2007 6:18 pm

      Anger is heat. Heat is energy. Energy is productive.
      You can use it to your advantage.

      Good post.

    8. K Stone on December 12th, 2007 6:21 pm

      I was just having this conversation with my mom the other day about getting angry. I don’t want to be angry, but I struggle with living with grace during those moments. This post gives me some great food for thought in transforming that. Thanks.

    9. Raymond on December 13th, 2007 4:09 am

      Hey Ed,

      I know that anger is a negative emotion and we should not dwell in it. At the same time, I also learned that we should not suppress our emotion.

      So, this has been putting me in dilemma for quite a while until I read your post.

      What you share with us is like Tai Chi where one take the negative energy and turn it into positive energy to create the harmony.

      Thanks for the article, Ed. 🙂

    10. Patricia - Spiritual Journey Of A Lightworker on December 13th, 2007 9:29 am

      Lately with the Christmas season, I have been sad and angry and just feeling it. I spent over half of my life suppressing these emotions. I know that they have come up this year to be felt, healed and released. A friend recently told me that it just means I have a rebirth coming. I like that and your ideas. Thanks for sharing them.

    11. Edward Mills on December 13th, 2007 9:56 pm

      Jenny. Thank you for sharing that story. It’s funny, except it’s not! I think you know what I mean. It sounds like you’re doing everything right. Mindfulness or awareness is the first step. And sometimes it takes a while to move from that place of awareness to a place where you can act on that awareness. And that can be one of the most frustrating places to be!

    12. Edward Mills on December 13th, 2007 9:59 pm

      Aaron. So true. Anger has movement and power. Despair, depression and hopelessness are stuck, dead emotions. When I see clients or workshop participants stuck in that dead zone I encourage them to move up the scale. And often that’s right into anger.

      Thanks Alex. I hadn’t looked at it as a less emotional perspective. I think what the acronym does is encourage movement up the emotional scale through and past the level of anger.

    13. Edward Mills on December 13th, 2007 10:03 pm

      Lyman. I hear you! The first draft of this post had a lot of back-story about my experience with anger growing up. Sounds like it was similar to yours. I’ve got that standing by as a post for later.

      Craig. I sure have experienced that truth that anger is more about “me” than about anyone else. Not a comfortable observation to have, but it surely does encourage growth!

      T. It’s not just The Secret that was “guilty” of labeling the lower end of the emotional scale bad. Abraham-Hicks did the same thing. Although they are changing their tune recently which is a good thing in my opinion.

    14. Edward Mills on December 13th, 2007 10:07 pm

      “Anger is heat. Heat is energy. Energy is productive.
      You can use it to your advantage.”

      Well put Marti!

      K. I don’t think anyone wants to be angry. I know I sure don’t. And, at the same time, I recognize that sometimes I have to move through that space to get to the other side. denying what I’m experiencing is certainly not going to help. Believe me I’ve tried that. It doesn’t work!

      Raymond. It is very much like Tai Chi – Yin and Yang. The positive and negative of these energies are just charges. Not good or bad. Anger too is just a charge a force. Neither good nor bad. It takes on the quality and characteristics that we give it.

      Patricia. The holiday season can be quite difficult for many people. I love that your friend told you it meant a rebirth was coming. I think there is some truth to that.

    15. hayalbahcesi on December 25th, 2007 12:41 am

      Thanks Ed,
      You can choose to be react angrilly when something upsets you or you can take a deep breath and think about what the impact is likely to be of your angry outburst.

      Best Gards
      Hayalbahcesi

    16. Louise Aspden on December 29th, 2007 7:21 am

      I love what is being said about anger, and your acronym is a great reminder.

      Anger, like any other negative emotion is a wonderful sign that we are out of alignment with our source. It allows us to stop and look at what we really want.

      The true art to LOA is keeping your own vibrations at a good level, and staying in your vibrational bubble despite what may be going on around you.

      I so relate to Patricia, the Christmas season brings up so many old emotions buried in our primal brain. This season has given me the opportunity to really work on the relationship side of LOA. I am excited to report that I deliberately created a joyful Christmas season.

      There is an article on my blog with details.

      Edward, thank you for putting this all together. Great site!

      With gratitude….

    17. Edward Mills on December 30th, 2007 3:25 pm

      Louise: I’m so glad to hear that you created a joyful Christmas season this year! it’s so easy to fall into old, default patterns and let the season unfold as it always has. Congratulations on staying positively focused.

      And feel free to link to articles that relate and add to the topic. I only edit out links that are off-topic or spammy. And from what I’ve seen of your site I don’t think that will be a problem.

    18. Bound Down South on January 1st, 2008 4:10 pm

      I also think Anger is a positive thing. anger has caused great amounts of change in the past, especially when its a group of people that are angry, but even one angry individual can still cause significant change with that anger.

    19. Kristina on January 22nd, 2008 7:03 am

      See, now I like anger. As a woman, anger is one of those emotions we aren’t “supposed” to own or feel (much like crying is for men), so owning it and using it is very liberating. Anger is a big flashing, blinking, Las-Vegas-Strip sign of “Something is very, very wrong here”.

      I mean, if scary-stranger-in-alley is about to attack me, I’m not going to sit there and try to figure out all the reasons I shouldn’t be angry, because, oh, he’s just doing the best he knows how right at this moment, or how I shouldn’t be angry, I should come from a place of peace. Anger is what motivates my body to move, to run, to hit, scratch, bite, whatever I need to stay safe. It’s a protector.

      And it works that way emotionally, too. It helps me set boundaries, it helps me learn about myself, get away from emotionally dangerous situations, learn about why I have those boundaries in the first place. The emotion itself begins a chain reaction of growing and healing.

      And I totally agree with what Bound Down South is saying. If everyone works to move just straight past anger, labeling it as “bad” or “negative”, then no social movements would ever get started. In a perfect, loving world, anger wouldn’t be necessary, but we don’t live in that world…at least, not yet. Anger serves some very positive, growth-inducing purposes.

      Now, that’s not to say I like being *stuck* in anger, where all I’m doing is being angry about something, and not moving beyond it, or taking actions to rectify a situation or relationship so I can move beyond it. Like, in the attack scenario I described…doesn’t do much good to remain angry and embittered after the fact, because that’s being stuck and letting the anger control your life, where forgiveness and grace do much better jobs of healing and soothing. But the emotion itself, it’s all good in my book.

      And thank you for your post, and what you’ve said here in the comments. It’s refreshing.

    20. Possibility Virus » Blog Archive » Rage On on January 23rd, 2008 7:14 am

      […] you’re feeling a bit hot under the collar (Ruff-rage), check out Edward Mills’ ANGER: Awakening New Growth Encountering Resistance Add this post to: More Social […]

    21. Angry? Some new perspectives « Inner Growth Weblog on January 24th, 2008 10:28 am

      […] Angry? Some new perspectives Posted on January 24, 2008 by mariepatrice I just came across a new acronym for anger. Edward Mills suggests that we might start looking at ANGER as Awakening New Growth Encountering Resistance. […]

    22. Edward Mills on January 25th, 2008 2:00 pm

      Bound Down South. You’re right. Anger is a great catalyst for change. As long as it is channeled into positive actions. That’s the key that sometimes gets overlooked.

      Kristina. Great points. Anger is a powerful sign that something is not right. The problem is that for most of us it’s become a bit hyperactive. If you’re in a dark alley about to be attacked, anger and fear are appropriate emotional responses that will help your body do what it needs to get out of there.

      But when we get anger at our partner because they left their dishes in the sink, it’s a different situation. Learning to sit with the anger at times like those and see what is happening underneath can be a powerfully transformative experience.

    23. Lilith on January 25th, 2008 8:44 pm

      Funny, I never got mad at the difficult wrapping as much as the thieves who make that sort of thing necessary. They are ruining their karma, raising the price of the goods in question, and making it necessary to over package goods resulting in further land fill expansion and polution.
      When I buy something wrapped in what I call “Armadillo hide”, I know what I’m in for. So, I assemble a knife, a screwdriver and a pair of scissors, and even a lighter. I examine the packing material, and proceed in a methodical and measured manner to disassemble the armor surounding the prize. For some reason when I take this sort of approach the results seem a little sweeter…:)
      Thank you for your time and consideration,
      Lilith

    24. You Rock Radio on February 29th, 2008 12:17 am

      I am often angry. I have a friend who says “You are the nicest angry guy I know”, and it fits. He recited the words to a Billy Joel song the “Angry Young Man” and says he thinks of me every time he hears it. And it does fit.

      My anger is a projection of my desire to see change in an industry that does not understand or embrace change. I am in the music industry, and I have a plan that will change it forever, and I know this. It is intuitive and has nothing to do with college degrees in marketing, or some protracted knowledge I possess because of years of experience, it is part of the universal law. It has been handed to me, and I know that I must make it happen. If I do not, then it will happen anyway and I will be an angry old man resentful because I knew the truth and did nothing.

      So I have, for the last four years, attempted many failed efforts at doing what I do. The failures have proven to be nothing less than an education, a preparation, an exercise. In that process there has been the gain of extensive knowledge, and I knew this during the course of all that I endured, that I was in school and being prepared for what was to follow.

      Now I have built to a level, the model of what I have been guided to do. There is much work remaining, and I work many hours every day when most people punch the clock and call it. I do this because I have no choice that seems to lead me to achieve anything else but this mission. I have tried to quit, but that has failed also.

      In the process, I get angry beyond the scope of what many people understand. I am bipolar, and that is not the excuse but the understanding of a mechanism. I realize that at times I have less control over my emotions than some people do, and while I do not have a birthright to hurt people, I know that often I am capable of it.

      In the final analysis I would have to agree with this article. If I would have never been angry at certain times, I would not have been at the level of accomplishment that my intuition has guided me to so far. I, like many others, am inherently lazy and most often willing to rest on my laurels and embrace complacency and procrastination as my mantra.

      So in this regard, I find that I am most often angry at myself. What other people do or cannot do or understand, those issues are outside my sphere of influence. As I get closer to 50 I am finally able to accept the inability of others to conform or adhere to my belief systems, and this makes accepting what is possible and what is not more understandable. I realize that sometimes things are just not going to happen, no matter how much I want them to.

      So I must do what is in front of me, and the rest will happen naturally. Maybe when I totally live this concept, I will have less inappropriate anger.

      .

    25. Edward Mills on February 29th, 2008 8:56 pm

      Lilith. i love that you call it Armadillo Hide. That’s perfect. And your methodical approach sounds like a great way to deal with it. But for some, it’s the “Hide” for others – like you – it’s the folks who make the hide neccessary.

    26. Edward Mills on February 29th, 2008 9:02 pm

      You Rock. You seem to have come to an understanding with your anger. And I sense that you’re right that your anger has fueled some of your accomplishments. And now it may be time to start focusing on bringing out the Nice Guy part of the “nicest angry guy” equation. Most people (although this may not be true for budding rock stars!) enjoy working with nice people. Find other ways and places to release your anger and become more focused and positive at work. Stop blaming the industry and the muckety mucks and focus on getting your idea out into the world. If you do that, there’s nothing that can stop you.

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