We all know that people express emotions differently, however the way people express anger is often assumed to have a “standard” way of looking. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Even if you think you don’t have to contend with these strong emotions – you do! They are inside all of us. They are also inside the people around us, so we not only have to deal with our version, but also other people’s versions as well.
I wanted to start by showing you an example of a rage attack. Ready? Here it comes:
[blank stare for 7 seconds].
That is a type of rage attack that I would have in my life. Yours might be explosive and more visible. Or yours might be just like mine, very quiet, very quiet – the “silence-is-violence” type principle. A lot can be going on inside of a person which might not be visible. That was more my style, and in fact still is my style. It’s a work in progress.
You know, with rage, with anger, with frustration, there’s a vital energy to it that’s totally human and totally normal. We need to be able to identify, recognize that energy within us, and harness it for constructive purposes. If it’s overly constrained, which was my version, it’s definitely not very constructive. If it’s explosive and disperses the energy all over the place and gets on everyone’s clothes, it’s also not constructive.
We’re kind of born rage-aholics. If you observe infants and children, they express anger (and rage) when they don’t get their way. They rage when others get things that they want. They rage when their feelings are hurt. Whether we like it or not, we retain those immature patterns in adulthood to some extent, and thus need to be working on ourselves in general, and this aspect of our life experience in particular. So, if you think that you don’t have issues with rage or it’s not something that needs to be worked on, I would rethink that. And I’m not shaming you or me or any of us as this is part of what it means to live a mature, healthy, and profoundly imperfect life. We take responsibility for the nonconstructive patterns that are universal. We all have them. They look different, but if left unchecked, they cause a lot of destruction.