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Writing Out Anger

November 25, 2013

There’s an old saying: ‘It’s better out, than in’.

There is also a not so old saying: ‘Choose anger over depression’.

Whenever I have approached the subject of anger in my blog posts, in my other creative works (written or visual) and during conversations with friends, the conversation goes something like this:

“You seem very angry” Said with shock, sometimes judgement, confusion and often fear.


“I read your book/blog post/saw your play and there seems like a lot of anger there. Are you okay?” Again said with shock often surprise, confusion, sometimes judgement and often fear.

Here’s the thing – it’s not okay to show your anger (says society at large). People are terrified by it. Why is this?

Because there is anger lurking beneath the surface of every human being on the planet.

The key, dear reader, is to harness this powerful force and use it for good.

The Tibetans have a wonderful practice, I forget the name, where one person stands, the other sits crossed legged in front of them whilst the standing person hurls insults and mimics punching or slapping the person sitting on the ground, who simply sits there grinning in order to witness the anger. This is especially amusing to watch when the two people doing the practice are Monks in robes. You see – even Monks get angry. Even the spiritually ‘enlightened’ have access to their darker nature and even the initiated know the power of fury. Look at the wrathful deities in Tibetan Buddhism, Hinduism or even ancient Christianity – all demonic looking beasts with weapons in their hands and fire in their smiles.

Anger is a force we all need to drive us towards our goal. Be this an awakening, the next step in development or to make that leap of faith into the unknown. 

I remember some months ago I was having a telephone conversation with my Teacher. During this particularly heavy session, she reminded me of the difference between owned and disowned anger. Disowned anger is often projected (rather than channelled) onto another human being and/or it is repressed within ourselves. No good can come of this. When repressed, anger can lead to clinical depression (I have experienced this myself. In fact, why don’t you take a look back at my blog posts and see if you can spot where I was downward spiralling? Prior to this, I had been ‘positive thinking’ myself out of reality).

Owned anger, on the other hand, is nourished, the flames are fanned and the heat is turned up in order to harness the force. This harnessing then does two things:

  1. Energises our actions, helping us to have mental clarity
  2. Automatically transforms that energy (IE: emotion) into something else.

This ‘something else’ is often then seen as more positive – but actually, being true to your anger is a healthy, happy and positive way of being human. Look at the Monks, happily, healthily hurling abuse at each other. Their awareness of working with energy (emotions) in this way enables them to free flow. Our emotions, like life, have their ups and downs. It stands to reason that going with (rather than fighting/repressing against) this natural fluctuation is free flowing our way through life.

“Write it out!” My Teacher screeched at me down the phone during that telephone consultation. I was exhausted physically and so my usual method of punching (a punch bag), kicking, stamping and screaming out the anger just didn’t appeal.

And so I wrote (again, take a glance back at my posts – when did my anger become facilitative, energising, even funny?). I wrote about anger directly, I wrote about how ‘bad’ I felt, I wrote about my authentic self – because I was so angry that I couldn’t do anything else but to bitch slap mindfully upon the page. I was the standing Monk and you were the witness. Thank you.

Now – it’s your turn.

I’m here.

Here’s to your free flow….

Matt xx

  1. I like the idea of “owned anger”. Thanks for making me think!

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