I’ve often noticed in yogi circles that any expression of “negative” emotions sends people scattering.

 It’s almost as if folks feel like they will be poisoned merely by being in the presence of something uncomfortable.

Anger is one of these perceived poisonous “negative” emotions.

Any emotion is just a kind of energy. Energy is created by some kind of stimulus, and then likes to move—be expressed. Emotion is grammatical. It has a subject, a verb, and an object.   For example: “Someone or something made me feel an emotion. As a result I did something.”

Emotions become problematic when they stagnate. Even a “positive” emotion like joy can become problematic if it doesn’t have a mode of expression.

Expression can simply mean observing: I feel joyful.

And then asking: Do I need to act upon that? Does it need expression? And then, finally, responding to what you determine.

When emotions don’t have appropriate avenues of expression they become backlogged, and then when they finally DO get a chance to come out, they often are mismatched with the circumstances. You over-react, usually in an embarrassing way.

In my world view, anger can be a very productive emotion.

Anger, at its most basic, is a sign that your boundaries have been violated.

When your boundaries are violated, and you don’t have a chance to respond to that fact, THIS is when anger becomes a problem.

Anger builds up, and because it is so powerful, it leads to numerous damaging behaviors when it actually does express. Some people turn their anger inward on themselves, and it becomes depression, self-hatred, or addiction, for example.

Some people turn their anger outward, and it becomes violence towards others—usually NOT the people who first violated a boundary.

Every human being has a right to erect and maintain healthy boundaries.   If you find yourself feeling angry often, and deciding that there is something wrong with you, because you are feeling this “negative” emotion, and then working to just get rid of it, try instead asking yourself if there was some original assault upon your person that you were unable to respond to in a way that helped you express clearly the terms of your boundaries. Work on that deep level to clear the energies bound up in feeling violated, and then move forward knowing that it is O.K. to tell another person when they have crossed a line. Better to speak that truth than to further bind up your own emotions in an ever-tightening knot.

Let your anger be an energy that frees you up.


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