Anger is an agitated state of mind that can easily lead to hatred and violence if unchecked. Yet I don’t believe it’s possible to get rid of anger; it is a universal emotion deeply rooted in ingrained survival reactions. My goal is to live with anger—as well as other difficult emotions—in a skillful way so it doesn’t cause harm.
How do I practice with anger in order to achieve that?
There are many types of anger. For example, there’s the anger I feel after watching or reading about social injustice. The energy of this type of anger can be helpful. Taking action requires experiencing enough outrage that I’m compelled to volunteer, protest, or support the causes that address social injustice—without allowing my indignation to erupt into violence.
Another type of anger is made up of grudges that camouflage grief. I mentor many people who carry around unending resentments at those who’ve abandoned them, whether lovers, spouses, partners, parents, or family members. What I find is that harboring such resentment creates the illusion that we can protect ourselves from ever being abandoned again.