Anger is insight, into what we truly care about, what actually matters to us beyond the many trivialities that would manage and mangle our daily living; love for a daughter, a sense of calling to a kind of work more than only work, a way of being in the world expressing our elemental beliefs and desires. Anger is honesty without adornment, an ancient urge embodying our deep displeasure with how life goes awry, our plans come to naught, and those dear to us gradually fade from view. Stripped of violent reaction, anger is the purest form of care, as David Whyte has said, illuminating what we belong to, what we wish to protect, and what we are willing to risk ourselves for. Rage as such is nothing other than a reminder of love’s ferocity, the fiery passion of our commitment to what we value most, and with the ability to incinerate any false propriety preventing us from owning a more genuine, intuitive form of compassion, for others, and ourselves.
One of the worst things we can do with anger is attempt its manipulation, stifling its fury, as if it were a source of shame to be snuffed out as soon as possible. Anger shortchanged will only surface again, and often with an eruptive force unequal to its original inception. Anger needs space to be before it can settle to a smolder, searing away the chaff within us first, illusions of control often cloaking the reality of our impotence in an unpredictable and hostile world. As a core emotional competence, anger has its own intelligence, reasons that reason does not know, a crimson intensity tending entirely toward expression, and offering an incandescence to our hidden fears and secret ambitions. Ultimately, anger cannot be defined, for definition is an intellectual affair. Anger desires simply to burn, setting our lives aglow, as much as joy, despair, or a feeling of inner peace. Inviting anger more openly into our experience when needed will not help us transcend it but rather accept and integrate its essence and vitality. Anger in the end is ironic, in that it often calls for an apology in its aftermath yet arose out of necessity, the natural consequence of compassion burning bright, embodied and destined for friction in a world too often at odds with our hopes, dreams, and limited means of protecting them and those we love.