Anger has long been my Achilles’s heel. For the longest time, I’ve believed that anger is weakness. And not only is it weakness, it’s harmful. It’s toxic. It only hurts people and brings them down with you.
Though, recently I’ve made more an effort to understand anger more. To grow more empathetic and to dig into the roots of the emotion. And at the bottom of that pool, I’ve found what I expected to find — something that I’ve known for years, but never let penetrate my heart.
Good luck skimming any form of news without seeing African Americans all over protesting police brutality, oppression and racial discrimination. It demands your attention. It isn’t calm. It’s angry. And I, along with many others, tend to pigeonhole on that.
Yes, we hear you, but there are better ways to go about this… How about let’s be peaceful about it? I mean, no one will listen to you if you’re this angry anyways. I’m on your side.
Anger gets you nowhere. It’s a detriment to progress. It’s just distracting. It’s immature even. Right?
People don’t get angry at nothing. Anger is a reactive emotion. Anger boils up only when we feel frustrated, hurt, betrayed — we get angry at injustice and wrongdoing, we get angry because someone or something we care about is wronged.
Anger happens when something is wrong. And when I choose to think about it from this different vantage point, I ask myself, how would I approach someone who is visibly upset, sad, and hurt?
The anger that blacks feel in this country is a natural response to real feelings of oppression and discrimination; a frustration with complacency; our lack of progress, understanding, and reparative efforts towards change. Does the form of outward expression invalidate the underlying issues?
It takes heartfelt compassion to empathize with someone screaming at you. It takes patience and real love to try to get through to someone doing everything they can to push you away. To address the underlying pain of emotions veiled by anger.
Take time to listen. Hear the struggle. Feel the pain. As much as you can, and maybe that will compel you to push a little bit further than what is “justified” and into what is truly compassionate, effective, and loving.