48 essays by Elizabeth Shé

Posts Tagged ‘dance of anger’

Essay #37: thanks

In Love on November 21, 2011 at 3:35 pm

My friend Anger came to call and I finally let her in.

Turns out Shame had been shrouding her like a dense fog, blurring her edges, slurring her words. She was almost invisible.

Acknowledge my feelings, said Anger, loud and clear now that Shame has evaporated.
When I am ashamed to be angry, I cannot hear her message, and cannot act on the information.

In The Dance of Anger, Harriet Goldhor Lerner writes, “Anger is neither legitimate nor illegitimate, meaningful nor pointless. Anger simply is. To ask, ‘Is my anger legitimate?’ is similar to asking, ‘Do I have a right to be thirsty? After all, I just had a glass of water 15 minutes ago. Surely my thirst is not legitimate. And besides, what’s the point of getting thirsty when I can’t get anything to drink now, anyway?”

Don’t kill the messenger, listen to her. Anger tells me it is not okay to disregard my feelings. It is not okay to attack me, hurt me, belittle me, ignore me, suppress me, hush me, or tell me I’m making much ado about nothing.

Anger has my back. If I don’t allow her in, I cannot defend myself. Lerner writes that “the pain of our anger preserves the very integrity of our self.” She compares it to the pain of touching a hot stove: it protects your body from further damage.

Pull the veil of Shame aside, and shine a light into the murk. Stop believing the propaganda instead of the evidence.

She shouldn’t ignore my feelings, I thought yesterday, when faced with proof of the exact opposite. She shouldn’t behave as though nothing is wrong.

Hello?! Why should she treat me any better than I treat myself?

Once again, charity begins at home. Know thyself, said the Greeks. Why have a panoply of emotions if we don’t need them? Drop the mask of Shame and look:
You really are love(d), Anger and all.

Thanks for Listening.