Dubai Diaries: Why anger is good for you
Keep calm and carry on... or must you, we ask
Is anger a good thing? I was forced to ask myself this question after an uncle, who’d contracted the virus, passed away because he wasn’t hospitalised on time. There was anger — lots of it — simmering inside me.
Not the kind that would have me write long rants on Facebook or Twitter, but something far deeper. It also prompted me to deep-dive a bit into the emotion itself.
We romanticise love, sadness, grief, but anger often inspires raised eyebrows. The etiquette gurus will have you believe anger isn’t a good thing.
We fear rage — in ourselves and others — because we have been conditioned to believe we don’t take best possible decisions when the mind and heart are raging.
But do we always take the best decisions when heart is full of love? Not really. Then why are we seen as being emotionally fragile when we express our anger when it is only human to experience these emotions.
The truth of the matter is anger does not suit the world. It definitely doesn’t suit others when you introduce a little anarchy to their scheme of things.
Today, the entire conversation on toxic positivity is born out of this misplaced notion that strength lies is absorbing all difficulties, pain and trauma, and keeping calm and carrying on.
We are obsessed with the idea of strength. Recently, I asked my partner why it isn’t alright to articulate anger the way one would express love. “It is because people like to look up to those who are calm, it is reassuring.”
Then, possibly, we are also obsessed with the idea of someone looking up to us, thinking of us as a higher mortal.
While I’m not Hulk, neither am I a person who can embody calmness. My pursuit of calmness has taken me to several yoga retreats, meditation centres and breathwork classes.
These have been good distractions, but are yet to make me a calmer person. Anger — not rant, abuse or wrath, but plain, reasonable anger — has been soothing.
Today, anger is a natural byproduct of our existence at a time when the pandemic has put brakes on life as we knew it.
Nothing is the way it was, and yet, we are expected to celebrate life with a smile, even if a thousand daggers are being planted in our hearts. It is also not a virtue that makes women like me particularly likeable or acceptable to many.
An outburst here and a breakdown there, and people are quick to point out that you are an emotional mess or a problem child in an effort to have you internalise those labels and second-guess your impulses.
Peel off these labels and see anger for what it is — an agent of change. Be it the suffragette or racial equality — the transitions these movements have imposed on modern societies would not have happened if someone somewhere was not angry enough with the existing status quo.
Change brings discomfort, a reason why we have an uneasy relationship with anger.