I know you can't believe/ I could just leave it wrong/ And you can't make it right/ I'm gon' take off tonight/ Into the night” - Kanye West, "Heartless" Anger remodels my world the same way the erupting lava from a volcano landscapes its surroundings. Everything is damaged, burned and hot volcanic ash. Recently, I experienced anger and felt unable to be the same person I was before. More than that, I realized I was angry. I wanted to mitigate the fall out from my emotions, but I knew I would not be able to calm down easily. But I could not find any good choices to deal with myself. I turned inward and became frustrated. Why do we even have anger if it's just going to destroy us? This writing will focus on three positive aspects of anger. How much more grievous are the consequences of anger than the causes of it. - Marcus Aurelius Many years ago during the aftermath of another personal volcano, I had read the book . I found the book helpful. It was a mindfulness practice that could benefit me. Learning to manage your anger requires work and introspection and I had little patience. I read the book once and felt myself cured. I lent the book to an acquaintance and never saw it again. In hindsight, I feel it might be a book to tattoo on my arm. Anger by Thich Nhat Hanh The truth will set you free, but first it will piss you off. - Gloria Steinem In the future, I would like to see a Future Me that conquers my anger. I picture Future Me being able to rush forward and protect me from an onslaught of rancid boiling oil that I threw on myself. Future Me knows how to get the resentful words to choke back down. Future Me knows the way to dodge poison tipped arrows that I unleashed into the air myself. What’s the difference between Future Me and Me Right Now? The person I am right now has to learn from her mistakes and embrace the lessons of anger. It is a hero’s quest that requires personal change - personal change through failure. Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned. - Buddha Angry people are not always wise. - Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice Anger has taught me some wisdom, but I am sure there is more I have yet to learn. Among the positive lessons of anger are these three: Anger can create personal change. Anger is like a mirror that shows you your worst fear and then challenges you not to run away. It forces something different to happen no matter how much you want things to stay the same. Anger is like a piece of hot metal that burns through you. The scar is the evidence you are a different person than before. Anger can give us energy. If I am able to sit with my anger long enough to experience how I feel, I find that when I am angry, I am highly anxious. My body feels like moving while my mind feels like it's racing. I am more apt to make quick decisions and become impulsive because I am thinking with my “reptile brain.” While these are some of the negatives of anger, these weaknesses can be strengths as well. That energy can be harnessed with the ability to change. Anger can give us direction. Like many people, I seek pleasure and avoid pain as a natural consequence of being a fallible human. Anger can provide a stimulus to make decisions - hopefully good ones. Sometimes, anger can clear confusion. Anger might be able to give clarity about what someone values. It can give the power to reshape personal choices. My tongue will tell the anger of my heart, or else my heart concealing it will break. - William Shakespeare, "The Taming of the Shrew" Anger’s positive aspects also include being able to better see into your own motives. Anger can hold us up and make us accountable not only for our choices, but for the shadow sides of ourselves. This dark side of our feelings and insecurities is upended like a tractor flipping over a warm hill of cow dung, spilling the stench into the air. For me, anger has always revealed something about myself I need to work on, and I can’t say I wanted to see it when it presented itself. Every time it asks me: Do you have the guts to look into this mirror? The 3 positive aspects of anger can make this emotion worthwhile even while it can destroy us. My familiarity with anger helps me see that it's a universal experience, part of being human and flawed. This knowledge also gives me self-compassion and allows me to reach out to others in an attempt to heal. Remember our anger has positive aspects and we experience it to broaden the definition of ourselves.