Expressing anger is a part of healthy boundaries
Rage rooms have become a thing, even here is blissed out Cape Town bru… the concept is quite simple, you get given a baseball bat and some safety goggles, and ushered into a room where you can go ham, smashing up old electronics – I guess we do need to figure out how to responsibly dispose of old computers, TV’s and microwaves, and hopefully this gives way to a sustainable solution… although I’m not all convinced.
Why do so many of us feel so fuckin’ angry lately… so much so that there is business to be made from this? And then on the contrary there are as many of us who would never consider ourselves as angry people. Why is there this extreme, either angry hot head or serene queen?
Oh anger, rage, wrath… easily the most avoided (or abided by) deadly sin. In other words we tend to stay (the hell) away from being or even getting angry, unless it’s within a controlled, windowless padded room where we can finally allow ourselves to truly feel the feelings. Why is this emotion in particular so covert?
Us humans pride ourselves (there’s another of those deadly sins again) in evolving past our primal need for territorial protection through angry outbursts, we believe that rage and anger is an emotion to transcend. Entire industries (I’m referring to the one I represent), are bedrocked in us processing anger, letting go of anger, evolving past anger, and then I must question why is this feeling even there to begin with if not by design? What if there is true purpose to anger, a reason for it that we choose to rather deny, suppress, process, and transcend? What if we’re missing a sense of wisdom in using the power of anger to define a bright line that should not be crossed?
We’ve been pacified against our angry outbursts since we were babies. Literally anything will be done in the pursuit to stop a baby from crying, especially those blood curdling angry screams. We’re distracted, made to smile instead, shamed, told to stop it, praised for being happy, and punished for being angry. Happy children are good children and good children get loved. Angry children are bad children and bad children get punished. What if those little versions of ourselves screaming out as loud and powerfully as we possibly could, throwing our toys, stomping and crying… what if that was simply an early expression of communicating, I don’t like that, don’t do it again. What if we felt the only way to enforce a bright line that shouldn’t be crossed was by throwing a tantrum, because we were little, we didn’t have the words, we didn’t have the full understanding, we didn’t get the logic, and we certainly didn’t have the strength to stop our boundaries from being crossed.
It’s interesting because there are people in our lives who we know to not cross a certain (even implied) line with them. And oftentimes we know not to cross this invisible line, not because we have seen what would happen if we did, but because we instinctively know what could happen if we did.
This is what is referred to as a boundary. An implied, “do not go there” kind of vibe that we all know not to push. So why is it that for some people we all know not to cross that line, and for others we are willing to take a gamble – even if they were to get angry…
Could this be an internal sense of self respect that we instinctively feel, or perhaps those people have boundaries with themselves. Not the throttled or restrained kind that end up with passive aggressive snide remarks while giving a back handed compliment, but rather the kind of self boundaries that show a degree of standards kept for themselves, and by themselves. An expectation that this is how it is for me and everyone in my environment. There’s a difference there – can you feel it?
Could the reason so many of us find it so difficult to set boundaries (whether we identify as effing angry, or not) be because we have shamed a deeply powerful, necessary, and truly natural emotion as anger. We make anger bad and volatile and primal and uncivilised, yet we live our lives as slaves to perfection, people pleasing our way to being loved, all while smearing smiles on our faces as our guts twists and our bodies scream with back pain, anxiety, and sleepless nights.
Remember in school when we learned about the immune system where the white blood cells were depicted as soldiers that would fight off any baddy germs that entered the body? If your immune system never “got angry” where would that leave your state of health?
Boundaries are akin to our emotional immune system and since so many of us keep our anger under wraps, except for when we’re contributing to the sustainable, and responsible disposal of outdated tech, it’s no wonder we’re suffering so much mental and physical illness…
Realising this makes me pretty angry as I feel as though my emotional sovereignty has been high jacked by a society that denies me the full expression of my entire self because “that’s unprofessional” or worse still “that’s inappropriate”. I say fuck that!! Inappropriate is asking people whether they would be willing to do something, and not allowing no for an answer. Inappropriate is taking more than one expected. Inappropriate is not even asking before one takes. Inappropriate is holding unachievable expectations. There is way more inappropriate behaviours in this world than getting angry, that’s for sure!
I’m starting with boundaries! I’m starting with creating a canvas for myself to express. I’m demarcating for myself what this means, what my expectations are, what my standards are, and how I can express myself, and I thought to invite you along with me!!