Anger, my friend

Learning and teaching energize and nurture my being. Last month I went to a workshop entitled “Anger, Forgiveness and the Healing Process” by Paula Butterfield, PhD. I didn’t try to absorb every word only because she could have written the script for Mary Tyler Moore, Bill Cosby or Jay Leno. I also appreciated the fact that her talk was filled with the wisdom-of-life stories, current ”Life Coaching” research and included a well summarized 31 page handout (not a power point) with scientific documentation of everything she presented.

I continue to think about two of her helpful topics. One topic can be summarized by her description of anger. “Anger happens when one of your values has been violated.” The challenge for me is to do exactly what she suggested, related to my values. After I made a list of my top ten values, I needed to admit how much time I actually give to nurturing these each week. My weekly review was a bit shocking. Her point was, “Anger is about you, not about the situation.” I learned that anger is my friend, because after it invites me to ask, “What value of mine has been violated?” I also get to clarify to myself a whole range of values I didn’t consciously know I had. Somehow this self-awareness makes me feel more transparent (I apologize for using one of the current buzz-words). I suppose my next challenge will be spontaneously sharing those newly articulated values with people I care about. I have to admit, I still feel a little shy about by newly-articulated-value language.

The other comment that still lingers in my brain is “Resentment is harbored anger. Resentment is like drinking a little poison every day and expecting the other person to die.” I’m still ruminating…