I have been pondering one of the quotes from Mark Twain:
“Anger is an acid that can do more harm to the vessel in which it is stored than to anything on which it is poured.”
When I was still working as a therapist, I had more than one client do an exercise with me:
List all the ways you could use a can of gasoline, good, bad and indifferent…
One client and I came up with about 17 possibilities. Here are some examples:
Put it in the gas tank of your car so you can go places
mow the lawn
take tar off the truck
sell it and have a little spending money
set yourself on fire (not such a great use, eh!)
kill the lawn (okay, not so desirable either.)
Store it for years
Anger is a fuel. Often, we use it destructively, because we take it out on others, we direct it at ourselves or stuff it.
Many of us are afraid of anger because it has been weaponized; turned into nuclear fuel by parents or others in power. There are studies out now, showing that yelling is more hurtful to children than a spanking.
Used well, it is a terrific fuel. Anger is what motivates us to set wrong things right. It’s when we encounter and injustice and say, “I have to do something about that!”
Like all other emotions, anger is energy. It comes in various forms and degrees from annoyance to outrage.
Anger that has been allowed to sit for a long time turns into pain. It can make us ill, contribute to things like arthritis, ruin relationships and keep us from realizing dreams.
Many of us have been taught that anger is bad. That’s not really true. It, like all other emotions has value. In itself, it is neutral, merely and indicator light, much like the ones in your car. It’s what you do with it that makes it positive or not.
My pastor made an interesting comment one day:
“People say that emotions are the caboose on the train, if they allow them on board at all. I say they are the fuel block behind the engine, because they give us energy.”