Dealing with Anger, part 3
Animals: Tradition - Philosophy - Religion Article from


Stephen Kaufman, M.D., Christian Vegetarian Association (CVA)

Dealing with Anger, part 3

Last week, I discussed dealing with anger arising from situations in which we feel damaged self-esteem. This week, I want to consider anger that comes from feeling powerless, a frequent cause of anger.
A sense of powerlessness is an inevitable consequence of life. We cannot get everything we want, and this often frustrates us, leading to anger. If we are to address this anger in a constructive manner, we must learn how to transform this anger into more positive feelings and actions.
There are several possible ways to transform anger, and I offer one strategy that is inward-looking and one that is outward-looking, though I think the two are related. Inwardly, meditation can help calm both the mind and the emotions. Anger is a powerful emotion, and meditation is an effective salve. Often, our minds our clouded by anger. Anger makes it difficult to see our contribution to conflicts, and anger often makes us say or do things that we later regret. Meditation can help us reflect on situations that make us angry and devise constructive ways to address this anger. There are many good resources on meditation techniques including Vinegar into Honey by David Loy.
Outwardly, an appropriate and effective strategy is to turn anger into constructive action. Often meditation can help us look at situations more objectively and can help us find creative, positive responses. For example, in response to a feeling of powerlessness in the face of potent institutions that support animal abuse, we can leaflet, table, talk to friends, and advocate on behalf of nonhuman beings. By the same token, if we find ourselves angered by family or friends, we can seek to ascertain how the conflict arose (including our own contribution to the problem) and find respectful ways to mend fences.

Next week, I will consider what to do when injustices arouse our anger.

Go on to: Dealing with Anger, part 4
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