Anger is Not My Contribution to the World

A couple of weeks ago at the Free to Be Unschooling Conference, Sandra Dodd gave me a gift. She, and the conference, have given me many gifts toward my journey of creating a happier life. Like all those gifts that have come before, this one was timely.

Anger is Not My Contribution to the World by Jennifer Andersen

Anger is Not My Contribution to the World by Jennifer Andersen

Sandra gave a talk called “Being Calm”. All that she shared was helpful and there was one concept she shared that I particularly needed to hear. That concept is outrage.

The Beginning of Outrage

Learning that a societal norm is accepted as a truth and is harmful to us (or worse, our children) is devastating. It makes us question everything. For a while, the world feels so uncertain and like trust is hard to find. For many, like myself, it can be infuriating.

I’ve learned so many of these truths since becoming a parent and I have been outraged. The outrage subsided after a while- even with each new truth I learned, but I felt obligated to remain demonstratively angry and outraged. I felt like if I didn’t jump on the bandwagon of anger I did not really care and was not doing my part. I felt like if I did not speak up with the fury and rage that the conversation “demanded” I was being a coward.

I am outraged by many things but living in that place of overwhelm, exhaustion, and anger also leads to burn out, confused thinking, and ineffectiveness.

Part of the Solution

There are so many big things happening in our world- so much injustice. So many people shirk away from getting involved. They avoid conflict and controversy. They bury their head in the sand. That is not me, and I know it is not many of you. It’s probably not even the people we have proclaimed are “not getting involved”.

Sandra’s talk made me wonder about the effectiveness of my efforts. It is something I have been turning over in my head for a while- that there has to be a better way.

I am learning that I can let go of the intense emotional experience when feeling outraged. I can know that change needs to occur and choose to be a part of it without exhausting myself and adding to the negativity in the process. I can continue to experience joy in daily life while still being an active part of the solution.

Through personal change work I am coming to understand the importance to the world that each of us experience joy and be our authentic selves- that this is an important part in righting injustice. Anger and outrage is not my authentic self. Joyful and playful is.

The gift I received a couple of weeks ago was permission to let the continued anger go- it was the debunking of the belief that “if you aren’t angry you aren’t paying attention” that has festered in, and obligated me, for so long.

Immediately upon giving up anger I had more clarity. I felt lighter. I felt happier and could see real joy again. My thinking cleared.

I do not know what this will look like in action or going forward, but I do know that coming from a place of calm and joy is a better personal contribution toward injustice than demonstrative anger and outrage.

Have you moved beyond anger and outrage without “burying your head in the sand”? Can you offer your experience and suggestions for moving toward this? 

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