Spring belongs to the Wood Element in Chinese philosophy, and the emotion associated with the Wood Element is anger. But surely Spring is about hope, not anger? Well, in Chinese medicine, hope and (healthy) anger are pretty much the same thing. In its Daoist sense, anger is the force that drives a tiny seedling through tarmac, pumps gallons of sap meters into the sky, and pushes a new baby into the world. Anger is the determined strength that liberates us. Anger makes hope possible.
I love this enlightened take on anger, so I thought I’d share my top three tips for making anger a force for good in your life.
Speak your truth
Marcus Aurelius said that anger cannot be dishonest. There is no better way to know what you truly want, when you have been hurt, or to recognise injustice, than to notice when you feel angry. Feeling angry doesn’t mean that you need to yell at someone. It simply means that you need to think about what is going on. The best place to start is to simply say “I feel angry”. When your anger is acknowledged, it will naturally reveal its precious truth – and this truth seeds hope for change.
"Grab the broom of anger and drive off the beast of fear"
- Zora Neale Hurston
Zora was right when she implied that anger is a perfect antidote to fear. Fear keeps us small and in the dark. Anger makes us big and gives us the strength to stride out into daylight. If you feel afraid of something, let yourself get angry about it. Let your anger make you bold enough to make the changes that you need to make. The time for fear ends when anger – and hope – starts.
Have you ever watched the face of a woman in the throes of labour? Behind the pain, and sometimes right in front of it, is pure and glorious anger. Her ferocity gives life to her new baby just as much as her body does. You can give birth to a new life, a new business, or even a revolution by channelling the same kind of anger. It will drive you through the inevitable pain of the big changes, and realise the hope those changes bring.