Emotion,  Self Help

Anger drives change

What caused the feminist movement? Why did India get its Independence? Why did the LGBTQI+ community claim back the word Queer?
Because they were angry.
Anger is the driving force against injustice: Collective anger against injustice has inspired lasting change throughout history in the form of revolutions, protests, charities, and formation of a deep sense of community. It has and continues to energize us.

While anger has served the larger society – anger is important at a micro-level too. At work, in relationships, and on the road. Anger is an important emotion, it is essential for our survival because it ensures justice is served. Just like fear, anger too elicits a physiological response. But unlike fear, where we either freeze or flee, anger motivates us to stay and fight. Anger is important for us to fight for justice – and our daily survival.

Anger, often confused as something bad is a basic emotion that must be felt and expressed. Society has taught us to suppress, and has reconditioned the importance of anger as destructive and bad. However, this basic emotion is what has driven revolutions and often exists with the thought of justice, freedom and a right to be.

Just like any emotion, anger must be allowed the freedom to be felt. But there is a conditioned belief that makes it uncomfortable to feel angry. What often results is the need to immediately minimize this distress with avoidance or impulsive reaction, neither of which are helpful behaviours. But imagined if you stayed with that feeling of anger and understood where it came from? Was it really the sentence your mum said or what you think about yourself when she said it? Is it really the feedback your boss has given or is it because you feel she does not give you an equal opportunity?

To understand your anger, and appropriately respond to it – you need to stay with the emotion of anger. Allow yourself to be uncomfortable – because in that discomfort you understand the why of your anger and then only can you bring about change.

How does anger serve us?
Anger can help us identify our limits: When angry, take a step back and introspect on what made you feel enraged. Essentially, anger lets us know what is and more importantly not okay. It helps us better understand our own boundaries.

Anger tells us what we need: Like hunger is a basic biological need, anger is a basic emotion. It helps us identify our emotional needs.

Anger can catalyse resolutions :Anger that facilitates communication (albeit not always healthy) and ultimately leads to a resolution to the concern, provided the communication part is handled well.

Anger has been condemned for centuries, but is the driving force for the most amount of change in societies. This underlying emotion is responsible for movements against the British oppression in India, CAA-NRC in India, and Feminist movements. Let your anger be your driving force for justice towards yourself. Recognize that anger is an emotion that needs to be expressed, but expressed through constructive and healthy means.

Unnati Bhardwaj
Unnati has an interesting knowledge of memes and Bollywood trivia. They like to express themselves through their poetry, art, and dancing. Being a queer feminist, they change their hairstyle every few months as a way of breaking out of the dichotomy of gender, and reclaiming their own body. They are equally passionate about literature and biology as they are about mental health, and try to keep acquiring new skills and information wherever they go.

Unnati Bhardwaj, Counseling Psychologist

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