I love my anger. Anger has come to serve an important role in my life and in my process. Anger is an emotion that I actively and regularly work with. We’ve seen a lot of anger lately and I’ve noticed a distinction on how different kinds of anger feel. Based on this distinction I’ve come to see anger as something that falls into (at least) two categories: righteous anger, and entitled anger.
I define righteous anger as an anger that lets you know when your boundaries have been crossed. Anger in response to mistreatment, to being asked to shrink. Anger born from injustice. This anger always comes to reveal when your circumstances are misaligned with your worth. This anger tells you: I am worth more than this. I deserve better than this. I love myself too much to allow this. It says these circumstances do not reflect my wholeness and the truth of who we are.
This is the anger at the heart of the aligned truth teller and the artist, the protestor and the organizer. This anger provides both power and fuel — as long as you work with it. If you do not work with your righteous anger, it becomes something else capable of harming you and others. Anger need not harm. If you treat it with respect, it will teach you how to love.
Working with your anger looks like feeling, noticing, and listening to what your anger is telling you. Underneath that anger, what are you being called to do? What are you being shown to heal? What boundaries are you being taught to build? What are you being asked to teach? Where do you give away your power? What will you no longer tolerate? Where might your true worth live? What will you now create?
Working with your anger requires self care. Since we’ve been taught to minimize and apologize for our anger, we must be patient as it unfolds.
There is a lot to be angry about.
Righteous anger is an anger that is rooted in love. It comes to heal, correct, and release anything that is not love. It comes to inform. It is disruptive and direct without apology. It does not seek to take. Heeding your righteous anger is an important initiation that will allow you to discover what was always within you. It will bring you this gift, and then it will ask you to protect it. Righteous anger is a lifelong friend and teacher. It will transform you if you let it.
I define entitled anger as anger born of privilege and assumption. It is an anger based on controlling others. It is an anger that believes that other people’s existence is subservient to your own. It is an anger that believes that other people’s existence is a threat to your own. It is insecure and rooted in the lies we’ve been taught.
Entitled anger is also informative. It says: I feel worthless. It says I do not know how to love myself. It says I do not know how to love the part of myself that you reflect back to me. It says I am ashamed. It says I cannot see you because I cannot see myself. It says I am disconnected from my humanity and the truth of who we are. It sees I need you to define me. It says if you do not cooperate with how I need you to be, so that I can stand in my false self, I will seek to destroy you.
Entitled anger only takes. It builds nothing but destruction.
White supremacy, and all oppressive paradigms, are codependent. They represent a worth that relies on the worthlessness of another. They know nothing of worthiness or power. They are inherently violent and desperate for resolution and they will render you incapable of finding what you seek within yourself. You turn outward because you must. Because entitled anger has disconnected you from what was always within you.
This is an anger that seeks to punish someone else for what you’ve never had to reckon with. You feel worthless and you find release by attempting to make someone else feel MORE worthless than you do. That is where you think your worth lives. This is where you draw your “strength”.
Anti-blackness. Toxic masculinity. Transphobia. Tone policing. Silencing. Calling the cops on the people who exist in your midst. Racism. Xenophobia. Body shaming. Micro aggressions. Teachings rooted in distrust. Self-loathing. Oppression in all forms both violent and passive aggressive are ALL examples of entitled anger. Entitled anger is baseless. It has no grounds. It is fed by lies and quiet shame. Shame that is both yours and your Ancestor’s, passed down to you. It is a double edged sword — striking you as you strike with it.
Sometimes we are the recipients of our own entitled anger. We are taught to hate ourselves until we can become something worth loving. But that something has always been here!
Entitled anger will show you where your wounds are. It will give you the information you need to heal.
What are you being asked to reckon with? What are you being called to face? What have you built on the lies we’ve been taught? What are you being called to tear down? What are you being asked to witness in yourself? Where do you give away your power? Where does your true worth live? What will you now create?
Entitled anger is something you must learn to work with. To witness. Failing to work with your entitled anger will cause you to harm yourself and others. Entitled anger is weak and insecure. It is not a power nor a friend. Entitled anger is a wound that destroys everything that it touches, beginning first and foremost with the one who clings to it as if it is a sword and a shield. It is neither.
Entitled anger is a poison.
Righteous anger is its remedy.