Anger doesn’t have to be a negative emotion.

Anger and hatred.  Hatred and anger.  Ever and always these two words seem inseparable.  But while hatred is an ugly emotion usually leads to nothing but pain and injustice, does anger have to be seen that way?  I don’t think so, but day after day we are bombarded with the message that we should hate a given situation and be angry about it.

Anger is not an ideology.  Anger taken on its own is actually very clean and very powerful emotion.  It is the core of many people’s drive to succeed, their drive to make changes to their world.  Some sports people use anger to push themselves through the wall and into the realms of the superhuman.  Some artists harness their innate anger to create awe-inspiring pieces of artistic work.  Poetry, literature, paintings, theatre, movies, music are all filled to overflowing with the anger of artists.

And yet, we still find ourselves associating anger and hatred.

Hatred is feeling morally superior, or just plain superior to something or someone, but with added potential for violence of word, thought or deed.

Anger is…anger.  Unlike hatred it doesn’t need a focus to maintain its existence.  It is like love, happiness, sadness and curiosity nothing more than a part of the human condition.  Just like with those other components of what makes us human, what makes it good or bad is how we use it.

Seeing someone innocent harmed, becoming angry at that injustice and using that anger to save them, avenge them, protect them.  That is anger being used as a shield.

Seeing someone innocent being harmed and joining in because they called you a “bastard” for standing by.  That, is anger in its darkest form.  Anger joined with hate.

But I truly believe anger has as much potential for good as love does.  I have spent most of my life angry, but I have only hated those who have harmed or attempted to harm myself and those I love.  My anger drives me to write, to speak to the world about what I see, what I hear, what I feel and thus share with the world my belief that it should not be so.  My anger drives me to protect those I love and often enough the people they in turn love also.  My anger at what a, fluke of hormonal biochemistry while in the womb, did to me drove me to leave an entire life behind and become the woman I am today, a woman I am proud of being.

Love can hurt and destroy, just as it can nurture and grow.  Anger too can be a nurturing emotion, a force for growth rather than stasis or decay.

So perhaps anger should not be tied to intimately to hatred any longer.  Instead perhaps it makes more sense to say “Love and anger.  Anger and love,” and so tie two emotions that have a lot more in common together forever.

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2 Comments to “Anger doesn’t have to be a negative emotion.”

  1. Comedy, which is pretty much my favourite form of art, is often driven by fury – watch Dylan Moran, Dara O Briain etc, and you see that confusion, that anger refined and focused into what is functionally a lecture to make you look at something and analyse it.

    I maintain if I wasn’t permanently furious I wouldn’t have the energy to get up most days. It’s also a darned useful emotion to hold off getting depressed and apathetic. Don’t get miserable – DO something.

    • Sadhbh I am right there with you. Dara O’Briain’s angry comedy is one of my favourites, but it’s always the laser tight focus of John Cleese’s rants that make me laugh the most.

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