I just read a short article by Martha Beck in one of the latest articles in the Oprah magazine. Martha Beck is a gifted writer. Even if I don't always agree with her ideas, I'm always impressed by the articulate method she uses to express them.
In this article she supposes that each and every one of us feel anger at injustice, or situations where we have no control. I agree heartily with that supposition. In my own life the hot points that touch off anger are things like the car accident that eventually was part of the reason my beloved husband died at fifty-four. This same accident left our two beautiful daughters with pain issues they will have to face for the rest of their lives. (Did you feel my anger burn through Cyber space)? Sometimes my anger for the driver of the other car, the 19 year old kid who had not one injury burns so hot I fear that it will cause me to explode in flames.
There are many things that cause my anger to burn. The anger does not empower me on the surface. Is it possible to turn my anger into a righteous cause for change? Oh I hope so. With all of my heart I hope so!
In my parents generation and also in my own generation boys were not allowed to express any emotion except anger. I probably could tell the age of most readers by hearing how they respond to this simple statement, "Real men don't cry." My response to that is also simple. "THEY SHOULD CRY!"
If you ever visit a Care Center, or Nursing Home you will notice that there are far more women then men. We are learning constantly that our emotions, which often are fueled by circumstance, can cause some serious physical maladies. Cancer, Migraines, respiratory infections, allergies, all of these and more are worsened by stress. What is stress? I believe the simplest explanation is this: Anything that causes your heart to race or jump about.
I believe the current generation of teens and twenty somethings have been blessed to be raised differently. I pray that most of the young parents in our world today have learned NOT to say, "Real men don't cry."
Mahatma Gandhi, Nelson Mandela, and Martin Luther King, all are great men. I believe that each and every one of them cried when they saw evil. I believe that they were empathetic and cried when they witnessed pain or injustice happen to others.
Let's change that statement, "Real men don't cry," once and for all. From now on we tell our young boys, "Real men cry. They cry when they are hurt. They cry when they are sad. They cry when others are hurting. Real men DO cry!" After the tears are dried they get busy and make changes happen.
Maybe if we teach men that it's perfectly normal to feel emotion and show it through tears, the men will not only feel anger, and maybe, just maybe they will live longer. What an idea! It would be ever so lovely to see as many men survive for as long as our women do! As a widow at the age of 55 I know a little bit about the pain of being alone. Maybe, just maybe if my sweetie had been allowed the comfort of tears...SIGH...I can't do anything about the past. I hope to be able to do something about the future!
There IS great anger in me. My wise Mama taught me to channel that anger in many ways. I learned to cry effectively. I learned to dance until the anger was brought into submission. (I still dance like I'm angry...lol) I learned to use that anger to get a household task done that I hated doing. Adrenaline is a great motivator.
I don't remember hearing anybody say, "Use your anger. Channel the power and energy of your angry emotions to make a change for good in our world."
My husband became an attorney, largely because he had watched the struggles of his Mother, divorced after twenty-seven years of marriage, with no perceivable job skills, five sons, and no alimony or child support. His remarkable Mother earned her way to becoming the first woman detective in Consumer Fraud in her state. In a job interview when she commented on the fact that her male peers were earning more per hour she was told, "They're supporting families." The man who made this foolish statement knew that she was divorced supporting FIVE CHILDREN! Since she made less money, she earned less for her retirement. I can still feel anger driving me about that circumstance.
If anger is a destructive emotion, and it certainly can be, is it possible to turn it into a positive emotion? A driving emotion? An emotion that bears the possibility of changing the world?
Thanks Martha Beck, I will do some meditating over this idea. I hope those that read my post, or Martha's will too!