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Surviving Anger

Over the last few weeks, I have twice found myself in a very magical situation that I would love to share…

At first glance, “magical” might not seem like the appropriate word. But I am trying to capture the good feeling of that ultimately came out of both times, and I hope that it will be clear that what I am describing was a wonderful thing for me, even though it might not seem so at first.

In both cases, I was talking to someone who was angry - either directly at me, or in my general direction (angry at “men”, for example). And both times, it was ok. I don’t know about anybody else, but this has not been my typical experience when people have been angry with me.

I work with children a lot. I taught middle school in Israel, and now in the States I work in preschools as a music teacher.

Kids get mad all the time. As a matter of fact, they get furious. If I could transfer the heat of passion I get from a three-year-old on any given day to the body of an adult, we would be in some trouble, indeed.

But somehow, when young kids are angry at me, it’s ok.

So why is that?

It might be tempting to say that I am not afraid of anyone who is three feet tall… and to be fair, maybe that is a part of it. But I cannot say that I am physically afraid of most of the people who have been angry at me throughout my life. For the record, plenty of them have unnerved me without being physically daunting.

I think that with children, a lot of it has to do with seeing the bigger picture: I know that under that angry face, there is a lot of love. And the anger will pass. That’s one of the beautiful things about love, at least in my experience: Anger is stronger in the short-run; but love is stronger in the long-run. That is because love is what we are made of. Anger is just a passing phase. So as long as there is life, there is love.

Back to the grown-up world, if I may: I wonder if I (and perhaps many of us) have internalized so many experiences of being yelled at by grown-ups, that we tend to hit our fight-or-flight mode as soon as someone is angry. But in both of these conversations that I am describing, I knew they cared about me the whole time. There was never any question of that. And so, it was ok for them to be angry.

In the ongoing saga about forgiveness in my life, I find this to be a powerful ingredient in the endeavor to make peace with people who have hurt me in the past, or whom I have hurt.

But it is also a very promising concept when I think about relationships in general.

Sending you love, and may it go a long way :)

Photo by Joaquín M, Pexels


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