I have recently completely changed my view on anger. Previously I felt it was something to be avoided at all costs and steered away from people who I felt got too heated. My opinion only changed when I attended an event hosted by women activists in education and asked what was driving them. They told me it was anger.
Anger about inequality, mistreatment and injustice, which made me realise that it was their rage that mobilised them to action. They were channelling their anger for good; for positive change and without it they would have probably been sitting at home doing something very different.
Take Betty Makoni for example, she is a Zambabwean and worldwide acclaimed defender of girls’ rights. Through sheer hard work, her organization grew from a classroom to a global level. Her experience of being raped at age six and losing her mother to domestic violence transformed her from victim to activist.
To be honest I started to feel a little jealous that I wasn’t angry enough – I racked my brains about what I could get fired up about but then I thought that if I had to search so hard for it, it probably wasn’t there.
However, there have been times when I have been angry and instead of channelling this into something positive, I turned it into either feeling like a victim, or blaming others – only now do I realise that nothing changes from choosing inaction.
“Imagine what the women’s suffrage movement would have been like if women had said, ‘Guys, it’s really so unfair, we’re nice people and we’re human beings too. Won’t you listen to us and give us the vote? To paraphrase Malcolm X, ‘there’s a time and a place for anger, where nothing else will do.’”
What are you angry about? What do you bemoan on a daily basis? What sort of injustice, mistreatment or lack of fairness riles you? And are you doing anything about it?
Next time don’t just rant or simmer in the corner, do something. Mobilise your rage into something positive; something that makes a difference. The odds are that there are lots of people just as angry as you, waiting for a leader or to form a group.
You don’t have to give up your life; it can be a phone call, a well written letter, a blog or a YouTube video saying what you think.
Whatever it is I know it will change your view about anger and help you manage it better too.
You may find my book useful: Rocking Your Role – the ‘how to’ guide to success for Female Breadwinners.