Rage is an advanced form of anger, just as panic is to fear, a state in which we are even less in control of our words and behavior. Hate is a condition in which we think very badly of someone, avoid contact with him, and probably wish the worst for him, perhaps even hoping that he might experience a tragedy. All three of these emotions, which from here on in we will simply call “anger”, are secondary emotions in the sense that they arise from other emotions, such as hurt, fear, guilt, injustice, disappointment, etc.
In general we are controlled by two beliefs here:
1. We believe we must have something that the other is obstructing us from having. This could be anything from sleep, food and shelter, to our peace of mind, our spouse or other persons to whom we are attached.
2. We believe this person toward whom we feel this anger is responsible for our reality. We believe that if it were not for him or her, we would not be unhappy. He or she is “responsible” for our pain and unhappiness.
Anger can also be a starting point for major change for an individual, or even an entire society. Anger can be a source of energy and dedication toward transforming the negative and unjust circumstances around us.
Many of us first need to learn to acknowledge, accept and express our anger before we can regain our self-esteem and empowerment. (We need not vent our anger toward others. We can learn nonviolent ways to express this energy. There are various catharsis techniques for this, which have nothing to do with others.)
Also, there are some cases in which we may need to express anger in order to get a result for which we are responsible. This can be done, however, without demeaning or hurting the other.
Hate, on the other hand, is based on weakness and has few redeeming qualities. A strong person seldom hates.
Thus, we are not interested in suppressing our anger, but rather in recognizing it, accepting it, expressing it in non harmful ways, understanding it and focusing its energy in positive directions toward self empowerment and social change.
Here is a brief list of some common reasons we might feel anger towards someone: (You may want to check those which tend to bother you.)
1. When others do not agree with us.
2. When they do not understand us.
3. When they obstruct us from satisfying our needs. (A need could be psychological, such as the need for acceptance, respect or self-esteem)
4. When they do not respect us.
5. When they think they are superior.
6. When they try to control or suppress us.
7. When they criticize us.
8. When they tell lies or gossip about us.
9. When they harm us or someone close to us.
10. When they have evil intentions or ulterior motives.
11. When they are negative, complaining, whining, criticizing etc.
12. When they think they know it all.
13. When they give us advice we have not asked for.
14. When they play the role of the victim, the “poor me,” and want attention.
15. When they do not take care of themselves or carry their share of the load.
16. When they make mistakes.
17. When they do not keep their promises or appointments.
18. When they are weak and dependent.
19. When they act in an egotistical and selfish ways, disregarding our or others’ needs
20. When they use us or others.
21. When they are cold and insensitive.
22. When they are not responsible to their word or responsibilities
23. When they are lazy.
24. When they ignore our needs.
25. When they reject us.
Other reasons ____
It would be interesting to go through the same list replacing the word “they” with the word “I,” making the analogous changes in the wording, so as to determine when we get angry with ourselves. This exercise may also reveal that some of the anger we feel toward others is actually a projection of anger that we feel toward ourselves. If we could understand and accept ourselves in those situations, we might also understand and accept others.
Positive alternatives to anger or hate could be:
1. We can understand the others’ weaknesses and negative traits. We all have faults and moments in which we are not conscious, loving or respectful of others.
2. If we have faith that nothing happens by chance and that life gives exactly what we need at every moment for our growth process, we will be able to take responsibility for what is happening and stop blaming the other.
3. We need to realize that we are the sole creators of our reality and that we are attracting from life and others whatever corresponds with what we feel and think within ourselves and with whatever we have to learn.
4. We can direct our energy toward changing or correcting that, which makes us angry.
5. We can recognize and understand our own weaknesses and negative traits and thus develop understanding for others’ weaknesses.
6. We can learn forgiveness and love others and ourselves as we are.