Often I hear of the repression of aggression, partially because I talk with Jedi Realists. “Only to defend, never to attack“, quoting Master Yoda. It leads to “darker” values and inevitably, evil, or so they’ll tell you. But it must be said that there is a succinct difference between assertion and aggression. Making the first move, taking the first step, is not necessarily an act of attack, but one of assertion. Acting out of impulsion, of hate, in anger, is an attack. By letting others make the first move we can be put at a disadvantage, especially if you’re of the reactionary mindset.
Make a move for progression. Be measured and controlled but assert yourself. Don’t hide behind poorly defined words as an excuse to lack ambition, initiative and drive. Don’t make excuses. Embrace assertion and truly discover what you can be capable of when you decide to take charge.
We’ve all heard the little sayings and quotations about how anger and whatnot will set you back in life. The people who say this cannot see that side of themselves for what it truly is; a tool. Like any tool, it can be misused, and often will be in the wrong hands, or in the hands of the untrained. Lashing out in anger can be a definite setback like any impetuous action. Instead, channelling that rage into something productive or creative can yield positive results. The anger doesn’t have to be directed to or sourced from anyone you know, it could just be general frustration. Anger with the television or internet can cause some people to throw up their hands in frustration and go pick up a book or go outside or do something constructive.
My own anger spurred me into finding a better paying job. It drove me to get started on my driver’s licence. Frustration can be one hell of a motivator if you know how to use it. Merely getting angry and shouting or throwing objects around is merely blind rage. This is definitely considered non-constructive behavior, but some psychologists claim that sort of release can be good for your mental well-being. As I stated before, anger is a tool. Used incorrectly it could injure yourself or others. Because unexpected bouts of anger are often loud and uncaring it can disturb the emotional well-being of those around you. Used correctly, however, you could find yourself tapping a well-spring of inspiration and energy you may not have found before. All it takes is a bit of knowledge, a bit of patience and some honesty.
One of the opening lines in Stanley Kubrick’s dark masterpiece ‘Full Metal Jacket‘ goes thus: “Because I am hard, you will not like me. But the more you hate me, the more you will learn: I am hard, but I am fair!” This is true to an extent. Hating Gunnery Sergeant Hartman would inspire the recruits in a twisted way to perform their best, whether to prove him wrong or merely avoid his ire. This is true in the real world and some people try to attempt the same thing, albeit half-assedly, in what they call ‘tough love’. It’s more likely to cause frustration than any actual progression.
Hate can inspire. Frustration can motivate. In short, anger can be put to proper use, rather than just random bouts of profanity or occasional violence. You have to understand what it is you’re focusing on and why. Self-knowing is the key to change. Hating a condition and wanting to change it. Hating the way a certain person treats you or thinks of you and wanting to best them or prove them wrong. Society tells us that anger is something to be suppressed, or at the very least, released in socially appropriate settings. They have it half-right. Rather than taking out your frustration on a punching bag or, more likely, a fast-food employee, channel it. Discover the source of your emotion and tap it towards something beneficial. Remember, everyone: ‘Through passion, I gain strength.‘