The wisdom of anger? Really?
Many philosophers think so. Creativity expert Julia Cameron does, too.
Yet many church sermons exhort us to be meek and passive.
think those sermons confuse the effects of anger with its wisdom. Anger is volatile. If you let it explode, you
can destroy relationships that took years to build. Attempt to ignore it and it
will eat you alive.
Either way, the effects are devastating. The wisdom of anger is to neither unleash nor suppress it. What you must do is treat your anger with respect.
Anger is meant to be respected. Why? Because anger is a map.
Anger shows us where our boundaries are. Anger shows us where we want to go. It lets us see where we have been and lets us know when we didn’t like it.
Anger points the way.
Julia Cameron The Artist’s Way
Enough with people wisdom. This site is about the dogs. So what does your dog know about the wisdom of anger that you don’t?
Dogs get angry just like their humans. When their food is threatened, a toy is taken, or their pack threatened, your dog will be angry. But she won’t don’t stew about it for weeks. She won’t make elaborate plans for revenge.
Dogs act. Instantly. They growl. They snap. If necessary, they will attack. They will fight to protect their boundaries.
Notice, they don’t go immediately to full out attack.
They growl first. This gives the other party a chance to back off, the option to rethink their choices. Dogs only escalate if necessary.
They growl a warning when another dog is too close to their bowl.
Snap if the dog keeps coming.
Other dogs get it: growl means “no.”
Snapping jaws mean I warned you.
And I won’t warn you again.
Dogs say what they mean. They express their anger clearly: My bowl. My toy. My human.
You can do the same with your feelings – if you listen to the wisdom of anger.
Is your boundary is threatened? Growl. Sometimes that is all it takes. Works for dogs. Works for humans, too.
Escalate only if you must. Most times, all it takes is a growl.
Once the danger is gone, your dog doesn’t hold onto it. She will remember, but she won’t waste time and energy worrying about it.
Here’s the wisdom bit: listen to your anger.
Give it your full and undivided attention. It has a message for you.
Growl if you need to.
Snap if you must.
And only as a last resort – attack. Your anger is a powerful defensive weapon.
And when it is over and order is restored – let it go. Enjoy your food, your toy, your humans, and especially your dog.
Copyright © 2020, 2021 Suzanne Grosser