It seems silly to have to defend the value of an emotion, but anger often gets a bad rap. The value of anger is wonderfully illustrated in Mike Hrostosky’s piece, Fuck You Spiritual People For Using Gratitude As A Bypass To Your Anger.
I loved Mike’s piece, however, it occurred to me that just as habitual suppression of anger causes problems (to use Mike’s words, your body is stuffed so ‘full of fucks’ you have a hard time feeling anything else), so too does failure to actively nurture its opposite.
In yoga, a pose is best followed with its opposite. If you do a forward back bend posture, balance it next with an arched back posture. This way you give equal attention to both sides of the body equation. Failing to balance poses over time can cause problems.
So what would be the opposite to Mike’s terrific ‘Fuck You’ exercise? A ‘Thank You’ exercise.
Most spiritual practices emphasize the value of regularly expressing gratitude, and that’s good. But as Mike accurately noted, spiritual practices can also be used (abused) as a shield to hide from and shame expressing anger. A better spiritual practice emphasizes the value of regularly expressing both anger (in order to release it) and gratitude.