Written Blog: The Value of Outrage
So what do you like least in Donald Trump? Or Joe Biden? Or perhaps Hillary Clinton? Amazing teachers all of them, but not in the way we might think. Perhaps they teach us the most when we have a strong reaction to them.
Many of us have been experiencing outrage around the debates and other various injustices over the past year. And rightfully so. It’s been pretty outrageous. And thank you to the people who are actively doing something about it.
But beyond the opportunities for social and political change, these outrageous conditions also provide an opportunity for internal change.
Two opportunities often present themselves when our outrage becomes activated: self-acceptance and healing.
Deeper self-acceptance can be accessed by noticing when we project qualities or feelings that we do not want to accept in ourselves onto someone else- often when they are triggering outrage in us.
We may respond to this outage by becoming irritated, angry, or judgmental toward the outrageous person we are projecting these qualities or feelings onto.
For example, say if it bothers you when someone is being arrogant. Now you may say, “I’m not an arrogant person, so how could that foster self-acceptance?”
Well, you may not be blatantly arrogant like the person that’s driving you nuts, but perhaps there is a subtly arrogant aspect of yourself that’s trying to come into your awareness so you can accept it.
So look at the subtle ways that you may exhibit arrogance. For example, from a spiritual perspective, it may be arrogant to think that you can change someone. That doesn’t mean that you’re an arrogant person, but it may mean that you could grow by looking at this subtly arrogant tendency.
Healing, the second opportunity, can be accessed when you have a strong reaction to someone embodying a quality that has wounded you in the past.
For example, say you have a strong reaction when you observe someone behaving as a bully. Perhaps it triggers or activates residual feelings from when you were mistreated in a past relationship.
While reexperiencing these feelings may be uncomfortable and unpleasant, it may provide an opportunity to feel and heal these past experiences.
So for both opportunities, the true value offered by the outrageous person or behavior is that it provides a doorway to bring a quality or wound into consciousness so we can accept and heal it.
Think of it as these things are trying to come into our awareness and the outrage allows us to access them.
This is how an outrageous person or behavior can be our teacher. They are teaching us about things that we were not conscious of so we can accept and heal them.
And once we accept and heal these things, it removes the emotional charge of the outrage. This allows us to participate in effective and non-reactionary social change around the outrageous problem or injustice.
So get fired up! Be passionate. Scream at your TV, computer, or phone. But don’t miss the opportunity to grow and heal from it.
Just notice and observe. Hmmm. Why am I so fired up about what he is saying or doing?
What is it exactly that pisses me off so damn much?
This opens the door to healing. To forgiving others and yourself. To gently looking at some darker aspects of yourself. To promising yourself to not to be pushed around anymore.
And all of this just in time for the next debate.
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