When you witness injustice, how do you feel? Do you clench your teeth? Do you squeeze your fists so tightly that your nails dig into your palms? Do you feel your heart pounding and hear the blood rushing in your ears? All of these are ways in which anger physically manifests in our bodies.
It’s natural to feel anger when you see something happen or witness an interaction that just isn’t right. Every bone in your body knows that what you see is not okay and that somebody needs to do something about it! I once worked with an animal rights group in Dallas on the problem of people dumping dogs in the woods—dead or barely alive. There was a lot of anger and rage in people who felt so impacted by the inhumane ways dogs were being treated by irresponsible and sometimes cruel pet owners. Anger like that can easily turn into feelings of powerlessness. And in powerlessness, we often turn on ourselves, blame ourselves for not doing enough, not saying what needed to be said in the moment, or worse, saying something we don’t mean.
In working with the animal rights group, I watched how they channeled that anger by taking action. These volunteers would drive around to known dumpsites and look for dogs that were still alive. And when they came across dogs that weren’t alive, they checked for microchips and tags—anything they could use to bring to the police and press charges against the abusive dog owners. The members of this group knew that they were taking action, and that helped them use their anger to make the best out of a bad situation.
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