“You should be angry. You must not be bitter. Bitterness is like cancer. It eats upon the host. It doesn’t do anything to the object of its displeasure. So use that anger. You write it. You paint it. You dance it. You march it. You vote it. You do everything about it. You talk it. Never stop talking it.” – Maya Angelou
The Discomfort of Tension
I never imagined myself writing this article.
In fact, writing this article was one of the most uncomfortable processes in my life.
However, as a transformation facilitator, the discomfort is always a strong indicator that there is more reason for me to dive deeper and uncover hidden truth within what’s causing the tension.
This time, it is around anger. A topic that makes some of us cringe, and some of us rage.
This is a topic I am revisiting, but with deeper understanding each time on this spiral journey called self-actualization.
To help you understand why anger is a difficult but essential component in the journey of self-empowerment, I need to offer you a background story.
My “Nice Girl” Story
Growing up in communist China in the 80’s, every adult in my life drilled the “nice girl” concept into my head.
A nice girl is a girl who is modest and humble. She is quiet, non-confrontational, reserved and obedient. She knows her place in this world and hangs out with other nice girls. A nice girl does not share her thoughts, words or emotions if not asked, better yet, she is to follow what “authority figures” tell her how to think, speak and feel.
She is to work hard and does what she is told.
She is to earn her worthiness through good grades and appropriate (obedient) behavior.
She is to put her needs last to always show compassion and consideration to others.
I grew up hiding behind the smiling nice girl facade. I held the idea an emotion such as anger is inappropriate, especially for girls and women. No nice girl should ever be caught angry because this immediately makes her emotional, irrational, ugly, unfeminine, hysterical, or even crazy.
And then the worst will happen: no one will like her.
As a result, I spent the first half of my life busying trying to be liked. I was a people pleaser. I hardly allowed myself to feel angry and when I did, I made sure it was done in the privacy of my own home so no one would see it.
The cost was astronomical: I experienced lifelong auto-immune issues, dysfunctional relationships, money leaks, and an overall sense of powerlessness. It wasn’t until my spiritual awakening years ago that I was able to really shine a light on all the powerless patterns I locked up in a dark closet I didn’t even know existed.
Gender and Anger
Boys and men are affected by the disempowering belief about anger as well, though it is, for the most part, expressed and received differently.
I remember watching boys breaking each other’s noses and insulting each other’s mothers because they did not know how to channel their anger in healthier ways. My dad repressed his anger by a display of slamming doors, throwing utensils and withdrawing affection for days at a time in complete silence, allowing it to boil over inside of him. Never once in his life had he opened up to his family to let us know why he was angry.
Overall, our society has an easier time accepting the outward blasting of male anger, especially when it involves a powerful figure scolding his employees or men fighting for what they want. Most of it is done unconsciously.
In my work, I’ve witnessed how much the lack of understanding of anger in men leads to the same disempowerment.
Some men believe they must exert control over their environment by force and manipulation. Some identify the expression of anger with power over others, leading to the alpha male stereotype.
Deep down inside, in both women and men, anger means unresolved pain around claiming their wholeness and power.
The Brutal Mirrors of Entrepreneurship and Psychedelics
The world you live in is a projection screen, and each experience you encounter is a projection, or the effect of your current state of consciousness.
However, the world also provides a massive amount of distractions and creative outlets for you to run away from recognizing the connection between your inner misalignment and the images on the screen. These means can range from substances to unconscious media.
Entrepreneurship (especially for those who became entrepreneurs after leaving their corporate jobs) and psychedelics take away that buffer zone. They take away the distractions that enable you to turn a blind eye on your disempowerment, and bring up your shit real fast.
Intimate relationships have the same effect, though one can still choose to walk away from it when things get uncomfortable.
It isn’t the same with running your business which translates to, if you can’t find a way to realign fast, you won’t be able to pay next month’s rent along with all your expenses.
Unconscious power leak is one of the biggest factors contributing to financial lack and scarcity among entrepreneurs.
Psychedelics melt all filters, and magnify whatever is within. In an ayahuasca journey, you better pray you don’t try to run or else you’ll suffer the displeasure of the mother who is committed to delivering you an extra dose of her tough love (to help you integrate your ayahuasca journey, download my Psychedelics Integration Kit here).
The Nice (and Disempowered) Healer
When I left my job years ago after my spiritual awakening, I naturally took on the role of a compassionate healer and spiritual coach, and saw clients in my private office in midtown Manhattan.
I was successful in my craft, having trained with a variety of experts and done a ton of self-work. I was able to transform my own limiting patterns in health, relationships, money, fear, and help others do the same, yet one thing remained…
I could not own my anger.