Got Anger? Self-Compassion for the Dragon Within

There’s a wisdom that comes from nature. When we really look at it we see that nothing lasts. That’s not meant to be a dreary proclamation, it’s meant as a truth so we can begin to see things just as they are. When it comes to our anger, we can learn a thing or two from nature.

One of my favorite teachers is Thich Nhat Hanh and he says:

“Our body is impermanent, our emotions are impermanent, and our perceptions are impermanent. Our anger, our sadness, our love, our hatred, and our consciousness are also impermanent.”

Too often when we feel anger we react from the emotional center of our brain and without full consciousness. We become impulsive and shoot off a spiteful email that we wish we could take back. Or we get sucked into a battle where we end up holding onto this venomous grudge that weighs us down and brings out irritability with ourselves and others.

Who wants this?

What happens when anger arises and we greet it at the door with our full curious awareness? Where does it go when we let it be in a space that is as wide as the sky? What happens when we see the sensation of anger as a friend alerting us to be present?

Eventually the anger settles down and we’re left with a grounded consciousness to choose the most skillful response in the moment.

This has profound implications from our relationships whether it’s with a friend, family member, a stranger, our kids, or if you’re CEO of a company and you’re learning how to effectively work with your employees.

Anger can be constructive if we can learn how to become intimate enough with it that when it flares up, it becomes like an old friend who is reminding us to be here and cues us to be present.

Get to know what annoyance, irritability, frustration and even outrage feel like in the body. See what kinds of thoughts and memories flare up when it’s present.

Invite in a moment of self-compassion:

Ask yourself, “What do I need in this moment?”

The wisdom lies within.

As always, please share your thoughts, stories and questions below. Your interaction creates a living wisdom for us all to benefit from.

Reposted from Elisha Goldstein’s Mindfulness Blog on

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