2015 is the year of the Goat and the theme is creating an eloquent relationship with our emotions and becoming competent in hearing their wisdom and acting upon it.  With the current tragic events unfolding in France, one of the emotional misconceptions we are taught is being highlighted in bold.  Anger is wrong and it steals happiness.

The first thing to know is that anger isn’t wrong.  Anger is normal, it’s healthy, and part of our lives.  If we never felt anger we would be pathological in our experience of the world around us.  The thing is, we are taught to conflate anger and actions/reactions that are spurred by anger.  It’s not wrong to be angry, it’s wrong to lash out in anger.  It’s not wrong to feel anger when there is injustice, it’s wrong to act in violence against others because of that anger.  Anger tells us when boundaries have been violated, when actions and consequences have done damage to us or to those we love.  That anger in itself doesn’t make us do bad things, and doing bad things doesn’t necessarily stem from anger.  We can choose to use our anger to clarify our beliefs and needs around a subject.  We can use it to help propel us into changing our behavior.  We can use it to give us the courage to speak out, to join in, and to vote our conscious.  Anger is not the issue, our choices or lack there of is.

So then we have the whole issue of anger vs. happiness.  We can’t be happy if we’re angry about things so we should stop being angry and be happy.  Right?  Because invalidating what is real, forcing it into another shape and pretending that this doesn’t do violence to us is a good idea, kinda like foot binding was in China.  Great idea, forcing a totally natural, functional and necessary appendage into a completely foreign shape leaving the person in constant pain and barely mobile.  Yep, great idea.  Ok, snark aside, happiness isn’t driven away by anger any more than anger can be driven out by happiness.  If something has made you angry, thinking happy thoughts doesn’t resolve the issue, it just delays it for another day.  And if happiness is not truly an emotion but a state of being which can only be perceived over a long period of time, and over time we’re constantly shoving anger away and not dealing with the underlying issues, then we can’t truly be happy, can we?

So in this year, instead of trying to force your emotions into being something they aren’t, try listening to them.  Let them point you towards the truths your soul has been speaking for so very long.  Look at them as friends and allies rather than devastating weather events.  And don’t blame them for the reactions you have or the choices you do or don’t make. Your emotions are your soul singing in response to your inner and outer life. They don’t make you do anything other than know you’re alive. The rest is up to you.