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Got Anger? Self-Compassion for the Dragon Within

manage your angerThere’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.

Businessman thinking photo available from Shutterstock

Got Anger? Self-Compassion for the Dragon Within

Elisha Goldstein, Ph.D.

Elisha Goldstein, Ph.D. is creator of the six month online program A Course in Mindful Living, author of the book Uncovering Happiness: Overcoming Depression with Mindfulness and Self-Compassion, The Now Effect, co-author of A Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Workbook, Foreword by Jon Kabat-Zinn, author of Mindfulness Meditations for the Anxious Traveler: Quick Exercises to Calm Your Mind, the premier eCourse Basics of Mindfulness Meditation: A 28 Day Program, the Mindful Solutions audio series, and the Mindfulness at Work™ program currently being adopted in multiple multinational corporations. Join The Now Effect Community for free Daily Now Moments and a Weekly Newsletter. Dr. Goldstein is a clinical psychologist in private practice in West Los Angeles.

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APA Reference
Goldstein, E. (2012). Got Anger? Self-Compassion for the Dragon Within. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 26, 2020, from


Last updated: 28 Nov 2012
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