Is anger really an emotion we should be suppressing?
“We are approaching the target” declared officer Grom as he barreled down the sterile streets of the silent city. Towering skyscrapers whizzed by on either side of the passenger windows. The only splashes of color in this ominously whitewashed city were government issued billboards. They all ordered everyone to “be happy” or to “stay positive”.
Patnos was another clean-shaven officer who sat in the passenger seat and stared unblinkingly at the dashboard screen. The target’s legal name, address, heart rate, and mood were all displayed beside a pulsating red dot. And the route they were taking towards him showed that they were only 8 minutes away.
“The target has been angry for a total of 3 minutes and 27 seconds. Pick up the speed, Grom. We need to neutralize him before he triggers anyone else to feel angry!” ordered Patnos.
The white utility van, with a big yellow smiley face on the hood, roared to a higher gear. On the sliding doors was emblazon the bold authoritative words “Sunshine Squad: enforcing happiness at all cost.
As Grom steered the police vehicle down the freeway, he pondered out loud. “Ever since the government made it illegal to be angry over the past decade, our city has never really been the same. Everyone is anxiety-ridden and recluse. None of us are actually any happier than before!”
But before Grom realized that his heart rate was getting unusually high, he felt the cold barrel of a pistol press firmly to his head.
“Grom, you are one word away from getting angry!” warned Patnos in a cold and distant voice.
But Grom’s final words were a question that would continue to haunt his comrade for the rest of his life, “Is it really a crime to feel angry?”
Even though most people try to repress or ignore their feelings of anger, it is a critical emotion that guards our internal boundaries. It informs others that you and your opinions matter; even if they are different from others. And if we suppress our feelings of anger, we also stifling our own voice and self-worth.
How then can we authentically experience true happiness when we are robbed of the right to express the vital and dignifying emotion known as anger?