Let’s think about anger. I believe that anger finds its root in feelings of helplessness or powerlessness. In our grief over a significant loss, we often question “why”. “Why did my loved one have to die?  Why does my life have to be one of suffering and sorrow? Why is this happening to ME?”

We feel anger because there are often no obvious answers to such questions, although many people try to suggest some with their clichés.  But what has happened does not seem fair.

Life is not always fair. Harold Kushner stated “why is not so much a question as a cry of pain.” When we are powerless to do anything to change the finality what has happened, finding more questions than answers, our response may be one of anger. Anger is most often a protest against any loss. The rage and resentment we feel is because we can do nothing to control or change the situation. This explains why we become irritable with friends and family:  they cannot give us what we want most, the return of what or who we have lost.

The greatest problem with anger is that it tends to be transferred to the wrong people. Be careful. Recognize the real source of your anger. You are angry because you have been left. You have every right to feel angry, but make sure you focus the anger in the right direction in order not to hurt yourself or others.

Anger is normal and does needs to be expressed. But here a word a caution is in order: healthy anger involves more than merely “letting it out”. Simply venting our anger and letting off steam can actually lead to a more deeply entrenched anger. Anger needs to be focused on helping us gain a sense of personal control over the situation. Thus, anger channeled into determination has the constructive purpose of helping us choose what we will do in the situation.

If you can choose love instead of anger, why not? One good reason is because it takes more energy to be angry than it does to love.

As Jimi Hendrix once wrote, “When the power of love overcomes the love of power the world will know peace.”