Embracing Anger

Wisdom from a Buddhist monk and a seven-year-old

Yesterday I came across a quote from Thich Nhat Hanh, where he says that “Anger is like a howling baby, suffering and crying,” and that we need to embrace this crying baby.  My seven-year-old was by my side, and I asked her what she thought about that.

With the wisdom and clarity that children her age seem to conjure so effortlessly, she said, “We wouldn’t want to ignore our baby.”  We talked about how we could soothe our anger and take care of it, and her idea was to hug and rock her stuffed animals the next time she feels angry.

As adults, Thich Nhat Hanh advises us that we can use mindfulness to care for and transform our anger.  Acknowledging our feelings as valid, and then becoming aware of our body sensations and breath, can keep us from identifying with the emotions.  We can then recognize the choice we always have to find our way back to the peace that is our true nature.

kiss bw photo by danny fowler

Photo by Danny Fowler

“When we embrace our anger and take good care of our anger, we obtain relief.”
–Thich Nhat Hanh

3 thoughts on “Embracing Anger”

    1. That is so true and a great analogy! Something I heard recently, similar to what I wrote but a little different, was to relate to feelings we think of as negative as if they were an aspect of our self, and then think of that aspect of our self as a child. Then, with compassion, ask the child what it needs.
      Glad to be on this journey with mindful yogis like you!

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