According to an article published by Greater Good at the University of California Berkeley, those with the best physical and emotional health are those who have “emodiversity”, people who experience the full range of emotions. Though I do tend to be a very positive person, I decided to try to become aware of my own anger.
I recently watching the film “Shake Hands with the Devil”, the story of the Rwandan Genocide. I found myself getting very angry. Having lived through this period in history, it brought up many memories.
First of all, in the early 90’s, I was working at a home for street children in the Congo. I had regular dealings and even accepted generous donations from the French embassy, the same diplomats who, at the very least, knew about the genocide brewing in neighbouring Rwanda, and chose to let it happen.
Rwanda erupted after I had returned to Canada. To this day I am embarrassed to admit to my students that I knew it was happening and I was not able to do anything significant to stop it.
Holding on to negative emotions can lead to serious health issues. How does one then deal with them in an effective manner?
Righteous anger comes because we see things that we know are wrong. It is a voice inside of us that tells us to be an agent of change.
This is the source of the passion that moves me to teach about genocide. In doing so I know that I am a part of something much larger than myself.
Yes, I am angry, but that anger moves me to purpose, and in that purpose, I find joy.