Rage tells you what your boundaries are. It shows you what you’re no longer willing to abide by.
It also serves as an invitation to speak up. To start talking about issues. Perhaps controversial. Perhaps on topics you haven’t spoken up about in the past.
When you view rage from this perspective, you then have a choice. Either:
1. You choose to speak up.
From a visibility perspective, this is a powerful thing. It differentiates you from other people in your industry and helps cut through the white noise that’s keeping you from reaching the people you’re trying to reach.
It stops you from becoming a little bit vanilla in your communications; nice, inoffensive, forgettable.
But of course, in order to take this path, you have to overcome the fear of people disagreeing with you or verbally attacking you. In other words, you have to overcome your visibility blocks and fears. (That’s the work we do with our Women Speaking Up students. Find out more about studying with us here.)
2. You choose to stay silent.
What happens when you take this path is you become complicit in the injustice that provoked the rage in the first place. You become complicit, not because you agree with the injustice, but because visibility blocks are keeping you quieter than you ought to be.
If that’s been your experience, then it’s imperative that you spend some time clearing your visibility blocks.
In recent weeks one of the ways white people have been tripping up in response to Black Lives Matter, has been through their silence. They’ve been afraid of saying the wrong thing.
Being afraid of saying the wrong thing is a visibility block.
And the tragedy of the situation is that saying nothing in such situations causes more harm than saying something awkwardly.
Black women and men were waiting to see, ‘Are you going to stand with me or not?’ and certain white people were hiding out, waiting in the wings, uncertain of ‘the right response’.
As a person building a community, it’s imperative to keep this in mind; your community is waiting to know if you stand with them. Not just with regard to the topic you’ve all connected around eg; health, yoga, meditation, pilates, but also with regard to their lived experience.
They’re asking in ways explicit and implicit; Do you see me in this space?
People want to know that you understand and value and celebrate the differences between us. They’re expecting you to create a democratic, open platform. One that raises up their voices.
And on that platform, they want to feel safe and they want to feel seen.
The visibility journey is not a journey of safety. It’s a journey of courage.
The more you clear your own wounds, the greater your capacity to stand in witness to other people’s experiences and genuinely hold space for that.
This is so important to consider as you reflect on today’s invitation; what does my rage tell me about what I’m being called to speak up about?
Interested in books about rage? We’ve a few favourites we recommend right here.
Want to access the rest of our series on Women and Rage? You’ll find that right here.
Need to unpack the patriarchal conditioning that’s keeping your emotions suppressed and unexpressed? Take our short course here.