In this video, recorded approximately a week after the murder of George Floyd, I speak about three things we can do to meet rage and use it to create constructive transformational change. The three things are these:
1. When we meet it, we inquire about the messages it brings
Rage tells us where our boundaries are. What you want or must say no to. What you will not abide. It tells us the kind of world we want to live in or don’t want to live in.
So the question to ask yourself as rage or anger arises is this; what do I refuse to be complicit in, abide by, allow to happen anymore?
2. Understand your own power to create change in the world
Taking this action involves taking your focus away from others and focusing on yourself and the power you can exert in the world. In a world which teaches you that you are not powerful and that you are not even the centre of your own universe, this can be challenging.
But not impossible.
And when it happens, you start to focus on different things, you’ll centre different voices (your voice, voices like yours, and hopefully other marginalised voices).
You start to behave as a powerful agent in the world.
The question to ask yourself in this regard is; if I could turn my attention to myself for a moment and consider what I can do (rather than feeling too overwhelming and too big), what would I do right now?
You never have to show up and do all the things. You just need to show up and do your thing. Remember that and you’ll how you stop yourself from falling into paralysis when it comes to taking action.
3. Rage and anger protects pain
If you hold space for a community, and especially if you work in the coaching or therapeutic space and you want to support people in really facing and overcoming their deepest wounds, you have to understand the significance of rage in that process.
You have to be able to hold space for their rage. That means you have to be able to hold space for you own. So it’s imperative that you break down the good girl conditioning. Otherwise the patriarchal conditioning that’s keeping you silent, also makes you complicit in the perpetuation of white supremacy.
There’s a circular path between rage and healing wounds and creating space for transformation – personal and political. If you’re in the healing professions, it’s enormously important for you to make the connection between the transformation that’s possible at the individual level and the transformation that’s possible at the societal level. When we can all connect to that, we can rapidly speed up the rate of change in the world.
And finally in the video I spoke about what you can do right now – at this time when another black man has been killed in the US at the hands of a police officer – if you feel compelled to take action. Here are some options to consider:
- Raise the voices of those affected by systems of oppression (share their stories, amplify their wisdom).
- Learn to listen.
- Donate money.
- Vote wisely.
- Volunteer your time.
- Educate yourself.
- Read, listen to podcasts, watch movies that are written and produced by, and which centre Black, Indigenous, and People of Colour (BIPOC).
- Unpack the mindset associated with systemic oppression from the inside, out.
- Speak up against racism in your family and amongst your friends and colleagues.
- Hire a diversity and inclusivity specialist.
- Take an anti-racism class.
- Pay reparations in some form – to BIPOC organisations and/or activists.
- Disrupt the racism that you see in your local community.
- Get uncomfortable. Put yourself in situations with people who are not afraid to speak their truth to you.
In business you might consider:
- the diversity of the images and language you use,
- the people you choose to elevate on your platform,
- the racial and ethnic diversity on your team,
- how inclusive your organisation is (not just diverse but inclusive),
- weaving social justice considerations into the products you promote (taking the time to consider the owners of those products and whether you’re unconsciously perpetuating a racist financial system where money keeps funnelling from white person to white person),
- the scholarships you offer, and/or
- the articles and videos you choose to share on your social media platforms (again, exploring the possibility that you might be unconsciously silencing some voices and elevating others).
Rage only lasts as long as you feel stifled, suffocated, unable to take action. I promise you if you listen to what rage is telling you, it will guide you to action. Take it.
Need to unpack the patriarchal conditioning that’s keeping your emotions suppressed and unexpressed? Take our short course here.
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.