Each week, spiritual teacher Deepak Chopra responds to Oprah.com users' questions with enlightening advice to help them live their best lives.
Q: I am trying the Shadow Effect's six-week breakthrough plan, and while I am having a lot of small breakthroughs, on page 40 of the book, it reads, "...feeling angry is useful, while aiming anger in the form of blame isn't." How can one use anger to benefit oneself? How is anger useful? Because when I feel angry, something is wrong and it needs to be fixed, and someone has to be blamed, me or the other. I don't know how to feel anger without blame, I guess.
— Mariam G., Los Angeles, California
Thanks for your honest and clear question. Anger has two faces. One face is our immediate reaction when something goes wrong. Something feels unjust or unfair. The brain goes into a fight-or-flight response, and as the adrenaline courses through the body, we have little choice but to go along. This face of anger has no hidden motives. Once the outburst is over, you feel drained but better. Often you are in a position to apologize to the person you felt angry toward, but that's not necessary. If you were in the right, someone else may have to take his lumps (not too often, I hope).
But the other side of anger is destructive. It hurts you as much as it hurts anyone else. It's a form of naked aggression. You may feel a moral reason for destructive anger—I detect that when you say somebody has to be wrong—but morality can be destructive too. So how can you tell the difference between useful, healthy anger and destructive anger? Destructive anger follows any of these familiar patterns:
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Deepak Chopra is the author of more than 50 books on health, success, relationships and spirituality, including his current best-seller, Reinventing the Body, Resurrecting the Soul, and The Ultimate Happiness Prescription, which are available now. You can listen to his show on Saturdays every week on SiriusXM Channels 102 and 155.
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Published on May 19, 2010