As women, we are socialised to believe that anger is a less than feminine emotion. Dismissing a woman as ‘angry’ is akin to dismissing her as ‘hysterical’. Angry women are ugly women. They are deeply unattractive on many levels – physically, spiritually and intellectually.
Believe me, I have had occasion to spit fire more than once in my life and while anger is often justified, it is seldom ‘pure’: Anger is generally where we end up, emotionally, when things don’t turn out the way we want or expect them to. Anger is tinged with fear, frustration, betrayal, and any number of other emotions.
Outrage, on the other hand, is magnificent.
Whenever I am outraged, I feel called to action. Outraged people are, I feel, the only people who actually change anything. Outrage is what propels us to call out bad behaviour – whether that’s on the part of an individual, a society, a corporation or a government.
When I am outraged, I do not experience the paralysis of anger. My anger is turned inward, but my outrage is turned outward and it causes me to fight for change; whether that change is agitating to have a child-trafficking organisation closed down (which I did in 2008), removing my children from school (which I did three years ago), or even just changing my own last name (which I did, legally, when I was 16).
When I am outraged, I confront injustice and call it by its name. When I am outraged, I can bide my time and work to achieve the best outcome for all involved. When I’m angry, on the other hand, I find that I act impetuously. When I act from a place of anger, I don’t usually cover myself in glory. Outrage, on the other hand, sees me at my empowered best. I feel bigger – like I am inhabiting more space – when I am acting from a place of outrage. I feel my voice is louder and my words are truer.
Anger feels red-hot.
Outrage feels white-hot.
Anger feels impotent.
Outrage feels potent.
I’ve had a few thoughts on forgiveness lately, too – but that’s a whole other blog post.