These five little words uttered to generation after generation of women by their parents, partners, other women, and society, have repressed women the world over, causing women to lose their natural and essential gift of assertiveness.
For me, anger itself is not a negative but very natural emotion which occurs when an individual’s boundaries are overstepped.
In essence, our personal boundaries are what keep us safe. Imagine yourself as a house with a garden at the front, your house will have “boundaries”. These boundaries could be a wall, fence, or the front/back doors and windows. In an ideal world, we would all live in harmony. We would respect each other’s boundaries without the need for garden walls or fences.
Alas, the reality of the world we live in today is far removed from this. Healthy personal boundaries are important for our physical, mental, and spiritual health.
So when your personal boundaries are overstepped, you would naturally feel angry. Just as you would feel angry if someone broke into your home and stole your possessions. You would feel fearful, threatened, scared, and well…angry!
Women are expected to conform and deny their natural right to be angry when their personal boundaries are overstepped. Whether through physical, mental, or emotional abuse, women are forced to “swallow their anger” or “bite their tongue” which means the damage inflicted upon them dwells deep inside.
Some women hold onto this anger as they try to conform to what society dictates. For most, this anger can only be internalised for so long. Eventually, this anger will spew out like a volcano, normally aimed at someone who doesn’t deserve it at that point in time. Once calm again, the person feels guilt and shame, making promises to themselves, “I won’t get angry again.”
Either way, by swallowing their anger or having it explode uncontrollably, all self-power is lost. The cycle begins and is repeated again and again. Anger turns into a negative emotion when it should be a natural survival instinct. By becoming a negative emotion, anger prevents us from treating others with respect.
I explain rather than express anger by asserting my right to hold my boundaries. I think of this as the lioness within the jungle. Fierce, proud, and resilient — yet a gentle and nurturing mother — she is one of the most assertive creatures in the animal kingdom. She has strong boundaries and uses her roar to keep others away when they are threatening her and her pride’s boundaries. Her roar is her assertiveness yet she remains calm, in control, and only uses her roar when necessary.
In the animal kingdom, if she didn’t use this natural gift, she would be under constant threat. She would face death from not showing her anger or have to continually fight and risk her life.
Either way, she would not be in her power. By using her roar, she keeps others away from her personal boundaries. She remains in her power and only uses aggression, by attack, when necessary.
While we don’t live by the rules of the jungle where weakness is likely to lead to death, this is a fantastic example of feminine assertiveness.
So, it’s time for all of us to use our natural gift of assertiveness and speak our own truth.
If there is a person or situation that oversteps your boundaries — be it a friendship, relationship, job, something that happens in the community, or the world at large — my advice to you is to step into your power and gain the respect that you deserve.
Stand your ground and develop your own roar. Use your roar only when needed, with respect, when your boundaries are truly threatened and show that you are a female force to be reckoned with.
Once you have found your roar and see the positive change in your life, take time to imagine what would happen if every woman spoke her truth and roared as one for the good of the pride that is humankind. It would truly be a spectacular sight to behold and could bring much-needed change to the world!
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(c) Samantha Wilson 2019. All Rights Reserved,