Anger's Gift: The Fierce Dance of Love

Anger's Gift: The Fierce Dance of Love

Sometimes what looks like a fight is only the fierceness of love. At the moment, the honest struggle going on between men and women is less comfortable but more loving than the old false peace. We have moved from a condition of silent hostility, buried resentment, and covert low-intensity warfare to open conflict. So, the first thing we need to do is acknowledge the strong, strange interchange that is taking place between us. We are wrestling together, changing roles in the hay, engaging in honest intercourse, yessing and k(no)wing each other. And contact is the first condition of love.

Don't mess with us if you are looking for somebody
who will always be "nice" to you.
("Nice" gets you a C+ in life.)

Perhaps there is nothing more important for men to learn in their relationships with women than the difference between fierceness and violence. Fierceness is an expression of inner strength; violence is an expression of frustrated, unconscious impotence.

Equality Between Men and Women

Equality between men and women means that what is true for the goose is true for the gander. In liberating themselves, women undammed ancient rivers of anger and pain that swept away much that lay in the path of the flood the unjust and the just.

As men liberate themselves, they must also expect the swamp of hostility to erupt into a deluge of uncomfortable emotion that will certainly include torrents of rage and sorrow.

Respecting Each Other's Anger

Anger's Gift & The Dance of LoveFor men and women to love each other, we must learn to respect each other's anger. Presently, like porcupines trying to make love, we circle and try to avoid the barbs. We are so terrified of the residue of accumulated anger that has been generated by the battle between the sexes that we settle for superficial contact rather than risk expressing our deepest "negative" feelings and start a new round of warfare.

When we do not express our anger, we simmer in silent hostility and make ineffective love and war at the same time. We hone our defenses against each other at the same time we talk about peace. Not a very wholehearted or hopeful way to live!

Men (and women) should be forewarned that, in the process of sorting out our experience, we will provoke anger -- both righteous and unrighteous. There is no reason to assume that as we begin to speak our bitterness it will be automatically wise, or that our anger will be appropriately directed. Some of the discoveries men make as they explore their intimate experience of manhood will be pleasing to women, others will not. As a rule, women cheer us when we become more sensitive to the nuances of feeling, when we surrender our compulsion to control.

Anger is Part of the Dance of Love

As we move tentatively toward reconciliation, it is helpful to remember that anger is a necessary part of the dance of love. Think of clean anger as the voice of the wise serpent on the early American flag who says, "Don't tread on me." Without anger we have no fire, no thunder and lightning to defend the sanctuary of the self. No anger = no boundaries = no passion. 

Good men and good women have fire in the belly. We are fierce. Don't mess with us if you are looking for somebody who will always be "nice" to you. ("Nice" gets you a C+ in life.) We don't always smile, talk in a soft voice, or engage in indiscriminate hugs. In the loving struggle between the sexes we thrust and parry.

Honoring Your Righteous Anger

Honor your anger. But before you express it, sort out the righteous from the unrighteous. Immediately after a storm, the water is muddy; rage is indiscriminate. It takes time to discriminate, for the mud to settle. But once the stream runs clear, express your outrage against any who have violated your being. Give the person you intend to love the gift of discriminating anger.

The above was excerpted with permission
from Fire in the Belly by Sam Keen. Published by
Bantam Books, 666 Fifth Avenue, New York, 10103.
(article published in the print edition of InnerSelf Magazine, June 1992)

Article Source

Fire in the Belly: On Being A Man
by Sam Keen.

Fire in the Belly: On Being A Man by Sam Keen.With traditional notions of manhood under attack, today's men (and women) are looking for a new vision of masculinity. In this groundbreaking book, Sam Keen offers an inspiring guide for men seeking new personal ideals of strength, potency, and warrior-ship in their lives.

Info/Order this book. Also available as a Kindle edition.

About The Author

Sam Keen

Sam Keen is a noted author and lecturer who has written thirteen books on philosophy and religion. He earned graduate degrees from the Harvard Divinity School and Princeton University, and spent twenty years working as an editor of Psychology Today. Keen coproduced the Emmy-nominated PBS documentary Faces of the Enemy, and was the subject of a PBS special with Bill Moyers entitled Your Mythic Journey with Sam Keen. When not writing or traveling around the world lecturing and giving seminars on a wide range of topics, Keen cuts wood, tends to his farm in the hills above Sonoma, takes long hikes, and practices the flying trapeze. He is also the author of: Learning to Fly: Trapeze--Reflections on Fear, Trust, and the Joy of Letting Go. Visit his website at

Related Books

{amazonWS:searchindex=Books;keywords=Sam Keen;maxresults=3}

 Get The Latest By Email

Weekly Magazine Daily Inspiration

You May Also Like


group of people riding the rapids in a raft
The Power of Powerlessness: Riding the Rapids of Life
by Barry Vissell
What really works is for me to accept my powerlessness, my helplessness, that I really have very…
Observations From Nova Scotia To Florida And Back
Observations from Nova Scotia to Florida and Back
by Robert Jennings,
Nova Scotia is a Canadian province of around 1,000,000 people and our home county in Florida has…
How To Ensure That "Luck" Is On Your Side
How To Ensure That "Luck" Is On Your Side
by Marie T. Russell
"He's so lucky! She always wins! I'm just not lucky!" Do these statements sound familiar? Have they…
face of woman floating in water
How To Develop Courage and Move Out of Your Comfort Zone
by Peter Ruppert
Courage is not about being fearless in the face of a scary situation. It is the willingness to move…
chamomile plants in bloom
Horoscope Current Week: July 26 - August 1, 2021
by Pam Younghans
This weekly astrological journal is based on planetary influences, and offers perspectives and…
Having The Courage To Live Life and Ask For What You Need Or Want.
Having The Courage To Live Life and Ask For What You Need Or Want
by Amy Fish
You need to have the courage to live life. This includes learn­ing to ask for what you need or…
man passed out on a table with an empty bottle of alcohol with child looking on
Can LSD Cure the 'Spiritual Disease' of Alcoholism?
by Thomas Hatsis
Beginning in the late 1950s, five hospitals (in the province of Saskatchewan in Canada) offered a…
pregnant woman sitting with her hands on her belly
Essential Tips for the Journey: Release Fear and Take Care of Yourself
by Bailey Gaddis
Suppressing fear-induced emotions infuses life into them, often causing a manifestation of…

Marie T. Russell's Daily Inspiration


hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil image of children
Death Denial: Is No News Good News?
by Margaret Coberly, Ph.D., R.N.
Most people are so strongly habituated to death denial that when death appears they are caught…
Having The Courage To Live Life and Ask For What You Need Or Want.
Having The Courage To Live Life and Ask For What You Need Or Want
by Amy Fish
You need to have the courage to live life. This includes learn­ing to ask for what you need or…
Writing letters by hand is the best way to learn to read
Writing letters by hand is the best way to learn to read
by Jill Rosen, Johns Hopkins University
Handwriting helps people learn reading skills surprisingly faster and significantly better than…
How Living On The Coast Is Linked To Poor Health
How Living On The Coast Is Linked To Poor Health
by Jackie Cassell, Professor of Primary Care Epidemiology, Honorary Consultant in Public Health, Brighton and Sussex Medical School
The precarious economies of many traditional seaside towns have declined still further since the…
image of the planet Jupiter on the skyline of a rocky ocean shore
Is Jupiter a Planet of Hope or a Planet of Discontent?
by Steven Forrest and Jeffrey Wolf Green
In the American dream as it's currently dished up, we try to do two things: make money and lose…
spraying for mosquito 07 20
This new pesticide-free clothing prevents 100% of mosquito bites
by Laura Oleniacz, NC State
New insecticide-free, mosquito-resistant clothing is made from materials researchers have confirmed…
test your creativity
Here's how to test your creativity potential
by Frederique Mazerolle, McGill University
A simple exercise of naming unrelated words and then measuring the semantic distance between them…
two children reading a book with their father
Empathy Starts Early: 5 Australian Picture Books That Celebrate Diversity
by Ping Tian, University of Sydney and Helen Caple, UNSW
Early exposure to diverse story characters, including in ethnicity, gender and ability, helps young…

follow InnerSelf on

facebook icontwitter iconyoutube iconinstagram iconpintrest iconrss icon

 Get The Latest By Email

Weekly Magazine Daily Inspiration



New Attitudes - New Possibilities | | | InnerSelf Market
Copyright ©1985 - 2021 InnerSelf Publications. All Rights Reserved.