Anger Without Hostility – How to Fight Fair

I promised I’d get back to you about fair fighting if there was enough interest and there was … so let’s begin with an oft-quoted line from A Course in Miracles:

Anger is never justified.

It is an unequivocal statement which seems to leave us in a quandary. If we accept that anger is never justified, how can we possibly live up to this? Surely Jesus wouldn’t set us up for failure …

Thankfully, earlier in the Course, Jesus explains, “…it is almost impossible to deny [the body’s] existence in this world. Those who do so are engaging in a particularly unworthy form of denial.” He then recommends, when necessary, a “compromise approach.”

Let’s be clear: this compromise is necessary for most of us, most of the time. The criteria for “when necessary” is when we feel too afraid to have full faith in the Holy Spirit’s guidance. Fear is what motivates anger. We don’t have to fight fear; we just need to acknowledge fear and ask for help.

The form of the compromise will vary, depending on the situation, but the essence of the compromise will always use an aspect of the physical world for a loving purpose. A loving purpose guided by Spirit and expressed as a miracle between humans.

In the case of anger, Guidance gave me a compromise called fair fighting. I was astonished to find that it is possible to feel angry without hostility. Anger doesn’t have to attack — anger can be a useful tool for questioning, exploring, investigating, healthy venting, boundary-setting, centering, and more.

Fair fighting fosters intimacy and freedom. When it is safe to express yourself honestly and with vulnerability, tremendous healing occurs.

Do you think you have what it takes to fight fair? You need:

  • a spirit of cooperation
  • willingness to see the other person’s side
  • willingness to feel your feelings
  • willingness to expose what feels shameful, weak, painful
  • willingness to express love, tenderness, appreciation
  • the courage to stand up for yourself and set boundaries
  • the daring to look at yourself honestly (for better and worse)
  • the ability to understand even if you do not agree
  • skills such as active listening and mirroring
  • self-awareness of your impact vs your intention
  • responsivity vs reactivity
  • learning to take nothing personally
  • the empowerment of accountability
  • tolerance of paradox and its hidden miracles

The guiding principles of fair fighting will improve all your relationships. You can even fight fairly with yourself. If you find yourself self-blaming and beating yourself up, you can apply these tools to heal your relationship with yourself.

If you practice, you will become self-loyal and empathic, able to unconditionally give and receive. Stick with it, and you will find yourself thinning away like the heel of a threadbare sock … and discovering the Tender Loving Sparklingly Powerful Impersonal Self you truly are.

Do you have any of the qualities or skills on the bullet list? Have you put them to good use? I would love to hear your experiences, address your questions and share your miracles. Email [email protected]