The Positivity of Being Angry, Tired, & Fed Up: A Life Lesson From Rosa Parks
“I had no idea history was being made. I was just tired of giving up.” -Rosa Parks
Rosa Parks didn’t refuse to give up her bus seat because she was in a spectacular mood, or because she had an exceptionally rare gift for standing up to people, or because she possessed a superhuman level of fearlessness, or because she felt called by God to pick one particular seat, or because she magically knew everything would turn out okay, or because it was a good time to rebel.
She refused to give up her bus seat because she was tired.
An entire nation was transformed because a woman got tired.
In your quest for inspiration, never underestimate the power of your frustration. Instead of forcing yourself to feel inspired, maybe it’s simply time for you to get tired.
This world could use a few more people who have the audacity to get fired up. Being a positive force for change has nothing to do with smiling naively at everything that happens as if the goal is to win points for how cheerful we look. To hell with guru-speak about how unenlightened it is to feel mad. Anger is as valuable as happiness in the hands of a creative person.
Clarifying misconceptions regarding her true motivation, Mrs. Parks made the following remark:
“People say I didn’t give up my seat cause I was tired…No, the only tired I was, was tired of giving in.”
The problem with our world isn’t that people are too angry, or too tired, or too fed up. The problem with our world is that we aren’t angry, tired, and frustrated enough to stop settling for less than what we truly love, what we truly deserve, and what we truly have the right and responsibility to pursue. We get angry enough to criticize, but not angry enough to create. We get tired enough to give in, but not tired enough to give a good fight. We get fed up enough to bemoan our limitations, but not fed up enough to battle for our possibilities. We’re angry, tired, and fed up enough to pout, but not angry, tired, and fed up enough to push back.
Our feelings of dissatisfaction and frustration aren’t the problem.
All emotions are capable of being assimilated into the creative process. Instead of trying to “purify yourself” of anger, explore the possibility of channeling your feelings along productive lines.
Frustration, when bottled up and suppressed, corrupts the soul. But when it’s redirected away from what is unwanted towards what is wanted, it becomes a powerful constructive force.
The same fire that can burn a house can also be harnessed to cook a meal. Like the forces of nature, our emotional energy can flow in more than one direction and serve many ends. The next time your emotional fires are stoked, look at it as an opportunity to harness creative energy.
In the same way you might use a burning candle to light a dead one, actively seek out ways to transfer the spark of those emotions towards areas in your life that need to be ignited.
We are not left to choose between resenting our moods or being stuck with them. What we call negative feelings can function as our greatest allies in manifesting the life we desire when we learn to work with them and not against them.
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T.K. Coleman is the co-founder and education director for Praxis, a 12-month apprenticeship program that combines a traditional liberal arts education with practical skills training, one-on-one coaching, academic mentoring, group discussions, professional development workshops, and real-world business experience. T.K. is an avid lover of ideas and blogs regularly on personal development, education, and philosophy.