Why men need an aggressive outlet

Men have a biological urge for aggression and competition. The animal kingdom reflects this also – males fighting for control of territory, resources and mates. That's not to say that women don’t have these instincts also, but men generally have much higher levels of testosterone and genetic programming that drives us.

There has always been an outlet for these urges throughout history – both constructive and destructive. In the modern day, the most popular are sports and martial arts. These are healthy, conscious ways to express and understand our aggressive nature and to cooperatively compete against each. They teach us self-awareness, showing us our drives, our fears and our fighting spirit. They are humbling, showing us there is always someone better - stronger, faster or more skilled. They teach us that there is no end goal but to put in the effort and continually improve oneself – for the self is the ultimate opponent.

Connor McGregor throws a punch

If not expressed constructively or brought into conscious awareness, these urges manifest unconsciously and destructively – either inwardly as self destructive behaviours or outwardly as bullying, mob mentality, domestic violence, war, murder, rape and torture.

Growing up, I suppressed my aggressive nature as a reaction to the unconscious expressions I saw around me. In doing so, I gave away my power, developeding weak personal boundaries - letting others take advantage of me because I didn’t stand up for myself. Instead that anger and aggression was directed inwards, turning into self loathing. I was scared of my own rage and capacity for violence, and it was a long process to come to terms with my own nature using the same techniques I use today.

Most people know me as a happy guy, yet that anger and aggression is still a deep part of me. Now however, I spend time channelling it constructively. I do martial arts. I lift weights (and yes, I get fired up and grunt sometimes). I listen to aggressive music. I write. Sometimes I just needed to run. Meditation is also key as it gives me the space to recognise my emotions and be informed by them, rather than controlled by them.

As our reaction to the horrible violence around us grows, be careful not to pretend you don't still have those same urges. While we are divine beings, we're still driven by our animalistic nature. Remember that that anger and aggression can be channelled constructively, or destructively.

How do you deal with your anger?

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