Ohhh, anger. Why oh why do we have such a complex relationship with anger?! Here’s the thing – when I think about anger, I immediately think of pain. Let me tell you why. I truly believe that most of our anger can be rooted back to hurt in one way or another, whether it’s crossed boundaries that built to resentment, feeling taken advantage of, repeated disappointment or betrayal. Whatever it may be, our anger is usually a good sign that we’ve been hurt.
Resentment comes when we try to push away how we really feel. Do that long enough, and you’ll begin to resent the people around you fast as lightning.
Anger can also manifest as a defense mechanism for some people when they’re feeling vulnerable, threatened or insecure in some way. Add in a lack of communication to the mix and we have ourselves a whole bunch of frustrated, angry and resentful people!
There are a BUNCH of reasons we humans experience anger. So why do we shy away from this emotion so much? We never want to feel anger, and like most emotions, the more we resist, the more it persists.
First things first, I want to say this, it’s OKAY to be angry. If you’ve been here for a while, you know that I’m a big believer in letting all of our emotions exist to help us learn about ourselves. Emotions are critical informants for us. In our society we’re often taught that anger is “bad.” It’s an emotion that people feel like they need to hide (especially for women).
A lot of women feel the need to keep our “nice girl” persona on at all times which often tends to get in our way because we have needs and emotions and boundaries. We CANNOT just give endlessly, or always put ourselves second (or last). This is the recipe for deep seeded anger and dirty resentment. Need to read that sentence again? GO FOR IT!
If ya catch my drift, step one for letting go or loosening our grip on anger and resentment, is really acknowledging that it’s here and allowing space for it!
Next, we want to be really intentional about what we do with our anger, and how we use it moving forward. A lot of us tend to go in one of two directions;
- We fly off the handle! We run with our anger without thought or pause, knocking down whatever’s in our way.
- We shame ourselves out of experiencing the emotion at all and we stuff it away somewhere.
Now let’s just pause for a moment here to acknowledge that clean, healthy anger is not the same thing as aggression, violence or vengeful behavior.
Anger, is often a secondary emotion. Something happens before we get to the anger. Part of the release, the letting go, is getting really curious about what happened. What did you feel BEFORE you felt the anger? Hurt, scared, abandoned, stressed, disappointed, betrayed, silenced, misunderstood, limited? If we can take a moment to think about the activating event, and the primary emotion, it may help us to better communicate and understand ourselves when we’re feeling angry, before just pointing fingers at everyone else.
Another way to release your grip on anger is to FEEL it. Like really feel it. You may find that you need to let your anger come through in a physical (but safe) way. This might look like going to a boxing class, punching your pillow, going for a run, screaming to the waves at the beach, swimming laps, blasting music and scream/sing aloud. It’s normal that you feel so much pent up energy in there when you’re fuming and angry and frustrated. After you take your pause to hear what’s going on, what would be a healthy way for you to experience and process through some of that anger? Cozy up with this side of you.
Having conflict is normal and a healthy part of life. Anger, like all emotions, is information for you to pay attention to and decipher so you can better live your life. It will tell you when a line has been crossed or something is off. Will you slow down enough to think about what’s happening here, and then DO something (in a healthy way) to acknowledge and address it? I sure hope so!
Let me know your thoughts on this topic! I’d love to hear more about your experiences with anger. If you find that your anger may be correlated to feeling stretched too thin, stressed and crazy busy, check out my online workbook loaded with tools and skills to help you manage it!