Do you often feel angry or are you unable to access your anger? Do you need to get angry to be able to motivate yourself to do something?
Anger expressed appropriately, helps us set boundaries and defend ourselves in situations that are incongruent with our values. Anger helps us survive in the face of danger.
However, anger can linger as a negative emotion when we feel powerless; if we are unable to create our own boundaries or someone has not treated us according to our expectations. Anger can then become fuel for unconstructive actions or be expressed too easily or inappropriately. It can also be turned into self-resentment, which can lead us to constantly put ourselves down. Left too long it therein turns into depression.
One of my favourite sayings is:
“Holding on to anger is like swallowing poison and waiting for the other person to die”
In my life, I have been SO angry. So angry at someone who hurt me many years ago and the lifelong repercussions that ensued. Despite all that I know about the unconscious mind and how many tools I have as a Life Coach, I am still occasionally faced with this feeling of hatred and hurt.
I remember sitting across the table from my father in a dark restaurant over a Bacardi and coke, his favourite drink. I wanted so much to be that little girl who could climb up onto his lap and get enveloped into his huge frame, smelling of car oil and grease and everything that was my ideal of The Father. Those years were somehow forgotten. I hate Bacardi. I hate coke even more. It was a small consolation for the place that I would never occupy again; his lap or for that matter, his heart.
His eyes had changed over the years, somehow, black and cloudy and indifferent to me. They were filled with my mother and his need to hurt her. I begged him to stop with his revenge but there was no going back. He was too far gone. The poison was flowing through his veins and the fact that I was part of what was once in them, his princess, was completely gone from him. He did hurt her. He took everything. Now after 15 – 20 years of feuding, he sits alone clouded in unhappiness and is unable to ever spend his birthday or a holiday with his estranged children. The poison will run through his veins until the blood runs no more.
This is anger in its extreme, but I am still seeing anger overplayed in my friends lives as they feud with someone close to them, til the end, no matter what the consequences.
Unfortunately most of us were not taught in childhood to get in touch with our anger or to set up boundaries for ourselves, and this plays out in our adult lives. For most it is not always played out in this extreme, but rather the continuous snapping at people or situations for little or no reason, reoccurring frustrations that appear from nowhere, berating self talk, fear of confrontation or perhaps, the need to constantly cause confrontation and not to mention that “people constantly shit me” belief.
So ask yourself: Is anger something that rules my way of thinking?
Holding onto anger and constantly feeding yourself poison gets in the way of you achieving your goals. You will never achieve your fitness goals if you are so angry at yourself that you workout until you vomit or get injured. You will never feed yourself well if you are angry at yourself for being fat, useless, whatever……. Shows like the BIGGEST LOSER just reiterate into our culture that we should come from this place of anger and punish ourselves to get what we want. But this is relentless and exhausting.
So what do we do with our anger? For me, the only thing I could do was to sit back and ask, “How can I regain my power?” And no, power does not lie in revenge. Revenge is just another way of me swallowing the poison.
Ultimately, I create my own destiny and that is where the power lies. Money can be made again. Love is infinite and can always be created. So what can I do now for me that allows me to create this space for myself, irrespective of what it seems that person has done to me? And what can I do in the situation that inspires others involved to reclaim their own power? And yes, the repercussions from this past event keeps bringing up my anger in various stages in my life, but I flip the coin over and on the other side are all the resources I need to learn to really value myself enough to create my own empowered space, especially in the way I choose to love and connect with my mother and brother.
So where in your life do you feel anger and what is the lesson you need to learn about empowering yourself? If you are not quite resourceful enough to empower yourself at this point, ask, “What is it costing me to feel this anger and how much do I want that to be different?” and I can help you get to the next stage.