It happened again yesterday….I was hit with a massive wave of anger over something I saw online and it really took me by surprise. I felt it all the way through my body and my mind grabbed a hold of the anger and went in to full judgement mode against the person that served as the trigger for my anger. However, instead of falling into a rage I practiced embracing anger and I was able to use this situation to better myself.
Notice that I didn’t say, “The person who made me angry.” This is due to the fact that, contrary to how it feels when we’re angry, no one can actually make us angry. They can’t make us feel anything. If you’re still believing that they can then you’re giving all your power away.
If we want to heal and become more balanced versions of our beautiful selves, we MUST start taking responsibility for our own emotions and stop handing the responsibility over to others. By embracing anger we can do that.
Especially toxic anger! (Anger, like all emotions, has its place, but toxic anger is damaging and detrimental to our health and well-being.)
Here are four questions & example answers we can practice asking ourselves to begin embracing anger:
Why am I angry?
Example: I’m angry because my friend Helga, who is so dear to my heart, says one thing to me but then she acts in a way that tells me opposite. She tells me how much I mean to her as a friend but then she consistently chooses money over our friendship. She’s being so shady too. She blows me off when I ask for her time and she accused me of something I would never do. Doesn’t she know me? If she did, she should know I would never do that. I’m angry because I’m offended at that last bit.
Be simple, direct, and honest with yourself. Name it. Write it down or say it out loud. This is the first step in embracing anger. When we keep emotions and thoughts bouncing around the mind, they hold power over us. They seem bigger than they are. Honestly naming it and speaking or writing it down diffuses some of that power. Even if the reason seems absurd, name it. Whatever the current event or person is that is triggering the anger is often going to be our first clue to the deeper issue at hand.
Why does this make me angry?
Example: This makes me angry because it feels fake and I don’t like when people are inauthentic. People shouldn’t be fake! I want to believe Helga means what she says but how can I believe her when her actions are telling me otherwise. It makes me feel angry because I thought Helga cared about me as a friend, but this isn’t how friends treat each other. She should know me better than that.
This is where we start to see what feelings or expectations are underlying our anger response. Anger is secondary so there is always something underneath it. If we want to be free and recover from toxic anger we MUST explore that area. If you are honest here you will see where your thinking is going. As soon as we see “should or shouldn’t” in the answer we know we are treading into expectation.
What do I FEEL underneath this anger?
Example: If anger is secondary, I am feeling something under it. What am I feeling? I’m feeling frustrated because I really want to believe the best in people but Helga is making that difficult for me. But why do I care if Helga is fake, what does that have to do with me? If I’m honest I see that internally I believe that if Helga is fake that means she doesn’t actually care about me as a friend like I do for her. It seems to me like she doesn’t care about anyone else but herself. And that hurts me because I opened myself up to her by caring and she can give a sh*t less.
And there it is! We get to the hurt which is fueling the anger in this situation. If it’s not hurt it’s often fear or feeling threatened. We have to dig here and look between the obvious lines that are playing in the mind because the mind tries to divert us from exploring these uncomfortable areas. The mine likes its anger pattern because it is known and comfortable. And it makes us feel powerful. I encourage you to dig here. Anything that comes back about the other person is a diversion. Follow the path until it comes back to how it affects you!
Why does this behavior hurt/threaten me?
Example: I’m hurt because I expect people to place the same value as I do upon our relationships. I would never tell someone to their face how much they mean to me and then treat them like they don’t matter or choose money over them. I would just not bother being friends.
We are always hurt because of our expectations that everyone should act as we do. Bottom line. We hold people to a higher standard of behavior than they are capable of displaying and then we get hurt by it. This is all ego. Expectations on others say that we know how everyone else should be living and acting, and that’s playing God. Granted it’s quite challenging when the expectation comes back to something that, as socialized humans, we just shouldn’t do, however, this is still an expectation. Being able to admit that is a real practice in humility. If it’s fear, we need to examine where that’s coming from because more often than not it’s irrational. Fear simply means that we don’t trust in the powers that be to take care of us as we are meant to be. Fear means we don’t trust the path, so again, it comes back to ego.
Remember, it is a practice to find freedom and healing from toxic anger. Go slowly and be gentle with yourself. By embracing your anger and looking beneath it, you will find the most fertile soil for personal growth.
If you’d like to talk further about anger issues, feel free to reach out to me via email at [email protected] as healing from toxic anger is one of my specialties!
Author Linds Carricarte-Jones