Some of us are raised having to justify our anger. We are raised to think that emotion of anger is “bad” and that we are bad people for experiencing that feeling.
Anger is not inherently a negative emotion. It is an emotion that calls for acknowledgement + action. Perhaps what you do with it could be categorised as a negative or positive action.
We need to raise our kids to understand that feeling angry is as natural as feeling happy and emphasize fully experiencing anger and then responding accordingly. Not reacting. Responding.
Really asking, “what is my anger telling me?” instead of distracting the moment you experience the very first sign of anger.
We need to teach our kids to find productive ways of processing anger without feeling afraid of it or feeling guilty for having that emotion.
We need to teach them to sit with it.
Write and share it in a safe space.
Maybe go for a run.
Channel it into a creative project.
Anger and passion are two sides of the same coin. Suppressing one means suppressing the other and consequences of both aren’t healthy.
Growing up in a dysfunctional family, I’ve seen both extremes. One side acted out, the other preferred to suppress and I’ve personally seen how damaging damaging both can be. One can damage your relationship with others, the other can easily damage your relationship with yourself, which then ultimately affects the first.
I’m not advocating reacting in a way that’s hurtful or acting out because that’s giving in to anger and nor am I suggesting holding on to it till it crushes your insides.
We don’t want either.
We want to try to tap into our wisdom and awareness, knowing when to take some time out to ourselves to feel the anger, where to speak about it and most importantly, what to do with it.
Last few years of spending a lot of time alone, I got a chance to work on and let go of the trauma and pain from my past which needed to be looked at. Thankfully, I’ve healed from most of it but I still remember how that emotion has always caused me more pain than it needed to.
I didn’t know what to do with that anger because of what I saw around me as a kid — how was I supposed to experience and overcome anger if I either wasn’t allowed to speak about it OR was surrounded by angry people, yelling and screaming at one another? How was I, as a child, supposed to gauge what is right and what isn’t? So I naturally grew up confused around that emotion — feeling like utter shit about myself for even having that feeling. I held on to it until one day I figured it was eating me up from inside. It took me a while to find productive ways of dealing with my anger and it started with naming it. Being okay with it. Letting myself have that emotion without generating more drama around it.
Sometimes anger just wants to be heard. And I wish someone told me that 20 years ago.
These days I write about it until I can’t write anymore. I cry it out. I call my close friends and request them to be my sounding board. I take a bath. I go for a walk alone. I even speak with my spiritual guidance teacher. If I feel like it, I draw out my feelings and then tear out those papers. Sometimes I keep them to look back. Then I meditate. Take deep breaths throughout the day and sleep over it too. I give myself all the time and space I need to fully experience that emotion before I decide how I want to respond to the situation or the person who triggered the anger in me. At times this looks like having a word with them and at times, it looks like never going back.
Next time you experience anger,give yourself the full permission to feel it without any form of guilt. Remember, it’s both natural and okay to experience “negative” emotions. You’re don’t have to beat yourself up for feeling them. Instead, lean in to those emotions. Listen in.
Be kind with yourself. Find your safe space where you can feel your feelings without being judged and remain there for as long as needed.