To Tame or Not To Tame Our Anger?

heather o'neill coaching

Anger is an interesting emotion. Sometimes it feels awful, and then sometimes we feel like it can help us.

Anger can feel empowering, seeming to serve us in a protective sense, operating as a nice little layer over the hurt so that we don’t feel so raw and vulnerable.

Or anger can show up in the form of frustration or annoyance, such as in our response to people’s behavior that we deem, in our very humble opinion, less than.

We can get angry about the choices people make, the responses they give, the way they spend their time and the things that they say. And this is the anger that I want to focus on.

Because it has come to be a part of my own belief system that everything that I get angry with in regards to another person’s behavior, is something that I too have done at some point.

Take the example of road rage. Oh my, did I used to have some terrible road rage. Potty mouth in full force and absolutely zero tolerance for just about anyone else on the road. I cannot imagine that riding in the car with me was any kind of positive experience.

But as I have moved along on this pathway of personal growth, knowing the importance of living easier through practicing tolerance, and working hard to step away from angry reactions, I am proud and happy to say I no longer behave like a crazed driver who thinks my driving skills are superior to everyone else’s.

Now, being that I am not perfect, I must admit to still getting annoyed at other people’s driving. And the kind and all knowing universe does me a favor often by putting that little glimmer of awareness within me whenever I make a bad choice on the road, that I too do the things that I have gotten so very angry at.

This theory holds up in other areas as well. Take a few moments for yourself to think about something you may have recently gotten angry about. And then go a little bit deeper by asking yourself if you have ever done what you are angry about. Not necessarily with that particular person, but anyone at anytime.

And if you have, notice how that makes you feel and how that could change what you are presently angry about.

Another part of my life’s mission is to practice non judgment. No easy feat I can assure you. But one I intend to carry on throughout my days here. And when we practice non judgment, we can see things more clearly because we are working to remove the cloud of anger and defensiveness.

Anger stands as a shroud so often. It falls heavily over us when our friends don’t invite us to something, or our lover doesn’t make us feel the way we desire them to, or our children don’t behave the way we want them to. We can get ourselves so lathered up in frustration and annoyance that we don’t see these perpetrators as being the people we love. And that most likely (if not most definitely) we have behaved exactly like them at one time or another.

So if we can hold that reminder within following an angry reaction, we can take pause and ask ourselves if we have possibly ever done what we are getting mad at, and then perhaps respond in a more loving way. And then we have reduced the amount of angry energy floating around.  Which benefits us all.

Another question to ask ourselves if we are looking to reduce angry feelings and energetic friction is “are we truly angry at the action or are we angry at the principle of the matter?”

For example if a friend of mine had a get together and didn’t invite me, I might get my feelings hurt and then respond with that protective layer of anger. But if I took a step back for a minute and asked myself some questions, like “did I really even want to go in the first place?” and “isn’t my friend the one who is in charge of how she spends her time?” I might be able to soothe myself and let go of negative feelings. Because if it was just the principle of the matter – that I was not invited –  and I really didn’t want to go anyway, then I could chalk that up to things playing out exactly the way they are supposed to.

We have so much trouble just allowing others to be who they are, to spend time the way they choose, and conversely we can also be on the receiving end of that, feeling smothered and a loss of freedom. None of those things make for high energetic vibration,  aka happiness.

Please note that I am not suggesting we excuse away any type of abusive behavior or that we don’t allow ourselves to feel our feelings. My goal here is to help us assess what is truly worth getting angry and feeling bad about and then to be mindful of how we acknowledge it all.

So my suggestion is to first get in touch with our emotional responses to things. We can ask our self if the anger is necessary and if so why. We can ask ourselves “would it serve the highest good of all to respond differently?” We can get clear on whether we are truly angry about something and then choose a response from the heart. And we can practice letting it go when it’s simply a principle that seems violated.

Our relationships are our places to practice our personal growth. So we can begin examining anger’s role in them and investigate how letting it go can help us grow.

2 Comments on “To Tame or Not To Tame Our Anger?

  1. Your blog definitely struck a heart string for me this morning. I have been working through soothing my anxiety and self-anger.

    I have found that anger is a vital emotional tool, letting me know when my boundaries have been violated. It’s when the anger lingered, no longer serving my best good, that it sapped my energy. Slow leaks over time have consisted of: rehashing arguments and continuing stories in my head instead of asking my heart intuition.

    All emotions are appropriate, for they are honest reactions. Discernment of appropriate responses to my emotions, is where the real work begins.

    • Beautiful work Kris and thank you so so much for sharing it here! We all learn from each other and I feel like we all go through so much of the same stuff – different circumstance but same underlying mechanisms and beliefs.

      I agree wholeheartedly with you, our personal work is in feeling our emotions, finding our best responses and then knowing our tipping point of when to release them before they take us down another route that no longer serves us.

      Thank you again! Holding space for yours and all of our journeys! Much love!!

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