What Anger Is Trying to Tell You
Anger is one of those feelings you might ignore simply because it's a pain to deal with.
We are taught at a young age don't be angry. Be nice, be helpful. Do everything you can to be liked. Don't think of yourself. Be successful.
As you get older, putting family first and not taking good care of yourself gets to be the norm. You may be taking care of aging parents along with keeping up with your kids' activities. Maybe you're a single parent doing all the heavy lifting. The list goes on and on.
All these messages translates to: don't express how you really feel - just suck it up.
Paying the Price
No one understands how much you do in a day. And no one asks. You complain to your partner but they don't get it, so you snap at the kids and feel irritable without knowing why.
You have trouble sleeping because you can't stop thinking about what needs to done tomorrow. Rest becomes almost impossible. Others point out that you rarely sit still.
Life isn't fun anymore, maybe it never was...but you're tired of it. And it needs to stop. You're empty. A slow brewing resentment builds up inside. You stuff your feelings and try to keep going.
Anger is a Gift
Sooner or later, feelings of anger get your attention. The thing about anger is that it points you towards what isn't working, or an aspect of your life that's out of whack. This is important information. Instead of judging yourself for feeling angry, look for the reason why you're feeling that way. It's not because you're selfish or wrong. It's not silly. No matter what it is - you need to find out what's causing this anger?
Healthy vs. Unhealthy Anger
Anger isn't all bad. When it's healthy you express it clearly without blame. Personal space is always respected as well as demonstrating a willingness to admit mistakes. On the other hand, unhealthy anger is either aggressive or indirect. The focus is on making the other person wrong and avoiding accountability.
In order to manage anger effectively, you need to identify what's causing it. Some of these might surprise you because at first glance they aren't really about anger - or are they?
Tips on Where to Start:
- Do you do everything yourself and not ask for help?
- Are you physically exhausted from doing too much?
- Do you need to detach from other people's problems?
- Do you avoid admitting hurt or angry feelings?
- Do you need to say no more often?
- Do you ignore your own needs?
- Are you there for everybody else but yourself?
- Do you go with the flow instead of speaking up?
When you find out why you're angry, you'll see what needs to change. Often, it's about setting healthy boundaries with others. If you don't want to do something, stop making yourself do it.
Take better care of yourself. Allow yourself to say no. Start expressing how you really feel. That's why anger is a gift. By honoring those feelings, they will point you in the right direction. For more help with boundaries read my blog 10 Steps for Setting Healthy Boundaries.
Your Next Steps
Anger signals you that something isn't right. Sometimes it's about needing to take care of yourself. What's one thing you could do to improve your self-care?
Make one small change that's doable. Get more sleep. Say no to a volunteer position that's too much. Ask a friend for a favor so YOU get a break. Always doing leads to always stressing. Making time to have fun and relax is vital if you want to enjoy life.
Let your anger have a voice.
You may recognize anger as a pit in the stomach or a hesitation to move forward. Write it out for clarity. Over time you'll develop an intuitive sense when something is wrong. Trust it. Let anger be your guide instead of the enemy.
You deserve to enjoy your life. Anger will guide you in the right direction if you listen.
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