Oh…anger. It feels taboo to even acknowledge it sometimes.
I am a big advocate for positive thinking. I believe in the Law of Attraction. Whether you first learned about it from The Secret, Ask and It Is Given, or Think and Grow Rich, what it basically boils down to is ‘what you think and feel is what shows up in your life’.
This leads to focusing on the positive. Raising your vibration. Doing your best to stay in ‘The Vortex’. And when you feel good, life feels better. You are better able to see possible opportunities. Better able to experience joy, gratitude and a sense of abundance in your world.
But there’s a challenge in always focusing on the positive. Because you are a human being with a whole depth and breadth of emotions. And sometimes negative emotions show up. Emotions like sadness, grief, anger, frustration, depression, and guilt. And when they do, they don’t always feel comfortable. No one really likes feeling bad, right?
So you try to force yourself to feel better. And as soon as you do that, you are unknowingly creating a new challenge.
The new challenge is your judgement of those feelings. Let’s use anger as an example. You say something to yourself like “Oh, I shouldn’t be angry. I should learn to just accept what is happening.”
It’s that judgement of what you ‘should’ or ‘shouldn’t’ be doing or even feeling that is the real issue. Because the judgement can create a downward spiral.
I shouldn’t be angry at that.
I should learn how to be more accepting.
Why am I not more accepting?
What is wrong with me that I am so angry?
I have to try harder. I have to do better.
I’m just not good enough.
Which statement feels worse? “I’m angry because of this thing that just happened.” OR “I’m just not good enough.”
How to Express Anger in a Healthy Way
What happens if you give yourself permission to let the judgement go? The feeling of anger is neither good nor bad. It simply is.
What happens if you let yourself really feel the anger. Just sit in it? Let it flow through you without trying to force it to stop? Let it move out of you when it’s ready?
And from a calmer place, on the other side of the anger, what if you look for the gift in it? Because anger is a real gift. Anger is a signal that one of your boundaries has been crossed. Something has happened, someone has done something, maybe you’ve even done something, that is out of alignment with who you are and how you want your world to be.
It’s like a giant cartoon arrow pointing at a snapshot of your life saying “THIS SHOULD NEVER HAPPEN AGAIN”. And when you see what the boundary is that has been crossed, you can now figure out how to live your life differently so that never happens again.
It might be committing to doing something differently for yourself – like choosing a different way of acting or choosing not to put yourself in a situation again. It might be having a conversation with someone you care about to let them know about what has happened and what you need to be in good relationship together going forward. It might mean ending a relationship that is no longer in your best interest.
But before looking for the gift in the anger, it first needs to be acknowledged. It needs to be felt, without judgement or resistance. It needs to be allowed. You need to be able to get good and angry.
But what does that look like? When I googled ‘how to express anger’ as part of writing this post, all of the results I got were about what to do to calm yourself down (there were a lot of references to deep breathing 😉 ) or how to handle the next steps of resolving the situation that triggered the anger once you have calmed down. I couldn’t find one article, post or story about actually expressing anger. Seems like no one is talking about it. And if we’re not talking about it, you also can’t be learning about how to feel anger in a healthy way. So, in case you don’t know how to really feel and express anger your are feeling, here are some ideas:
- scream (into a pillow if you’re worried about someone hearing you)
- put on some angry music and dance it out (90s grunge is great for this)
- hit something (a heavy bag if you’ve got one handy, or try smacking a pillow with a wiffle bat)
- run (if you’re into that sort of thing)
- write about it (no holding back here. Name calling, bad words, it’s all allowed here – just be sure to shred or burn the papers when you’re done)
- clean the house (I don’t know why this one works, but it does…and you’ve done something beneficial at the same time)
Whatever you do, the key is to just do it. Without judgement. Giving yourself complete permission to fully experience this part of being human too.