How Anger is Useful
I used to be an angry person. I used to tell myself I was so passionate about things, that it was justified. I was on edge all the time. This is actually a big part of my personality, one of the pitfalls I can fall into because I am so concerned about taking care of others. I used to actively resent people for no reciprocation. I would hold onto all the things that bothered me and gossip about others and then when the straw broke the camel's back, I blew up. I was full of negative thoughts. I'm pretty sure there are many people out there that thought I was crazy.
It has taken me a really long time to work through a lot of that and get to where I am now, where I see that anger had a foothold in my heart and took away my joy. I really wasn't able to see the amazing things happening right in front of my face, I could only see what was missing. I know I am still working on it, and probably will be for the rest of my life.
I was thinking about this today because I had a client that I met with that was mad about a situation happening at the organization he works with. After a few probing questions and statements, he finally let go and told me why he was so frustrated and pissed off (his words). He then went on to paint this beautiful vision of the world he sees and how the current situation didn't fit into that worldview. How what was happening really made him mad.
We had a great discussion about it for the reason I am sharing it with you today. When you get raging mad, it's a very strong indicator that one of your values has been stepped on. It's time to call on your inner Nancy Drew and start investigating what is making you so angry. Once you identify what is being stepped on, you will start to notice patterns when this shows up in your life, and whether or not you have created boundaries to help you work with when this is actively present.
The model is this:
1 - Identify and catch when you are raging mad
2 - Identify what is making you mad
3 - Name the value(s) and why it's so important
4 - Create boundaries and self-care rules when the red flags show up
5 - Apply and pivot
Let me give you an example. I get so angry when someone is inconsiderate. I am pretty understanding (I can try to find a reason to justify anything), but there is something about the blatant disregard for others that really drives me up a wall. Seriously? You can't hold the door, or even say thank you when someone does the same for you? It says to me that you do not have the capacity to watch your surroundings and care about others, which in my mind is means you are highly likely to not care to listen to others or value others' opinions.
Yes, this is definitely when my judger comes out. I actually hate the feeling because it means I'm being inconsiderate. Most things are a double-edged sword.
The person in front of me doesn't hold the door. A manager doesn't communicate properly. A friend doesn't text me back in the time I have deemed the "important window". So many examples.
1 - Note that I am feeling angry. Teeth clenched. Hands clenched. Usually start talking about that person in my head, and I am ready to unload about this person with the next person who is ready to listen.
2 - Inconsideration is making me mad. I recognize that my emotions are leading the show and not in a way that serves others.
3 - The value(s) being stepped on are connection and community.
4 - I know I need to honour these values in this case, which is to give them the benefit of the doubt, be grateful that I can still open the door with arms that work, that I always have the chance to make it right with my manager and reach out to my friend and tell them what's up. The boundaries needed in this case are space with others and grace. Self-care that's needed is more opportunities for gratitude, journaling when I feel that mad, and asking for what I need so that others can know what I require instead of blowing up later because people couldn't read my mind.
5 - When I walk behind people, I give them space, so I am not dependent on their holding of the door. I also make sure to hold the door for others (golden rule always applies). With my manager, make sure to have clear agendas and one-on-one meetings scheduled for regular check-ins. With my friends, communication is key.
The more that you are in tune with what is happening with your body and your feelings, the more you can start to articulate what is important to you and why. The more you can identify your values and really narrow down the top 10 or less that speak to you in your life, the easier it is to make decisions and plans that align with what you really want.
Peace and joy follows alignment. And I want that for you. So badly.