Welcome back to another episode of Your Anxiety Toolkit podcast. Today I want to talk to you about anger. I have talked about anger before, but this time is a little bit different. I want to tell you why anger is your friend.
When I say that to people, they usually have a reaction and they say “No, it’s not. Anger is horrible. Anger makes me uncomfortable.” I think we have anger all wrong because society tells us it’s wrong. We are told “You are not allowed to be angry. It is disrespectful to be angry. You’re overreacting. You are so insecure.” Those are the messages we so often receive about anger and they only direct us away from listening to our anger.
Let’s first discuss, what is anger? Anger is an emotion that you feel and it is usually a reaction to some kind of injustice or some kind of threat. If you have been wronged, you feel angry about it. If you feel like you are physically or emotionally in danger, anger is usually the emotion that arises. Anger is just one emotion in our toolkit and it is so important.
The cool thing about anger is that anger propels us forward. While anxiety pulls us backward, anger pushes us forward into either protection or problem solving mode. Anger is your friend because it shows up with a message that we should listen to. If you feel anger, the trick is to see that underneath the anger is an emotion that has a lot of knowledge and something to tell you. Anger is your friend because it will help lead you to where you work is, whether that is fear, shame, guilt or any other underlying emotion.
When you feel anger arise, the first thing I am going to encourage you to do is to just validate the feeling. You can say “I feel angry and that is OK or I am noticing anger in my body right now.” Next I want you to meet yourself with compassion. Something has been activated, some kind of pain and all pain, no matter the source, deserves and requires compassion. Finally, once you’ve validated and practiced self-compassion, the next step is to ask yourself what is underneath this anger? What is it trying to tell me? So in this moment just get really quiet and listen. Are you angry because you are afraid? Are you angry because you feel shame? Are you angry because someone brought up a fault that you didn’t really want to address? These are some reasons we all feel anger so remember you are not alone.
Since anger is your friend you can use it to propel you forward into solutions. If you listen to the anger, validate it and ask it what it needs, it will usually led you to your suffering so that you can either tend to it or solve it. It is really THAT powerful!
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