In some circles, anger is seen as a “bad” emotion, one that should be contained and not expressed. Sometimes when we feel angry, we get angrier because we’re angry and we don’t know how to express it, or we’ve already lashed out at someone unnecessarily, which leads to guilt afterwards.
What if anger was good for you?
Instead of containing or suppressing anger, what if we looked deeper into the emotion of anger to see what lesson is trying to emerge? By not suppressing, I’m not suggesting to go out and project your rage onto the next person who crosses your path. Rather, the next time the emotion of anger strikes, take a few moments to inquire within to see what’s really going on.
Anger is a signal that something is not right, it signifies change and that something new needs to emerge in its place. It’s also the fire that fuels the change when it’s understood properly. If you are angry with someone else, then look at yourself – what is it about the other person or situation that has you so upset?
Before you yell, take a deep breath and count to five, then notice what’s going on in your body. If you need to excuse yourself from the situation to do this, that is OK. It’s better to come back later when you are feeling calm and can express yourself clearly – you have a much better chance at a positive outcome.
Here’s an example: I was experiencing aggressive behaviour towards me from a co-worker, which I felt was downright abusive and I got pissed off! I could have told this person in my angry voice how much of jerk he was being but, I took some time to review the situation and to digest what was really going on instead. I initially felt pain in my stomach, my heart was beating fast and my palms were sweating. This was an attack on my personal integrity and I was not going to accept it.
After some deep breathing and going for a walk, I calmed down and began to inquire why this was upsetting me. I had worked hard and was not going to leave this job on a sour note; I needed to stand up for myself. Then the light bulb went on with the key word “leave.” I had been thinking of leaving my job for a few months as I was not feeling fulfilled and I wanted to start my own business, but I wasn’t sure when that would happen. My level of dissatisfaction with my work was manifesting itself as conflict in the workplace. This was one small twig that helped to fuel the fire of change that I needed to leave my job.
We eventually resolved our differences and came to an understanding. I feel good that I was able to stand up to this person in a respectful manner and to communicate my boundaries and what I felt was acceptable behaviour. Now that I see the bigger picture I am grateful for this experience, and others that have helped me to get to where I am today – a proud entrepreneur who is living my life on purpose in a job that I love.