“We often fixate on how negative anger can be—how it can take hold of us, how it can hurt others and ourselves. We talk about wanting to get rid of it. The thing is, it’s not going anywhere.” ~ Justin Lioi
Anger can span the scale from impatience to righteous indignation to outright rage. It can quietly smolder internally and fuel a lifetime of resentment that erupts without warning or shows up as general negativity and biting responses to life’s challenges. In its most destructive form, it can kill, maim or injure. Yet, used with awareness, it can empower; motivate social justice and change; and it can be the spark of our personal growth.
You have been trained since childhood to see anger as the outlaw and the enemy. Your families and your conditioning instilled a deep fear of punishment if you ever gave in to your anger. The most terrifying consequence of expressing anger was the disapproval it generated which meant and the loss of acceptance and love.
In adulthood, anger gets the same bad wrap and the same fear-driven silence because ingrained beliefs about its unacceptability have you convinced you might lose your job, break up with your spouse, or lose friends if you let it loose.
Sadly, holding back your anger can lead to depression, health issues, alcoholism and addiction. It can also destroy the very connections you seek to nurture in life when it manifests externally in relationships as blame, judgement and suppression toward others.
Your fiery reactions are often the unconscious defense of a perceived loss of personal power. In the moment, it gives a sense of strength when you feel your weakest, most fearful or most vulnerable.
Beyond the justifiable variety of indignation at wrongdoing, your anger is often a symptom of a personal boundary being crossed. Underneath its heat lies feelings of being misunderstood, shamed, feeling helpless or taken advantage of. It can be a knee-jerk reaction to an uncomfortable crisis or a move to manage a situation that feels out of control.
Sometimes it is the lingering effect of neglect and abuse in childhood when there was no one to hear your pain. Back then, a high emotional volume setting on your presence was the only way you could be heard.
How do you learn to express anger without setting yourself or the object of your fury on fire?
Acknowledge you are angry – use its presence as a sign post that something within you needs hearing – be curious and open to the core issues that are begging for your attention.
Ask yourself :
Breathe – deep breaths through the mouth to cool the inner inferno encourages calm and helps restore perspective and encourages insight.
Breathwork – this is an ideal tool to use to release old anger, hurts and injuries that continue to interfere in your present life’s forward motion.
Let it Go –journal about it, meditate with it and ask for insight. Cry, draw, talk it out with a safe person but above all, create a way to release it in order to get it outside of you. Do not continue to think about it, share it or otherwise give it life – lock it out!
Change Your Communication – How would you respond rather than react?
Consider how you might communicate your needs with the same intensity and firmness but without the fired up approach. Ask yourself what outcome you desire and how you might be heard clearly in order to achieve your end goal.
As much as anger is judged as inappropriate and wrong, it can be a loyal ally that deserves as much acceptance as any other emotion. If you choose to pay attention, anger serves as the signal that something deeper within you needs healing. It is the voice of your vulnerability and when you listen, it can give rise to self-acceptance, confidence and strength.
If you let go and change the anger story – you get free space!
Visit www.johnstamoulos.com to find out more about the healing power of your breath through the powerful process of Breathwork.