For many people, including me, anger has been a point of contention and something I have always avoided. Since many of us grew up in households where our parents either suppressed anger or raged and exploded, anger has felt scary. Most people don’t know how to feel it, let alone accept it in those around them. No one wants to see their partners scream, kids throw temper tantrums, bosses rage, or “lose control” themselves. Plus, what will people think if they see us or our loved ones behaving in this way? How will people judge us? Most importantly, how will we judge ourselves?
So this begs the question, what do we do with our anger. We obviously can’t avoid feeling it. It’s going to come up one way or another. If we push it down, it will show up in our bodies as pain or disease, or we will inadvertently take it out on those around us. We also can’t be walking around telling people we’re angry all day and “throwing up all over them.”
So, here are some proven and tried out methods, that have worked for me and many others, I’d like to share with you. But before I do, I’d like to first address that voice inside that judges you and everything you do. We all know what your inner dialogue is. It may tell you that you are doing things wrong, you’re not good enough, or you have no right to feel this way. Yes, that voice. Now that you’ve identified it. Here are the ways to make it your friend and stop trying to get rid of it.
1) Know that you will feel frustration, pain, hurt, or sadness that may be showing up as anger, or it may be straightforward anger That’s ok. Whatever you feel, allow yourself to feel it – without taking it out on anyone. So, basically give yourself permission to feel.
2) Identify what are ALL the emotions going though you. Name them. (We experience many emotions all at once. You could feel sad and angry at the same time, for example.)
3) Now release these feeling safely. Scream at the top of your lungs, in your car or in your house when no one’s home. That primal scream from the pit of your stomach out through your throat, and hold it as long as you can. Then do it again and again, until you either break down crying or feel empty – like you’ve released. Be prepared to do this a few times in a row, and a few times a day, to really get the hang of allowing yourself to fully let go. Most of us aren’t used to this, that’s why step 1 – giving yourself permission – needs to be applied over and over again.
4) Now congratulate yourself for letting go and think about something nurturing you can say to yourself. “You are so good at releasing feelings.” Or “I’m so proud of you for letting go.”
Think of how you’d like to feel and focus on that one word for the rest of the day. My favorite one is “fulfilled.” Imagine what it feels like to feel that. It may be running through a field of daisies, dancing, hugging, or just a big smile.
Throughout the day, keep repeating the pattern of feeling and releasing. If you can’t yell because you are at work or around others, other ways to release can be taking a deep breath, “journaling the yelling”, or just allowing The key is to let the feelings go through you, release them, and don’t allow them to define you.
Remember, you are an amazing, unique creation. There is no one exactly like you in this world. The more you allow your light to shine, by releasing, embracing, and owning all parts of you – the more you get to be the real you who is fully self-expressed and fulfilled. Anger doesn’t have to be scary. It’s just another part of your wonderful self expression!
~ Margie Mader, LMFT, CHt
Owner and Creator of Growth and Healing Wellness Center, LLC