A few days ago I posted a poll on Instagram asking my InstaFriends if they ever feel sabotaged by their anger. 80% of them said YES. 80%!!!
Mind this: I was very intentional about the question. I didn’t ask “Do you ever feel Angry”. Because anger is a natural and sometimes productive feeling. By the way, you should be worried if you never ever feel angry.
But what I asked was very very specific: DO you fell self-sabotage by anger. Because it may affect our work life, partnerships with coworkers, personal life, the quality of our relationships etc.
I will go on a limb here and say there’s a 80% chance that YOU also feel Anger has a negative effect on you.
And I have a simple ask for you, next time you feel angry: experience it!
No, really, experience it! Don’t try to shove it under the rug or pretend it’s not there. I know we are all taught that feeling angry is bad, and I’m sure you heard things like “hush now”, “don’t be angry” far too many times.
But the thing is: anger can become dangerous for ourselves and those around us if it’s repressed.
Instead of repressing it or hating it, I want you to understand it.
A simple self-awareness exercise to understand your Anger
This is actually a learning I picked up in my yoga class and thought it’s so good I just had to share it with you.
Credits: SuntUnCopac Yoga
You don’t have to wait around for the next time you’re angry, you can actually start now.
Try this very simple 3 step self-awareness exercise to understand your anger:
- Remember the last time you felt angry. Maybe it was during this week, maybe it was a month ago. Use the first memory that pops into your head. Remember where you were, who triggered it, why, and sit in that memory a bit. Then
- What was the physical feeling you felt when you became angry? It’s true that anger is a body emotional experience. We all experience it in a certain way. What did you feel? For me, It’s a pressure in my forehead. And when I repress my anger for too long, it’s severe pain in my stomach. Does this sound familiar? Do you experience the same? What is it like?
- What were you actually afraid of in that moment? My yoga teacher explained this best. The root of all negative (also known as low vibration) emotions is actually fear. Fear to be alone, fear of being rejected, fear of failure, fear of not being loved, appreciated, understood etc. So, back to you: what were you actually afraid of in that moment that you just recalled?
And do it next time you are angry also. Start by analyzing the physical feeling you get. And know it’s ok.
I went down a very interesting rabbit hole when I started analyzing my anger.
I remembered the last argument I got in with my partner and how I anger bubbled up. My head suddenly got very heavy, and I was experiencing a physical pressure in my forehead. Like I was growing a horn to poke him with. Then started throwing out accusations, then considered walking away from the relationship.
What I already knew from a theoretical perspective is that fear triggers some very weird and intense reactions: fight or flee.
And BAM! That’s when it hit me!
I was actually experiencing fear. The path was: I felt fear >> I got angry >> I fought and got into arguments >> and then wanted to flee, or sabotage the relationship.
OMG! I wasn’t actually experiencing a breakthrough in the relationship. I was actually afraid.
I heard this in coaching before and heard it again that day during yoga. But it was the first time it felt so true: Anger is rooted in fear. It has actually nothing to do with the situation or with my partner or with me in that particular moment.
But it has too much to do with a fear, coming from a pain that’s buried deep within me. And if I understand its root and get to the bottom of it, I will also be able to transform it.
Anger CAN be productive. It CAN be turned into a force for good. BUT the first step to do so is UNDERSTAND it.
So please: give yourself this. Start drilling down into your soul to understand what anger is telling you about yourself.
Now I am sure you have a loooooot to say right now, and I’d love for you to share your thoughts in a comment below.
Gif credits: Sofia Hydman