“Anger is nothing more than an outward expression of fear, hurt and frustration.” ~ Dr. Phil
As I write this article, I can admit I’m angry.
I’m angry at the way some of the events in my life have played out recently. I’m angry at the person who judged the way I’ve chosen to handle my pain. I’m angry that the more vulnerable and open I’m willing to be in relationships, the less I seem to be getting, and I’m angry at myself for the tears I shed and the hurt I feel over a guy who bruised my ego and my heart.
But I have been taught that anger isn’t really lady-like and doesn’t make you likable, so I work hard to suppress the anger. Pretend it’s not there. And as anyone knows who has ever boiled water in a teapot, you can keep a lid on it all you’d like, but eventually that pot is going to boil hot and mercilessly, and it will have no alternative but to start screeching like a banshee.
Because anger needs a place to go.
And normally, it goes off in a display of explosive fireworks that creates a whole lot of noise, hurt feelings and irreparable damage.
At least that’s been my experience.
Anger comes up for us almost daily. And since we can’t spend our days going off on people and spouting off every angry thought that comes into our heads, we need to find healthy ways to express it and let it go.
These are some of the tried and true ways that have worked for me and many of my clients who struggle with anger, forgiveness and letting things go:
1) Break it Down. A therapist I worked with used to have me break down my anger into pieces until I could get at the root of what was behind the anger. Nine times out of ten, the anger wasn’t even about what the other person had said or done, but about my own perceptions and how it made me feel about myself. These were the questions she had me answer: