“You won’t be able to move beyond chronic people pleasing if you aren’t willing to befriend your anger and to be seen as the villain when the situation demands it,” Xavier Dagba. This is important as we wind down this year. Many of us are fully aware of a general melancholy, a desire calling us to do something more in line with what we want. We are becoming closer to the inner knowing, the voice that tells us where to go, the direction that’s right for us. I spoke of it twice this week especially as it related to my son’s safety. I KNOW I want to be closer to him, I know I want to cut my commute out of the picture. It’s for my own peace of mind and it serves what I’m trying to accomplish.
We operate in extremes—where we either totally dive in and self-deprive or we binge shows and food. We work all the time to avoid how we feel or we emotionally collapse. With that mindset, we often find ourselves functioning out of obligation—we don’t do things for the sake of joy, we do them because we feel we must. That creates resentment and anger which we are told we shouldn’t feel, that nothing is done to us, it’s just how life operates. The truth is we are still trying to operate on outdated machinery and software that no longer functions as it did. We’ve tried to shift the purpose to the same result because we don’t know what the alternative looks like and we keep doing what we’ve always done expecting different results. Ignoring those needs creates anger and resentment as well.
Anger isn’t a negative thing: it’s an indicator that our boundaries have been crossed in some way. I’m not saying to fly off the handle at every little thing, but I am saying to develop a different relationship with anger. Understand what it’s really trying to say. The most common adage is that anger is a secondary emotion. It’s a response to something that was done. So, this means that if we are able to better understand the underlying issues around anger, if we are able to recognize what has been crossed, then we are more easily able to communicate and express that boundary. If we don’t know what we want and we are so wrapped up in what other people think, we will never get beyond where we are—and we will continue to harbor and foster that anger.
For me, this was established clearly during review season, with my boss’s reaction to her review, with the threat to my son’s school, being able to leave work early and to do something in alignment with what my soul really needed in that moment. We don’t get what we want by ignoring what we need. Yes, we are meant to help others, yes, we are inclined to want to fit in, and, yes, we sometimes have to do things we don’t enjoy. That doesn’t mean that needs to be our lives or the norm of how we operate. That would mean the total destruction/elimination of who we are. In order for this world to flourish, we each need to bring our gifts to light. We need to love ourselves enough to be who we are. That means following the light inside of us.
So the next time you feel angry, don’t let yourself get carried away with it but don’t let yourself ignore it, either. Get familiar with it. Ask where it’s really coming from. More importantly, ask what needs to be recognized in that moment. That curiosity will bring you closer to the truth than ignoring it or following default expected behavior. Go with it. There is nothing more empowering than developing a sense of recognition of self and who we are as individuals. It allows us to develop our strengths and fulfill a purpose we may not know we have otherwise. We aren’t bad for getting angry, we aren’t noble for denying who we are. We are all human and it’s critical as we move forward to establish the truth of who we are. it isn’t about making others happy or even making our own happiness. It’s about letting the joy and happiness in through being our highest selves. Don’t get angry, get curious.