Getting unstuck by appreciating your anger
Allow your anger to unlock your creative potential of change
Shit happens. We can not prevent ourselves from it. Everyone gets angry – some less and some more. However, I experienced that I tried to stop myself from feeling anger and frustration. Especially when I started my spiritual journey a few years ago.
Everytime that I got angry, I was trying to get rid of this feeling by jumping on my meditation pillow and repeating the sentence “let it go” in every exhale.
And I truly believe that those practices are helpful and emotions are little states that come and go. However, I was not allowing my anger to come up at all but stopped it with mindfulness and meditation practices. Unfortunately, it did not work well every time. Life still sucked sometimes and shit happens. We feel that other people treat us not in the way we want to be treated. We feel that circumstances are not in the right direction as we want them to be. And sometimes we just feel that life is not fair.
So, I recently had a situation in my job when I felt being overstepped and not appreciated or respected by other people over a longer time, I experienced one day that all those emotions were just too much. I tried to shut them down during my morning meditation by looking at the circumstances and situations that frustrated by in a way of a learning and how I can grow from those experiences. Nevertheless, at some point, I felt so much anger and frustration that I literally could explode at my workplace. So on that day, my anger was so upset that I took it not serious at all, that it now shut down my smart spiritual voice in my head. I was so angry and frustrated in my heart and my mind was holding against those feelings that the feeling of sadness joined and I felt that I just wanted to burst in tears. I just wanted to get out of this situation. But since I know myself being quite emotional, I convinced my highly emotional inner voice to not drive an action or conversation out of those feelings that I might regret afterwards. So I went home, had two hours of self-pity time where I was just letting those feelings of anger fill up my heart and my apartment literally. I allowed the thoughts in my head like “those people just don’t care about me.”, “this is definitely the wrong job for me.” and “I could use my time for so many more valuable and meaningful things as for this bullshit job.”.
After a few hours, I thought that now is the right time to sit on my meditation pillow and calm down again starting my wise inner voice that tells me to let it go and learn from it. But still, I couldn’t. There was still so much anger in my heart that needed more space. At the same time, I wanted to become active and do something about it. Basically, use this energy that was bubbling inside me.
Thus, I tried a method to turn this anger into a creative session of analysis and reflection.
Usually, I reflect upon my life out of a state of calmness and relaxation after a meditation session. But this day, it was different. I was so excited to really dive into this negative feeling. I even set up a spotify playlist with angry songs to increase this emotional effect. So, I sat down on my living room floor, actually on my meditation pillow, gathered some post-its around me and started the process:
Step 1: Get it out I started with the question “What makes me angry?” on a larger post-it. Below, I separated two columns for post-its. One with the question (1) “What?” and the other with the question (2) “Why?”. Then, I filled up all the post-its with the things in my current situation that really drive me insane at the moment. At every single aspect, I questioned myself “Why does it make me angry?”. At the first stage, I had a shallow answer like “I feel not being asked about my opinion.”. Then I asked further “Why does this make me angry?” until I came to the initial feeling that hurt me in this aspect like “I feel not appreciated” or “I feel that I am alone.”. I listed everything up without judging or ordering anything in order to let out the whole emotional energy.
Step 2: Your changing power
In the second step, I wrote on another post -it: “My changing power” and added two colums (1) “What I can change” and (2) What I can’t change.
Interestingly, there are not so many things that I can not change. Obviously, for instance, I can not change other people and how they think about me. But when I filled up the column with the things on which I have the power to change them, I was surprised that there are comparably so many. Sometimes, we tend to get caught in the feeling of self-pity that we can not change our circumstances and destiny is just against us. But especially when it comes to the way we think about ourselves and how we appreciate us, we can change a lot in our mindset already.
Step 3: Sit back and order
In my “What can I change” list was a huge spectrum of rather big changes in life or small ones starting with practicing self-love more often, for instance, to changing the career and the job, leaving the country and getting out of this shitty world.
However, in this mood of anger, one golden rule is not to act immediately.
So, please do not send your termination letter to your boss. You can write it to get rid of these emotions but do not send it.
Thus, for today, the last step is to order your things you can change in a way that feels comfortable for you today. In my list, there are different actions that could be tried out, for instance. So, I thought of ordering the list according to the actions. If action one does not work out, I can proceed to action two and if this does not work out, I can still proceed to the major change in life. Then leave your living room floor.
That is enough for today. Treat yourself with something that you like and take a break to calm yourself down. Ask yourself if your anger had enough space or if there is even more to let out in order to feel fresh again. Maybe then, go to the gym and run your ass off.
Step 4: Look at it with fresh eyes
The next day, you will look at your post-it’s again. Maybe there are some that you want to add, because sometimes after anger there comes sadness. Maybe you have a feeling that was hurt and caused your anger to your list. Maybe you have a brilliant idea of what you can change. Then, reorder your action of change and make little experiments out of them. For instance, if you think of quitting your job because you feel not appreciated enough, but before that you could change your own perception of your job and think of other ways to get appreciation in your private life. You can test this experiment for a month or two before you evaluate if this works out for you or if you still want to quit your job.
This way of channeling my anger in a creative way was helpful for me to structure and order my feelings and to give me a feeling of power to change what makes me angry. And the most important learning out of this little session was that our anger wants to be taken seriously just as positive feelings want to be taken seriously.