“Criticism always seems to add inspiration to your pursuit of success. Strip away the anger and bias. And use the rest as fuel.”
I’m grateful for the anger this week. That statement might leave some of you confused.
How can she be happy that she was angry? Isn’t anger bad?
You’re not wrong. Anger isn’t an emotion anyone should go for especially if your true intention is to live in harmony with yourself and the world around you.
But it’d be false to say that feeling anger doesn’t creep up from time to time. Life doesn’t always work out the way we want it to and our response to stressful situations really breaks down to biology: we go into survival mode, our bodies react by producing more cortisol, and our adrenaline picks up. In short, we become physically tense and that inevitably bleeds into our mental and emotional state. Anger is a natural byproduct of stress.
So why am I grateful for being angry this week?
There are times when we need a jolt to break us out of a monotony. Sometimes it’s a check in the ‘win’ column, with a promotion or a chance meeting with a new friend or partner that you truly click with. Other times it’s changing old habits and finding new hobbies or exploring interests so that you feel energized and motivated to meet challenges with optimism.
Then there are those times that you really just need a kick in the pants. Where the cycle you find your life in is so destructive and soul-crushing that you’re numb day in and day out.
I’ve been there for longer than I care to say, and for the first time in a very long time, I felt real anger. I allowed that emotion, all white-hot and fiery, to consume me for a little while this week as I metaphorically shook my fist at the world (really, I just turned my phone off and avoided people for a few days while I mentally cursed the universe).
Then the tide shifted and I found energy underneath all of that frustration. The intensity of my anger has dissipated to a simmer, but what I feel more than anything is a fierce need to change my circumstances. My drive has doubled and I’m attacking each day as an opportunity.
I’m not saying that anger is the answer. At its core, anger does more to limit us if you hold onto the grudge for too long. It’s also self-indulgent. We’re so focused on being pissed off at what’s going on within our heads, that we neglect to see the upsides happening all around us, all the time.
What’s important to realize is that we need to allow ourselves to experience what we’re going through from top to bottom. Do not dismiss any part of that because you think you should be more forgiving or that you should be positive always. Those are lofty goals and at the end of the day, we’re all human. Admit to yourself that you’re angry, and then ask yourself, why?
Being self-aware and honest opens so many doors down the road. I was honestly angry for so many reasons this week, but the great thing is that I was able to apply that constructively to resolve some of the conflicts I mentioned last week, in a way that was positive. How could I not be grateful for that?
How do you experience anger?
Does anger help you or harm you?
What are you thankful for this week?