"Frustration is the experience - anger is the feeling. Which applies to you?"
- Dr. Lisa Cooney
Anger, the Orphan Nobody Will Claim
Something I’ve found with my clients is that nobody wants to own anger.
The only problem there is that anger then owns them! And it can be so destructive.
Blowing your top feels good for a moment, but then comes the cleanup. And that’s a pain.
The weird thing?
Anger is a lie.
It’s getting swept up in a story that’s limited.
What is the real structure of anger?
Let’s get into it...
Anger Versus Frustration
Now my clients DO talk about frustration.
Frustration is an experience, while anger is a feeling.
Anger is the source.
And being a feeling, anger lasts: it reverberates, it vibrates.
Those vibes are the kind of thing that shows up at the grocery store.
Maybe you bump into somebody's cart, and there's an EXPLOSION. Or maybe you lose your cool waiting in line for coffee.
It's not the wait though, and it's not the grocery cart. It's the feeling that's still unprocessed.
You didn't own your anger. And if you don’t, guess what? It builds. It blows up. And it's embarrassing. Apologizing is nobody's first choice.
This is all normal.
The Lie of Anger
When you're taking your last breath, are you going to be thinking about the situation that angered you?
This is how anger lies to us. Anger is a loss of perspective.
Yes, people's actions can cause the feeling of anger - but their actions are not more important than YOUR life and choices.
When you feel anger, you want to just act like a BEAR.
What can you do differently?
Instead, breathe. Hold onto something. Surf it like a wave in the ocean. Figure out what you're feeling, survey the situation.
Ask yourself when you feel anger build: "Should I say something now, or later?"
Remember, when you speak from anger you risk losing a friend, a business relationship, a deal.
Anger is also a secondary emotion.
It's like an armor, and underneath it is...you.
Soft, heart-centered. The real you.
Sometimes you do have to act on your anger. You have to ask someone to respect a boundary. You have to state your business.
The Armor, and The Real You
We need that armor, because it’s on top of hurt and grief, sadness and shame.
So here's another way to think of anger: what if you could face up to those feelings down below?
What does your shame look like? Does it look like a cry, even a brief one?
Does the fear look like something a conversation would manage?
I’ll leave you with a question about your anger.
“Where am I right, where am I wrong, where's the lie, where's the power?”
Remember, you always have power. The power of choice is ever-present.
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