Being brought up with the adage of, nice girls are not angry, I always struggled with such feelings. I found it difficult because, like everyone, I did feel angry from time to time and I didn't know what to do with it.
Over the years, I have learned how to both identify and acknowledge my anger, and express it in safe ways. This of course is far better for my mental health. A recent situation had me absolutely fuming; so much so that I spent quite time awake during the night thinking about it. I was so, so furious. It should never have happened; they knew better and I felt aggrieved. What was important for me during process was to actually identify and feel every ounce of my fury. I needed to think through every step of what had happened to get us to this point. I'd made certain things very clear in the past but on this occasion, my preference was totally ignored. I put my trust in this person and they let me down. Sometimes when I feel hurt, angry or upset and I process what's happened, I can see both sides, and I'm happy to acknowledge my part. However this time I couldn't for the life of me see what I had done wrong. I'd requested this service; one I'd had delivered many times before over many years, but this time it was completely different. I kept searching for my part in this, but there wasn't anything. Nothing. In an attempt to have it rectified, a change was made that resulted in something marginally better, but I was still upset, very angry and not happy. My next move was to process my feelings in a way that was not hurtful to myself or the other party. This of course is what all of those years in Psychotherapy taught me. So, I got to work and here's what I did: 1. I wrote a letter explaining how I felt and why. Even though I had no intention of sending the letter, it was important to me that I got these feelings of fury out of my head. Putting them down on paper worked perfectly. In the past, I have at times taken a second step in this process and burned the letter. This too is a healing release. 2. I went for a bike ride to get the energy of the anger out of my body. From years of practice, I know that physical exercise is a great way to process and release such feelings. Whether it's cycling, walking, running or weight training, consciously putting the energy of the anger into the physical exertion of the exercise, works wonders. 3. I made a decision for my future to seek a new service provider. This I have control over. And, this is about taking my power back. Yes, it will take some work, and I'll not know the result until I actually engage someone else, but I cannot have a situation such as this again. As always, this has been a good learning curve. What I noticed after the incident was a very, very strong gut feeling that I must make a change. In the past I had thought about it, but I was always too concerned about the other persons' feelings. For me, this was a lesson in listening to, and following my gut feeling, regardless of who it may upset. This excerpt from the poem (and book), The Invitation by Oriah Mountain Dreamer came to mind as I write this: "I want to know if you can disappoint another to be true to yourself." It's not easy to risk upsetting another human being, but it is more important to be true to oneself. As difficult as this is, such actions show integrity, and most of all, self-respect. In this situation, I could have told myself I was wrong and that I shouldn't be so angry, but my feelings were completely justified. I didn't do anything wrong. And, I needed to ensure this could never happen again. Take a moment to reflect on your relationship with your own anger. Do you have healthy ways of dealing with these feelings when they arise? If not, what would you like to do differently in the future? Let me know in the comments. With love,