Women in our society have often been taught that feeling or expressing anger is not done. But anger is just as normal and important as feeling joy or fear. Instead of looking at anger as a negative feeling that should be avoided, anger is actually an important signal. Anger can let us know that a boundary has been crossed or a need has not been met. It can be a powerful signal that your have been doing more or giving more than you can afford. Or it could be a warning that others are doing too much for us and in this way block our own growth or competence.
It can be really powerful to explore what your anger is telling you. Years ago when my children were much smaller, I noticed that I often became angry at my kids when they just asked me a small question. I started to investigate what was actually behind my anger, to ask myself are there any needs not met or boundaries that were crossed? It became clear very quickly that I craved quiet uninterrupted me-time. And this need was not met. My anger had nothing to do with this question but it was a signal that I needed more space for myself.
So I talked to my husband about it and we looked for a ways I could build in more quiet uninterrupted me-time. I also talked to my kids about how a really loved some time alone, in quiet. That I would sometimes go to my study for this and that I would tell them when I did, so they would know when not to disturb me. And my husband helped to keep the kids downstairs when I was up in my study for some quiet me-time. Once I built in this me time, I snapped at my kids far less often.
Over the years I have developed a routine of starting my day with 30 minutes of uninterrupted me time, so when the kids wake up I already have given myself the gift of me-time. And if I need some more during the day, I just go to the woods, or go to my study and hang up a do not disturb sign. So by investigating my anger an important need for me became clear, I started to have conversations with my husband and kids about what I needed and I made changes in my life so I could honour this need. Talking about the positive power of anger 😊!
So I invite you to check in with yourself this week when you feel anger (or irritation). What is your anger telling you about your needs and your boundaries?
If you want to learn more about anger, why we feel it is not ok to feel or express anger, and how anger can be a very positive and powerful source… read “The dance of anger” by Dr. Harriet Lerner. Highly recommended!
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Wishing you a lovely week!