I found myself very MAD the other day. I was feeling this anger increase throughout my entire body. You know what it feels like! It starts in your fists, and before you know it, your teeth are clenched. Your muscles start to get tight, like when you flex in front of the mirror after a good workout. You can feel your heartbeat increasing, as an insatiable energy consumes your body.
Angry or Sad
While feeling these physical changes in my body, I started to think about all the things that were making me angry, and for a split second, I thought I felt the presence of another emotion. Something much more vulnerable, and not as easily aimed as anger. I thought to myself, “What is that?" It was almost a sadness…….”What was I sad about?" Then, I thought a better question might be, “Am I angry or am I sad?"
I liked the anger better! It felt good to attribute my feelings to something outward, and set a blaze of emotions on a more visible target. The kids, the spouse, the job, the money, THE BRONCOS….you get the idea.
It felt like I needed a target that I knew I couldn’t beat. This would provide me with the endless war to fight, and when there is war, we don’t talk about how to make things better. There is no time for self-assessment, and perhaps that is the greatest tool of anger!
When we are mad, we are not thinking about……..well, we are NOT thinking!
Better yet, we think about everything from a perspective that does us no good. In order for us to use anger as a productive tool, it must first be broken down to what emotion your “anger” is manipulating.
Generally, for me, I have found that my anger is almost always a manifestation of embarrassment and/or frustration. Making this connection has almost eliminated the need for me to use “angry responses.”
By knowing that we are feeling embarrassed, frustrated, hurt, or any of the many emotions that like to camouflage as “anger,” we are able to respond from a place where those emotions can be expressed, and the response that we get will be more appropriate to address feelings we are having. In contrast, when we respond in anger, we often receive responses that are appropriate, only to deal with anger.
Counseling and coaching can be a great asset in learning the skills to appropriately identify emotions. If this is something that you or a loved one struggles with, contact an available counselor or coach to begin a more peaceful life.
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