The Anger I’ve Been Working Through…
By: Mandy B. Anderson
I’m not an angry person. By nature, I am upbeat and optimistic – sometimes a little too serious, driven, and uptight – but not angry. So, this is brand new territory for me because over the summer there has been some anger that I’ve been working through. It’s been an eye-opening experience; one in which God and I have had many conversations about.
You see, anger isn’t bad on its own. It is an emotion that God created. In the Bible, we see many times where God himself was angry! The danger with anger lies in how we handle it. Do we dwell on it, avoid it, bury it, and then let it fester with bitterness? Or, do we admit it, face it, bring it to God, and let Him help us through it?
I’m sharing this with you today because I have a hunch that maybe you’ve wondered how to deal with anger, too. Several weeks ago, a client reached out to me about this very issue. She asked me what she should do because she realized that she has some unresolved anger in her life. I was so proud of her for admitting it, instead of stuffing and avoiding it like so many people tend to do. In our short conversation, I gave her 2 Simple Steps to Overcome Anger. These are steps that I have been applying in my own life. Here are the steps, along with some insight from my own personal experience…
Write down: Who are you angry at and what are you angry about?
This can be a hard question to answer; yet it is so very important. If your anger has been stuffed for years, and you are just now becoming aware of it, there might be some confusion about what the root cause of the anger really is. Give yourself permission to answer this question. Honestly. Vulnerably. Get clear on this question so you can begin to forgive and heal from the anger.
In my own life, writing down WHO I was angry at and WHAT I was angry about was the easy part. I didn’t even have to try to get it out of me – it easily flowed out my pen into my journal. Just simply admitting how I was feeling to God, in my journal, helped me begin to let go of the anger and the bitterness so it didn’t consume me. Other ways I released the anger included:
- Listening to loud, angry music.
- Crying hot, angry tears.
- Writing an angry letter TO this person (one that I WILL NEVER SEND because it was not about letting this person know how I felt, it was all about releasing my anger in a healthy way!)
Write down: What other feelings do you have about this situation and why? (I.e. Sadness, disappointment, disgust, jealousy, etc.)
Anger is a secondary emotion, which means it is covering up other emotions. One of the main emotions that anger covers up is sadness. Sadness is uncomfortable, so instead we choose to get angry so we don’t have to deal with the hurt. However, facing the hurt is an important part of the healing process! So give yourself permission to dig a bit deeper and admit the emotions that accompany your anger.
When I began digging into this question for myself, here’ what I discovered my own anger was hiding:
- An extreme disappointment in this person.
- Fear of how this person will treat, and has treated, the people I love.
- Overwhelming sadness of what life has been like over the last two decades for people that I love due to this person’s choices.
Yes, this was a bit hard to look my own anger in the eye and dig deeper to find out what it was really covering up. However, avoiding anger is not the answer. The only way to overcome anger is to be honest about it, feel it, and then…forgive. Forgive yourself for being angry or letting yourself down. Then forgive the other people involved. They don’t necessarily have to know that you are forgiving them – this can be something that starts in your heart and with your words before it gets verbally expressed to those who hurt you (if ever). I’m still working through this and I will continue to do so, because I don’t want to be trapped in anger and bitterness. Do you?
Dear Beautiful Friend, anger is not your identity.
You were designed to be free. Loved. Happy and whole. Be encouraged to take some time to journal through these two simple questions so you can begin to overcome your anger once and for all. I promise you that the freedom you experience will be worth it.