‘Why are you getting unreasonably angry?’ ‘Do you have anger issues?’ ‘You should control your anger.’ Many of you might have heard this at some part of your life. Anger has always been demonized as an unhealthy emotion. I was the angry bird of the family that the younger ones would think thrice before messing with me. At school and college, I have been omitted from the so called desirable women category because the boys used to be wary of my reaction if they approached me. Slowly, the thought that my anger is my drawback started seeping into my psyche. It took me two decades to realize that anger is after all a positive emotion if channelized in the right path. The moment I learned to embrace my anger and tamed it, my life changed. I channelised my anger positively and the transformation in my personality is unbelievable. So, the next time someone gives you an angry bird image, tell them that ‘it is because I am positive’.
Embracing my angry bird image
I knew from early on that my anger was not healthy. Though I was not aware of healthy and unhealthy emotions back then, I was well aware that my anger was destructive. If I indulge in an argument, I would be the louder one. I had to raise my voice to the highest decibel to feel the satisfaction of having an upper hand. If that was not enough, I used to unreasonably hurt my loved ones and have lost many friendships because I used to treat them as my anger release bags. I knew I was going wrong but I was helpless. When I decided to change the pattern, I initiated a new defence mechanism of not reacting to anything that would trigger me.
I was somehow convinced that by avoiding the situation, I could remain calm. The moment a trigger came my way I started reminding myself to not react. Everyone was happy to see the newly emerged version of mine. The angry bird image gave way to the patient soul. Only if I knew that I was not managing my anger but bottling it up. Result? Things reached the bottleneck and I burst out fiercer than ever before. Whoever triggered me was out of the picture because I was loud enough to overpower the thoughts of the ones around me. Everyone saw how I was behaving but no one cared to ask why.
How I changed my angry bird image in a healthy transformation?
The first step into anger management was to acknowledge that being angry was normal. As a next step, I started observing my anger and I learned the following facts about it.
- Anger helps to understand us better
- A feeling of anger enabled me to stand up for myself
- Being angry has saved me from many toxic friendships
- Anger has motivated me to push my limits
- Anger helped me in defending myself
If my anger had unimaginably positive repercussions, why was my anger materializing in a negative form? Because, for me, anger was not an emotion till then, it was an expression. My anger was not manifested in a physical form like an emotion that is being processed and expressed in a better way. The moment of this realization was bliss for me.
Since then I put a halt and ask myself, should I react this way or is there an alterative way to express my anger? More often than not I used to express unreasonable anger to my kids because it was convenient for me. I developed a pattern of escapism wherein I used to shout at my kids when I am angry with my husband. This was a prominently unhealthy pattern that I had to fight my way out of. When I followed the habit of pausing and introspecting I started behaving more reasonable and surprisingly I win every argument.
Your expression of anger depends on the person at the receiving end
Some instances, I would witness myself being angry at my partner to hide my pain. Yes! anger helps to hide the pain but this camouflaged pain could reach a bottleneck. You might have felt relieved of taking the burden out after shouting at someone who you have been suppressing your anger from. This is because it is like the pressure valve which when released, becomes loose. You heart and throat that tightens with pain will be relieved once your anger is expressed. But further you embark on a guilt trip of overreacting to the situation. To avoid such an introspective regret, you could pause and think. Journal your feelings and find better words to express them.
Anger helped me earn my position
If you ask me about the crossroad in my life, I would say it is the toxic friendship which budded after my third child was born. She broke me at different layers but my anger towards her fueled a fire to fight my way up. It is my anger towards her that pushed me beyond my limits and it acted as a manifestation and visualization meditation coupled with affirmations like ” I will show her what I am capable of”.
Every time I uttered similar lines, I was reassuring myself that I am capable of even more. My angry bird image might have changed by now, after applying the wellness programs in my own life. However, I still feel angry and I have learned to channelize my anger productively. Hence the next time you feel angry, ask yourself if it is an emotion or an expression. If it is the latter, you have won half the challenge.