The Wisdom in Anger: Lessons Learned

Earlier this week I was mad. Fuming. I had so many emotions and feelings flying through me that I didn’t know which way was up. I was mad at people, places, systems, ideas, thoughts … the whole shebang.

The events leading to this experience are not relevant, except that they embodied anger, rage, frustration, grief, and everything in between. It also made me realize that I have a lot of unprocessed emotions surrounding the issue that I didn’t realize were still weighing me down.

It’s been a few days since I was knee-deep in the heightened energy, and it’s amazing to sit on this side of things and reflect. I learned a lot from being with my anger this week, and that is the reason for this post.

A pretty big revelation (aha moment!) also appeared this week by way of my husband. A bit of backstory to give context to the relevancy of this aha moment: I have this thing where I feel like I am (constantly) letting people down. I’m aware of it and I am working on it, however, it does permeate into my work, relationships, and life.

As I sit with the events of this week I realize that this “fear of disappointing” has really affected a lot in my life. My husband spoke some wise words which really shifted things for me this week. He said, “I think the reason why you think you are always disappointing people is because you are always disappointed by other people.”

I must admit I was in the right energy to receive this information because (as you now know) I probably would have instantly jumped to my “fine! I guess I disappointed you again!” mode. Thank goodness I didn’t because I really needed to hear those words.

I feel like I accessed my neutral/meditative mind as I processed those words because I saw a movie reel of different times when I felt that I had disappointed others. I began to see, pretty clearly, that what actually happened was that I allowed myself to be disappointed by some action or word of another. I allowed myself to close down a bit more, and protect myself, because heck, everyone is disappointing.

I still have a lot of unpacking to do around this, however, the information is incredibly powerful for so many reasons. For one, I wish to say I’m sorry to anyone that I may have cut short, short-changed, or put this energy onto when they did not deserve it. And for those who have stuck with me despite this, thank you and you make my life better for being in it. Second, I am looking forward to bringing this into a resolution for myself because I do believe (or want to believe) that people are mostly good. I do not want to go around feeling like people are purposely trying to disappoint me (or that I am disappointing them).

So back to this week’s events. It all tied together: the timing of the event, my husband’s words, my energy. I was so angry because I was disappointed in the actions and inactions of the people and places involved in the situation. I was feeling rage because I had not fully processed my thoughts and emotions around the issue at hand … all stemming from me being disappointed in the world. I realized that the reason why I am disappointed in others so often is that I am trying to protect myself. It’s easier to be the one leaving than the one left. I also realized that I don’t want to keep living this way.

This week I see that people are trying to do the best they can. No one is privy to all of the information surrounding an incident; all we see is a small, curated glimpse of it. I don’t know everyone’s fears or struggles, I don’t know if they even fully agree with what statements they are putting out there.

What I am choosing to embrace from this experience is: 1) people are generally good, 2) a soft heart can still be strong, 3) most people are not living their lives trying to actively disappoint me, 4) most people are not actually disappointed in me or my actions, 5) we all deserve to give and receive a little more grace and compassion than we think we should.

What have you learned from anger and/or rage lately? What lessons have come to you? I’d love to know!